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Press Releases

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

03.17.10

Leahy Praises Senate Passage Of Historic Bill To Address Crack/Powder Sentencing Disparity

The Senate Wednesday night unanimously approved historic legislation to address the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The Fair Sentencing Act was introduced last year by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a senior member of the panel, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and others, and the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced the legislation to the full Senate on March 11. Current law sets out a ratio of 100:1 in terms of the amount of powder cocaine and the am… Continue Reading


03.17.10

Comment On Immigration Reform

"Last week, Senators Schumer and Graham met with the President to discuss the progress they have made toward introduction of an immigration reform bill. Like President Obama, I look forward to reviewing that legislation. Last year, at the beginning of this Congress, I called for Congress to enact legislation consistent with our history as a nation of immigrants. Those who oppose a realistic solution to address the estimated millions of people currently living and working in the United States … Continue Reading


03.17.10

Leahy Speaks About Efforts On Behalf Of Refugees At Capitol Hill Conference

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined advocates on Capitol Hill Wednesday at an event sponsored by Refugees International to highlight the future of Iraqi refugees and international displaced persons in the Iraq region. Leahy has been a longtime leader in Congress in efforts to help refugees seeking safe harbor in the United States. Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy was joined at the eve… Continue Reading


03.17.10

Leahy Lauds Senate's Final Approval Of New Jobs Bill

[The U.S. Senate Wednesday gave final approval to a new fully paid for jobs bill -- the Hiring Incentives To Restore Employment Act -- in a bipartisan vote of 68 to 29. The bill now goes to President Obama for signing. Following are the comments of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who voted for the bill.] "This bill is another straight ahead boost to the economy that will create jobs and help put Vermonters back to work. It will help struggling small businesses in Vermont invest in new jobs an… Continue Reading


03.17.10

Leahy Launches Bill To Multiply Farm To School Links

- Despite the usual abundance of nearby farms, local farm products are largely missing from most schools' lunch trays. An emerging "farm to school" movement aims to fix that by matching local farms with local schools, cutting out the middleman, and scaling up students' nutrition. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been joined by Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and 12 other senators in introducing legislation to expand farm to school links to boost the use of local farm products in the federally s… Continue Reading


03.17.10

Senator Leahy's Pictures from Ringside

Photographers who cover politics in Washington are a competitive lot. They don't like it when someone else gets a better position or exclusive access. Resentments can stew. Tempers can flare. But there is one photographer who always gets the different point of view and behind-the-scenes access, yet is never resented by the rest. This photographer, Patrick J. Leahy, has been a fixture around town for 35 years; and not always behind the camera. Between photographs, he is Vermont's senior senator … Continue Reading


03.16.10

Westford Elementary School

On Tuesday March 16, 2010, Senator Leahy held an online chat with 7th and 8th grade students from Westford Elementary School in Westford. Students spent 30 minutes using Skype to chat with the Senator and ask questions about such topics as health care reform, the war in Afghanistan, bipartisanship in Congress and global warming. This was the second chat that Senator Leahy has conducted with the Westford Elementary School.… Continue Reading


03.16.10

Leahy Echoes Call For Up-Or-Down Votes On Nominations

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday repeated his recent calls to end the obstruction that has prevented confirmation votes on many of the more than 80 executive and judicial nominations awaiting final action in the Senate, including 26 nominations reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There have already been 17 filibusters of President Obama's nominees," said Leahy. "That is the same number of Federal circuit and district nominees the Senate has confirmed d… Continue Reading


03.15.10

Leahy Introduces Landmark Refugee Protection Act

(Monday, March 15, 2010) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday introduced legislation to strengthen the country's commitment to protecting refugees fleeing persecution or torture. The Refugee Protection Action of 2010 will help to improve protections for refugees and asylum seekers with bona fide claims. The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.). The introduction of the Refugee Protection Act also commemorates the 30th anniversary of the historic Refugee Act of 1980, whi… Continue Reading


03.15.10

Leahy, Cornyn Commemorate Sunshine Week With Faster FOIA Act Introduction

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today will introduce bipartisan legislation to make further improvements to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the nation's premier open government law. Leahy is a longtime leader on FOIA issues, and has led efforts to make the federal government more open and transparent to the people it represents. This week marks the sixth annual Sunshine Week, a national observance of the importance of an open and transparent government. Leahy partnered with Senator John … Continue Reading


03.12.10

Leahy To Chair Barre Hearing Of Senate Judiciary Committee

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will chair a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, March 22, in Barre, Vermont. The hearing will examine the effective efforts of Barre and surrounding communities in fighting drug-related crime. Leahy has invited the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerlikowske - the nation's "drug czar" - to testify at the hearing. Kerlikowske is the former police chief in Seattle, and has almost 40 years of law enforcement e… Continue Reading


03.11.10

Congress Marks Long Trail’s 100th Birthday With Commemorative Resolutions, Not Candles

What birthday present do you give to a trail that has everything - drop-dead scenery, border-to-border expanse, and a rich 100-year history? The U.S. House and U.S. Senate Thursday commemorated the Long Trail's centenary with the introduction of resolutions recounting the trail's heritage and significance. Rep. Peter Welch (D) introduced the House resolution, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) introduced the Senate one. The commemoration comes on the 100th anniversary of t… Continue Reading


03.11.10

Committee Advances Bill To Address Crack/Powder Sentencing Disparity

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously voted to advance historic legislation to address the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The Fair Sentencing Act was introduced last year by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a senior member of the panel, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and others. Current law sets out a ratio of 100:1 in terms of the amount of powder cocaine and the amount of crack cocaine that result in the same sentence. The Fair Sentencing Act… Continue Reading


03.10.10

Statement On “The Shameful Smear Against Attorneys In The Justice Department”

It saddens and concerns me that another line has been crossed, moving us further toward partisan excess and incivility. I refer to the calculated, political campaign-style attacks on the loyalty and patriotism of honorable Department of Justice attorneys over the past few weeks. Self-restraint is a crucial but often neglected value in our democracy. Just because a political attack that can put "points" on the board is possible, does not make it right. Misleading appeals to fear, like this o… Continue Reading


03.10.10

Senate Passes Leahy-Authored Extension Of Satellite TV Licenses

The Senate Wednesday afternoon passed legislation to modernize satellite television services and to reauthorize the expiring statutory licenses that permit satellite providers to retransmit broadcast stations to consumers. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) worked with others in the Senate and House to negotiate the package. "Ensuring that Americans have access to broadcast television content is important, and it is particularly relevant for consumers in rural areas who might not otherwise be able … Continue Reading


03.10.10

Attorney General Holder To Appear Before Senate Judiciary Committee

(Wednesday, March 10, 2010) - Attorney General Eric Holder will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today. The hearing will be the third Justice Department oversight hearing of the 111th Congress. The Attorney General last appeared before the Committee on November 18. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds periodic oversight hearings of the Department of Justice. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, … Continue Reading


03.10.10

Leahy Chairs Hearing On Impact Of Citizens United Decision

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday chaired a hearing focusing on the Supreme Court's narrow decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Member statements and witness testimony, as well as a live webcast, are available online. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Hearing On "We The People? Corporate Spending In American Elections After Citizens United" March 10, 2010 Today's hearing is another in a s… Continue Reading


03.09.10

Mystery Bat Illness Keeps Spreading

- A rapidly spreading bat pandemic continues unchecked and could be on the verge of sweeping across the country, Senator Patrick Leahy warned Tuesday. He noted that the mystery disease - White Nose Syndrome - last month was found for the first time in Tennessee. In a Senate hearing with Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar, Leahy said the bat disease - which has already killed more than a million hibernating bats across the Northeast - could threaten the extinction of several bat species. … Continue Reading


03.09.10

Leahy Urges President To Make Privacy Board Nominations

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) yesterday sent a letter to the White House, urging President Obama to make nominations to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Leahy first wrote to the President about reconstituting the Board in April 2009. The Board, which was established by Congress at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, is charged with ensuring that privacy and civil liberties concerns are considered in the development of national security and cou… Continue Reading


03.09.10

Stafford Technical Center

On March 9, 2010 Senator Leahy conducted his first online chat with 11th and 12th grade students of the Stafford Technical Center. Students from nine of the seventeen programs of study offered at Stafford Technical Center spent 30 minutes asking the Senator questions about stimulating the economy in Vermont, the role of technical education and lowering the cost of college. Students also asked the Senator about his favorite band The Grateful Dead and about how they could make a difference in the … Continue Reading

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