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


Senate Appropriators OK Post-Irene Boost In Disaster Aid

(WEDNESDAY, Sept. 7) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said that approval of an increase in disaster relief funds by a key Senate panel on Wednesday night adds momentum to efforts to secure sufficient help for Vermont and other states hit by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. Pressed by Leahy and others whose states face Irene damage, the Senate Appropriations Committee late Wednesday ratified the $4.2 billion increase that had been okayed Tuesday by its Homeland Security Subcommittee for the Federa… Continue Reading


Leahy: America Invents Act Is Bipartisan, Consensus Legislation

(Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011) - The U.S. Senate is considering H.R.1249, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, legislation that would make the first comprehensive reforms to the nation's patent system in nearly 60 years. The Senate voted overwhelmingly in March - 95-5 - to pass similar legislation to improve patent quality and reduce patent application backlogs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the lead Senate sponsor of the legislation, delivered the followin… Continue Reading


Appropriations Panel Votes To Begin Replenishing FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund

(TUESDAY, Sept. 6) -- The Senate appropriations panel with jurisdiction over the budget for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) voted Tuesday to begin replenishing the depleted coffers of the agency's Disaster Relief Fund, which had fallen to insufficient levels even before Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene pummeled the East Coast and New England. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) -- a senior member of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and number two in seniority on the full Appropriat… Continue Reading


Senate Begins Debate On Leahy-Smith America Invents Act

The U.S. Senate Tuesday night took an important step toward final passage of legislation to make the first comprehensive reforms to the nation's patent system in nearly six decades. "The discoveries made by American inventors and research institutions, commercialized by American companies, and protected and promoted by American patent laws have made our system the envy of the world," said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill's chief Senate sponsor. "We cannot stand on a 1950s patent system … Continue Reading


Senate Confirms First Circuit Court Judicial Nomination In Nearly Four Months

The U.S. Senate Tuesday night voted overwhelmingly to confirm a nominee to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Bernice Donald of Tennessee. Donald's nomination was unanimously reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee nearly four months ago. The nomination is also the first circuit court nomination confirmed by the Senate since May. There remain 19 judicial nominations pending on the Senate's executive calendar. Before the August recess, the Senate confirmed just four of the two doze… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Disaster Recovery Efforts In Vermont

Just 10 days ago, Vermont bore the full brunt of then-Tropical Storm Irene as it dumped more than six inches of rain across the state in just a few hours. The narrow valleys of the Green Mountains - where towns, roads and rivers are historically intertwined - were particularly hard hit as gentle rivers and streams became rushing torrents of destruction. Whole towns were cut off from the outside world for days. Homes, businesses, water systems, and miles of roads were swept away. And some Ver… Continue Reading


DHS Response To Senator Leahy’s Letter On Special Immigrant Visa Program Backlogs

On September 6, the Department of Homeland Security responded to Senator Leahy's letter dated July 20, 2011, requesting information about backlogs that have stalled the issuance of special immigrant visas. The response is available online.… Continue Reading


Vermont Disaster Declaration

BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 1 - Vermont's congressional delegation - Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) - issued the following statement today after President Barack Obama declared Vermont a disaster area and cleared the way for federal assistance in the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene: "We appreciate the president's quick and decisive action to help Vermonters deal with one of the worst natural disasters in the state's history. Federal and state a… Continue Reading


Delegation Urges President’s Prompt Approval Of A Disaster Declaration For Vermont

(THURSDAY, Sept. 1) -- Vermont's delegation in Congress - Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) - Thursday asked President Obama to act "with all due speed" on Vermont's request for a disaster declaration, which would open the doors to a variety of federal programs to help Vermonters cope with recovery efforts in the aftermath of major flooding in the wake of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. They sent their letter on the heels of Governor Peter … Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter -- Special Edition -- Recovering From Irene

Dear Fellow Vermonter, As we learn more and see more and reconnect with each other, Vermonters are still coming to terms with the swift and fierce destruction that Irene left in her wake. I'm a lifelong Vermonter and I've never seen anything quite like this before in our state. For so many Vermonters this already was anything but an easy year, with earlier flooding that already set historic records. I can't tell you how stirring it has been to see neighbors helping not only neighbors but als… Continue Reading


$5 Million Emergency Aid Approved for Storm-Damaged Vermont Roads and Bridges

BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 31 - The U.S. Department of Transportation released $5 million in emergency funds to rebuild and repair roads and bridges destroyed or damaged in Vermont by Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont's congressional delegation announced today. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Tuesday evening notified U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. Sanders had been in discussion with LaHood to explain the magnitude of … Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Vermont Flooding Due To Hurricane Irene

Middlesex -Senator Patrick Leahy issued the following statement on the historic and catastrophic flooding in Vermont due Hurricane Irene. Leahy will tour hard hit areas of Vermont by helicopter today with Governor Shumlin. "Marcelle and I are keeping all Vermonters who are suffering due to Hurricane Irene in our thoughts and prayers. We are resilient and strong, but are faced with devastating flooding in many of our communities, worse than most Vermonters can remember. "My staff and I have… Continue Reading


Leahy: Justice Sonia Sotomayor To Headline Vermont’s 15th Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference

(FRIDAY, Aug. 26) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says this year's 15th Annual Vermont Women's Economic Opportunity Conference, set for Saturday, Oct. 8, in Randolph, will feature a special guest: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Leahy said Justice Sotomayor will begin this year's sessions with a question-and-answer forum with conference-goers. "Marcelle and I are delighted that she is coming to Vermont," said Leahy. "She personifies the American Dream, and her life and achiev… Continue Reading


Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To State Department Announcement On The Keystone Pipeline

"I have raised concerns about this project since last year. The State Department's conclusions are disappointing and represent a missed opportunity for this Administration to draw the line at a type of oil that, in ways which should be unacceptable today, destroys the landscape when it is mined and poisons the air when it is burned. The Earth's climate is changing, and this is no time for business as usual by making commitments that will dramatically increase greenhouse gas emissions and do noth… Continue Reading


Leahy: Vermont To Receive More Than $9.2 M. In Homeland Security Grants

(TUESDAY, August 23) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Tuesday that Vermont has secured more than $9.2 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to help with prevention and preparedness. "Preserving our national security starts with prevention and preparedness," said Leahy. "First responders in Vermont are on the front lines each and every day, protecting our communities, securing our borders and ports of entry, and keeping our citizens safe. … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, And Cosponsor Of The DREAM Act, On DHS Relief Policy For Certain Noncitizens

"I commend Secretary Napolitano for exercising the discretion available to her by law to offer relief for certain noncitizens whose deportation would not serve United States' interests. We can do better for the American economy, the military, our communities, and hardworking immigrants by enacting the DREAM Act and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011, which I joined with Senator Menendez to introduce in June. I will continue to fight for those bills, and the important provisions i… Continue Reading


Delegation announces $1 million grant to Montpelier-based Institute for Sustainable Communities

Vermont's congressional delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Rep. Peter Welch (D) - today announced a one million dollar grant to the Montpelier-based Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). Through the grant, ISC will work with the joint HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC), which coordinates federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to job… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch: 10 Vt. Farms And Businesses Net Energy-Saving Grants

(WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17) -- Vermont's Congressional Delegation - Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Congressman Peter Welch (D) - said Wednesday that ten Vermont farms and rural businesses will share almost $100,000 in grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to launch energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects. Vermont farms and businesses are receiving $96,754 in grants, divided across ten projects. Foxch… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Administration’s Further Extension Of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) Provisions For Liberian Nationals In The United States

"I commend the President for extending deferred enforced departure for Liberians, and for doing so well ahead of the September 30 expiration of their current status. I joined Senator Jack Reed in asking President Obama to take this step and appreciate the President's timely action. "Liberia continues to make great strides under the leadership of the freely elected President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, with whom I was pleased to meet again recently in Washington. Liberia faces continuing challenge… Continue Reading


Comment From The Office Of Senator Patrick Leahy On August 16th Haaretz Article On U.S. Aid To Particular IDF Units

"Senator Leahy does not discuss private conversations he has had for decades with Israeli leaders. "However, the Haaretz article contains significant inaccuracies. He has not proposed legislation to withhold U.S. aid to units of the Israel Defense Forces. "By way of general background about the Leahy Amendment, the law applies to U.S. aid to foreign security forces around the globe and is intended to be applied consistently across the spectrum of U.S. military aid abroad. Under the law … Continue Reading

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