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


Federal Disaster Funds Released To Chittenden, Franklin And Lamoille Counties

, Dec. 22 - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday that the counties of Chittenden, Franklin and Lamoille will receive federal disaster funds in response to damage caused by severe storms in early December. The funds were triggered for release by a disaster declaration issued today by President Obama. The delegation wrote the President in the aftermath of the storm asking for this declaration, arguing that the scope of t… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

I have heard complaints over the past few days about why we in the Senate are still working so close to the Christmas holiday. All of us would rather be home with our families, but of course we were sent here to serve the American people. We were sent here to the Senate to do the work of the American people, and we have been trying to complete our work for the past several weeks. One remaining issue demands our attention: taking care of the Americans who responded to the terrorist attacks on … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy After Attending The Signing Ceremony For The Law Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

"This is a day of significance to every American, and a day of deeply personal and particular meaning to so many who, until now, have been prevented by law from serving openly and honestly as who they are. What a lasting memory it was to be able to watch Wednesday as President Obama signed into law the bill to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. "This is a galvanizing victory for individual civil rights in our country, grounded in enduring American values. When we protect the rights of any Ameri… Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter -- December 22, 2010

Bill To RepealDiscriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy Signed Into Law Today Senator Leahy makes remarks at the enrollment ceremony of legislation repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. After 17 years of discrimination imposed by law on America's Armed Forces, and on those who serve within them, the United States Senate voted to repeal the policy known as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on Saturday, December 18, by a vote of 65-31. Senator Leahy, long a leading advocate of repeal, attended the W… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Confirmation Of Judge Mary Murguia Of Arizona To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Ninth Circuit

Today the Senate is finally being allowed to consider a judicial nomination that has been stalled since August -- the nomination of Judge Mary Murguia of Arizona to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. I would understand the resistance to considering the nomination if President Obama had selected someone opposed by her home state Senators. But both Republican home state Senators support this nomination. Unlike his predecessor, President Obama has worked with home … Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Recent Judicial Confirmations

At long last, the Senate is being allowed to consider long-pending, consensus judicial nominations. This action has been long overdue. President Obama has reached out and worked with Senators from both sides of the aisle in selecting well-qualified judicial nominees. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I have bent over backwards to be fair to all sides. There has been consultation and a thorough and fair process for evaluating nominations. Scott M. Matheson is finally being confirmed to… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Prohibition On The Transfer Of Terrorism Suspects In The National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2011

I am deeply disappointed that H.R. 6523, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, includes a section to prohibit the transfer of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay to the United States to face prosecution. This section takes away one of the greatest tools we have to protect our national security -- our ability to prosecute terrorism defendants in Federal courts. The result is to make it more likely that terrorists will not be brought to justice. Current law allows for th… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Two District Court Nominations

(Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010) - After months of delay, the Senate Tuesday confirmed two nominations to the federal district courts. The Senate confirmed the nomination of Benita Pearson to the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the nomination of William J. Martinez to fill a judicial emergency for the District Court of Colorado. Pearson's nomination was reported by the Judiciary Committee in February, and Martinez's nomination was reported by the Committee in April. Senate Demo… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Flooding In Colombia

MR. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to take a minute to call attention to a humanitarian disaster that has received only passing mention in the international press and which many Senators may be unaware of. On December 7th, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of "economic, social and ecologic emergency" as a result of massive flooding which he called a "public calamity". Heavy rains over a period of months have caused landslides that have swept away homes and rivers to over… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The F-35 Alternate Engine Program

MR. PRESIDENT, I strongly support the alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The evidence and the logic for an alternate engine easily overwhelm the flawed arguments that have been used to attack it. Investments in fighter engine competition will reduce costs over the life of the F-35 program. Not only will competition cost less than a single engine monopoly; competition also forces contractors to be more responsive and reliable. And the F-35 will comprise a vast percentage of the U… Continue Reading


$11 Million Slated For Vermont Home Heating Help

, Dec. 21 - The Senate today cleared the way for an additional $10.8 million for home heating assistance for about 27,000 Vermont households, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced. With low temperatures forecast to fall into the teens this week in Vermont, the funding was included in a bill to keep the federal government running until March 4. Senators this morning voted 82 to 14 to end a Republican filibuster of the bill. Final Senate passage was expected later today… Continue Reading


Senate Passes Leahy-Backed Bill To Allow For More Locally-Controlled Broadcast Stations

(Monday, Dec. 20, 2010) - In a rare weekend session, the Senate Saturday unanimously approved legislation to increase the number of frequencies available for Low Power FM (LPFM) radio stations, providing an outlet for hyper-local, independent noncommercial broadcasting. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been a proponent of the legislation in each of the last three Congresses. "By using low power stations, community groups can access underutilized spectrum and provide content tailored to smalle… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations

Mr. President, earlier this week, Republican members who had pledged to support the fiscal year 2011 Omnibus Appropriations Bill changed their minds and chose instead to walk in lockstep with the House and Senate Republican leaders who believe that freezing spending at the fiscal year 2010 level is good politics. On the face of it that approach has an appeal to it - no new spending. What a nice sound bite. It makes everything seem so simple. But while one Senator of the Minority party glee… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy After The Senate’s Historic Vote On Saturday To Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

[In a vote of 65 to 31, the U.S. Senate on Saturday approved legislation to repeal the controversial 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law that legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians serving, or wanting to serve, in the U.S. military. Passage of the bill came only hours after the Senate invoked cloture -- ended a filibuster - on the bill. The bill, which has already passed the House, now goes to the President's desk for signing. Following is the reaction of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to … Continue Reading


Senate Unanimously Confirms Long-Pending Circuit Court Nomination, Three District Nominees

(Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010) - During a rare Saturday session, the Senate unanimously confirmed two, long-pending federal judicial nominations. Among the nominations confirmed was that of Judge Albert Diaz to fill a vacancy on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously reported his nomination 11 months ago. Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been pressing for months for the Senate to consider pending nominations. "Thirty federal circuit and distr… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Effort To Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell

While partisan rancor seems to have seized the Senate on so many issues this year, on at least one count, I am encouraged and hopeful. There may yet be sufficient bipartisan agreement to repeal the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy before this Congress ends. I commend those Senators who have pledged to support the repeal, and I renew my own commitment to this worthy effort. It is well past time to put an end to this discriminatory and harmful policy. Today, in the United States Sen… Continue Reading


Comment On Expiration of Vermont’s Interstate Truck Weight Pilot Program

[Thursday night, Senate Republican leaders blocked consideration of the omnibus budget bill that would have extended the Vermont and Maine truck weight pilot programs for another year, after they succeeded in pressuring all Republican senators to walk away from earlier support of the bill. The bill then was pulled from the Senate Floor, and Congress instead now will need to pass a two-month Continuing Resolution to fund government agencies until February. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sena… Continue Reading


Statement On H.R.6497, The Development, Relief, And Education For Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act)

The Senate will soon vote on whether we should debate the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act. I have been a cosponsor of this important legislation since it was first introduced in the Senate in 2001, and I commend Senator Durbin and Senator Lugar for their hard work in advancing the DREAM Act this year. At the very least, we should have a debate about this important legislation. Enacting the DREAM Act will serve important priorities for our country and f… Continue Reading


Leahy To Introduce Forensics Reform Legislation In New Congress

(Friday, Dec. 17, 2010) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday announced his intent to introduce legislation in January to strengthen the criminal justice system by reforming forensic science in laboratories across the country. Leahy chaired hearings in the 111th Congress to examine serious issues in forensic science and the reliability of such evidence in the criminal justice system. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committ… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Judicial Nominations

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations December 17, 2010 Last night, as snow fell in Washington, D.C., the Senate freeze on confirming judges began to thaw a bit. I thank the leaders for clearing four of the 38 judicial nominations awaiting final action by the Senate. These nominations will fill a few of the historically high number of Federal judicial vacancies around the country, including in the Eastern District of Calif… Continue Reading

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