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Search Senator Leahy’s press releases, floor statements, and Committee speeches by date or by subject.


Leahy Chairs Historic Hearing On Bill To Repeal DOMA

(Wednesday, July 20, 2011) - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday held the first-ever congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) earlier this month announced plans to hold the hearing. Testimony at the hearing focused on the damaging affect of DOMA on the lives of American families. Witnesses testified about how DOMA has caused significant economic harm to families, from how they are able to care for one… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On White House Announcement Of Support For The Respect For Marriage Act

"I applaud the President's decision to endorse the Respect for Marriage Act, and I join with many Vermont families in celebrating his decision. Earlier this year, I was proud to join Senator Feinstein and others to introduce The Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples. The President understands that this civil rights issue affects thousands of American families. In these difficult economic times, we… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Long-Pending District Court Judicial Nominee

(Monday, July 18, 2011) - The U.S. Senate Monday night voted overwhelmingly to confirm Paul Oetken to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. Oetken will become the first openly gay federal district court judge. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) praised the historic nomination, calling Mr. Oetken "a superbly qualified nominee," and praised President Barack Obama for working to increase diversity on the federal judiciary. Oetken's nomination wa… Continue Reading


Leahy Urges Senators To Lift Holds On Bill To Extend FBI Director Mueller’s Term

(Monday, July 18, 2011) - The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday urged all Senators to lift any objections to the consideration of a bill to extend for two years the term of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller. On the Senate Floor, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said, "All Senate Democrats are prepared to take up and pass this extension bill, and send it to the House of Representatives for it to take final action by August 2. That is what we should be doin… Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter -- July 15, 2011

Flood Waters Recede And Federal Help Arrives In response to spring storms that left much of Vermont underwater, President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a Major Federal Disaster Declaration in mid-June for seven of Vermont's 14 counties. The declaration was extended to cover additional counties in early July. Senator Leahy worked with Governor Shumlin, Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch to shape and expedite the federal relief effort. The two major d… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces Witnesses For July 20 Hearing On Repeal Of Defense Of Marriage Act

(Thursday, July 14, 2011) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday announced a list of witnesses invited to testify at a July 20 congressional hearing about a proposal to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Earlier this month, Leahy announced the Committee's plan to hold the first-ever congressional hearing on Respect for Marriage Act, legislation introduced earlier this year to repeal DOMA. The hearing is entitled "S.598, The Respect For Marriage Act: Asses… Continue Reading


Leahy, Portman Join With State Corrections Officials To Urge Support For Effective Prisoner Reentry Programs

(Wednesday, July 13, 2011) - At a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) joined with the chief corrections officers of 10 states to urge federal and state legislators to support programs that help state and local authorities successfully reintegrate prisoners into their communities and reduce the rate of repeat offenders. Leahy and Portman have proposed the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which improves on existing prisoner re… Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs Hearing On Importance Of Landmark Violence Against Women Act

(Wednesday, July 13, 2011) - The executive director of Vermont's Women Helping Battered Women testified today before a U.S. Senate Committee chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) about the importance of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which was signed into law in 1994. Leahy invited Jane Van Buren to testify at the hearing about the critical need for programs supported by the Violence Against Women Act, including transitional housing. Women Helping Battered Women, which is based i… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Violence Against Antimining Activists In El Salvador

Madam President, I want to speak briefly about some troubling developments in El Salvador, which should concern us all. On June 14, 2011, the body of Juan Francisco Duran Ayala was found with a gunshot wound to the head in the Soyapango Municipality of San Salvador. He was reportedly last seen alive on June 2 in Ilobasco, Cabanas, posting flyers critical of gold mining in that area, the day before he disappeared. In addition to studying at the Technological University in San Salvador, Mr. Duran… Continue Reading


New USDA Farm to School Report Cites Best Practices Found Across The Nation

(TUESDAY, July 12) -- A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers useful "how-to" lessons for schools interested in joining the burgeoning Farm to School movement. This report cites lessons learned from field visits to 15 school districts across the country, including the Burlington School District, and identifies the survey team's best-practice findings. The USDA report notes that the Burlington School District is one of only two of the 15 visited that has a Farm t… Continue Reading


Leahy-Chaired Panel To Hear Testimony From Director Of Vt.’s Women Helping Battered Women

(Tuesday, July 12, 2011) - A U.S. Senate panel chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will hear testimony Wednesday from the Executive Director of Women Helping Battered Women, a Vermont organization that provides assistance to victims of domestic violence. The hearing will be held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will explore the importance of the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark law passed 17 years ago, which is set to expire later this year. Jane Van Buren is the Executive Dir… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Denied Request For A Stay In The Leal Case And On The Consular Notification Compliance Act

"I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has denied the administration's request to grant a brief stay in the Leal case in order to allow Congress time to act on the Consular Notification Compliance Act. Americans detained overseas rely on their access to U.S. consulates every day. If we expect other countries to abide by the treaties they join, the United States must also honor its obligations. "This case is not an isolated instance; the issue of consular notification remains a serious dipl… Continue Reading


Leahy: Vermonters And Residents Of Other Downwind States Will Breathe Easier Under New EPA Rule On Cross-State Air Pollution

(THURSDAY, July 7) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed a major new rule targeting cross-state air pollution and cleaning Vermont's air that has been in the works for more than 20 years. Leahy said the release Thursday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of a final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule "goes directly to the distant sources of pollution that have long bedeviled clean air strategies in Vermont, New England and other areas of the country. This will substantially red… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces Plan To Hold First-Ever Congressional Hearing On Repealing Defense Of Marriage Act

(Thursday, July 7, 2011) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday announced that, in the coming weeks, the Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Earlier this year, Leahy joined with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and others to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal DOMA and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples, inc… Continue Reading


Microsoft Announces Support For Leahy-Authored Uniting American Families Act

Microsoft Corporation has announced its support for the Uniting American Families Act, legislation authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to promote equality under U.S. immigration law and allow American citizens to sponsor permanent, same-sex partners applying for legal residency in the United States. The letter is available online. "I welcome Microsoft's support for the Uniting American Families Act. A core tenet of our immigration policy is preserving family unity. Yet our immigration … Continue Reading


Leahy: Essex Junction’s Revision Wins Nearly $2 M. In Army Contracts For Developing A Next-Generation Helmet

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (FRIDAY, July 1) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has announced a new U.S. Army contract with Revision, for work in Essex Junction, on a next-generation helmet that will be designed to apply the grim lessons of troop injuries in Iraq Afghanistan in improving head protection for U.S. soldiers. The three-year contract is with the U.S. Army's Natick Labs Soldier Systems division and is worth $1,990,340. Leahy is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of its … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Unanimous U.S. Sentencing Commission Vote To Apply Fair Sentencing Act Guidelines Retroactively

"I applaud the United States Sentencing Commission's unanimous decision to give retroactive effect to federal sentencing guidelines changes implementing the Fair Sentencing Act, which Congress passed last year. That historic legislation took important steps to reduce the disparity between sentences for crack cocaine offenses and those for powder cocaine offenses - a disparity that has disproportionately impacted African Americans. Today's courageous decision, which will help people sentenced u… Continue Reading


Delegation And Governor Announce $1.2 Million Emergency Grant To Create Flooding Clean-Up Jobs

BURLINGTON, VT, June 30 - Vermont's congressional delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Rep. Peter Welch (D) - and Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) on Thursday announced a $1.2 million National Emergency Grant (NEG) from the US Dept of Labor to create jobs for displaced workers and long-term unemployed Vermonters to help with flooding clean-up. The grant of $1,201,250 being awarded to the Vermont Department of Labor will create about 75 temporary jobs for eligible dislocated wo… Continue Reading


Leahy, Brown, Kerry Introduce Bill To Fight Human Trafficking

(Wednesday, June 29, 2011) - Legislation introduced Wednesday by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) will reauthorize the historic Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which enhanced the government's efforts to combat human trafficking in the United States and abroad. The law is set to expire this year. The bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) will extend the authorization of the current law until 2015, and improve coop… Continue Reading


As FOIA Anniversary Approaches, Leahy Urges House To Pass Faster FOIA Act

(Wednesday, June 29, 2011) - As the nation prepares to mark the 45th anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the bipartisan Faster FOIA Act, which won unanimous approval in the Senate in May. "On July 4th, the Nation will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act," said Leahy. "Today, the United States government is more committed than in a… Continue Reading

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