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


Senator Leahy's Address On The Debt Limit Crisis And The Proposed Solution Introduced Tuesday By Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

I applaud President Obama and Majority Leader Reid for real leadership and persistence over many months in trying to find a bipartisan solution to the debt crisis. Senator Reid has put forward a solution that would end the current crisis and reduce our unsustainable national debt. This is a solution that has the potential to draw support from lawmakers from both parties who are willing to put common sense and the national interest above partisanship and ideology. By repeatedly walking away fr… Continue Reading


Sanders And Leahy Promote New Effort to Expand Community Supported Agriculture

July 26 - Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Patrick Leahy (D) on Tuesday introduced legislation to charter a competitive grant program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Vermont is a leader in the successful movement that directly links consumers with the farmers who grow their food. Since the concept first took hold 20 years ago there are now thousands of CSA farms across the country, with more than 100 farms in Vermont o… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Two To Federal District Courts

(Tuesday, July 26, 2011) - The U.S. Senate Tuesday voted unanimously to confirm two nominees to fill vacancies on U.S. Federal District Courts. Paul Engelmayer was confirmed to fill a judicial emergency for the Southern District of New York, and Ramona Manglona was confirmed to fill a 10-year term on the District Court for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Both nominations were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition on April 7, nearly four months ago.… Continue Reading


Freedom Of Information Act Needs A Push

THIS YEAR MARKS the 45th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a crucial, if sometimes sluggish, vehicle through which journalists can demand greater government openness and accountability. In May, in a rare moment of bipartisanship, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) won unanimous Senate passage of the Faster FOIA Act, which would establish an advisory panel to examine the backlog of more than 69,000 FOIA requests. It's time for the House to take it up. While … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On House Passage Of Legislation To Extend The Term Of FBI Director Robert Mueller

"I thank the House of Representatives, and particularly Chairman Smith and Mr. Conyers, for acting quickly on the bill to allow the term of FBI Director Mueller to be extended for two years. Now that the way is clear for the President to make his nomination, I hope Senate leaders will promptly schedule a confirmation vote on the nomination. The August 2 deadline is fast approaching and we should not delay until the eleventh hour." # # # # #… Continue Reading


Leahy To Chair Hearing On Consular Notification Treaty Obligations

(Monday, July 25, 2011) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will hold a hearing Wednesday, July 27, about U.S. obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), a key treaty ensuring access to consulates for citizens detained abroad. The hearing is entitled "Fulfilling Our Treaty Obligations and Protecting Americans Abroad." Last month, Leahy introduced the Consular Notification Compliance Act, which would give jurisdiction to federal courts to revie… Continue Reading


Leahy On Balanced Budget Amdt. Proposals: "Our Constitution Deserves Protection."

The Senate today defeated a proposal that would require Congress to approve a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. By a vote of 51-46, the Senate moved to table the bill, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this week. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) delivered the following remarks before the Senate vote. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Proposal Requiring An Amendment To The Constitution, H.R. 2560 July 22, … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Passage Of Legislation To Extend The Term Of FBI Director Robert Mueller

"Ten weeks ago, the President asked the Congress to extend the term of service of the FBI Director. I worked in a bipartisan manner to expeditiously report a bill from the Judiciary Committee to the full Senate. While no Senator opposed an extension of Director Mueller's term, some quibbled over the text of a bill to accomplish this goal, causing unnecessary delay. I believe the bill reported by the Committee was constitutional, and that the revisions to the bill are unnecessary. "Nonethele… Continue Reading


Senators Request Information About Special Immigrant Visa Program Backlogs

(Thursday, July 21, 2011) - A group of U.S. Senators sent a letter Wednesday requesting information from the Department of Homeland Security about backlogs at the Department that have stalled the issuance of special immigrant visas (SIVs) to Iraqi citizens who have risked their lives to help protect and assist U.S. servicemen and women, diplomats and other governmental entities supporting the U.S. mission in Iraq. The letter, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and signed by Senators Richard L… Continue Reading


Senate Panel Approves Leahy-Authored Second Chance Reauthorization Act

(Thursday, July 21, 2011) - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today approved legislation authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and cosponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to help improve public safety and reduce prison costs for federal, state and local governments. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act improves existing assistance programs to help state and local authorities more successfully reintegrate prisoners into their communities and reduce the rate of repeat offenses. Leahy … Continue Reading


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

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