Press Room

Press Releases

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

12.31.09

Comments On Chief Justice Roberts' Year-End Report On The Federal Judiciary

"In his year-end report, Chief Justice Roberts rightly acknowledges the work and dedication of the men and women who staff our federal courts, from judges and clerks, to marshals and support staff. I also thank them for their service. "One of the key problems facing the federal courts is mounting caseloads at the district level. As Chief Justice Roberts notes, case filings involving immigration, fraud, and other matters have increased over the last year. Time-intensive cases related to terror… Continue Reading


12.31.09

Vermont Receives $5.7 Million In Emergency Dairy Payments

BURLINGTON, December 31 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today announced that $5.7 million in emergency support to more than 1,000 Vermont dairy farmers has been released. The assistance, coming at a time when dairy farmers have experienced the lowest prices in 40 years, is part of a $350 million dairy assistance measure sponsored by Sanders. The U.S. Department of Agriculture began processing payments under the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment program just prior to Christmas. Farmers have … Continue Reading


12.24.09

Statement on H.R. 3590, The 'Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act'

We have reached a defining moment for the Senate and for the American people. The bill we are considering will rank alongside other major decisions such as the creation of Social Security and Medicare and the Civil Rights Act. Health insurance reform has been talked about and attempted for seven decades. The American people for years have named health insurance as among the greatest concerns in their daily lives. Now, here at hand, is the opportunity to act. An Arduous Process This ha… Continue Reading


12.23.09

Statement on the Legislative Work of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary During the First Session of the 111th Congress

This is been an extraordinary year in the history of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Thanks to the members and their work through 87 hearings and 33 business meetings this year we have been productive. Here are some of the legislative highlights: We have considered and reported to the Senate several important legislative initiatives: We successfully considered and reported to the Senate the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act that President Obama signed into law in May. We reported the… Continue Reading


12.23.09

Statement On Judicial and Executive Nominations

I have been calling on the Republican leadership to end the delays and obstruction of judicial nominations and join with us to make progress in filling some of the many vacancies on Federal circuit and district courts. I have done so repeatedly for most of the year, and several times over this last month. Regrettably, as we head into the winter recess and the end of the first session of the 111th Congress, Republican obstruction is setting a new low for the Senate in our consideration of judic… Continue Reading


12.23.09

Senate Floor Statement On The Deteriorating Situation in Nepal

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, over the years, both during and since the end of the monarchy in Nepal, I have urged the Nepal Army to respect human rights and cooperate with civilian judicial authorities in investigations of its members who abuse human rights. I spoke on this subject a few days ago in relation to the horrific case of Maina Sunuwar, a 15 year old Nepali girl who was tortured to death by Nepal Army officers who then sought to cover up the crime. I have also, similarly, urged the Ma… Continue Reading


12.23.09

Senate Floor Statement On The Fate of Hmong Refugees

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to speak briefly about a worrisome humanitarian situation that is developing in Thailand, which could cause problems for our relations with the Thai military. Thailand and the United States are long time friends and allies, and our armed forces have developed a cooperative relationship. Many Thai military officers have been trained in the United States, and Thai soldiers have participated in joint U.S.-Thai training exercises such as Operation Cobra Gold. I ex… Continue Reading


12.22.09

Leahy, Hatch Introduce Legislation To Support Boys & Girls Clubs

(Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and former Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced legislation today to reauthorize a Department of Justice grant program for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Leahy and Hatch have worked together in previous Congresses to secure funding for the organization, which has clubs every state. The Boys & Girls Clubs Centennial Reauthorization Act will authorize funding for the organization through 2015. Th… Continue Reading


12.22.09

Statement On The Constitutionality of the Health Insurance Reform Legislation

The urgent need for comprehensive reform of our health care system has not stopped opponents from launching spurious attacks. I understand that the Junior Senator from Nevada recently raised a constitutional point of order against the pending health care reform bill. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I would like to respond to those who have called into question whether Congress has the authority under the Constitution to enact health insurance reform legisl… Continue Reading


12.21.09

Statement On Liu Xiaobo

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to speak briefly about the indictment and trial by Chinese authorities of Mr. Liu Xiaobo for "incitement of state subversion." The evidence cited in support of the charges were Mr. Liu's essays and association with Charter 08, a framework for democracy, human rights and the rule of law that was made public a year ago this month. That document was signed by Mr. Liu and some 300 other intellectuals and activists. Thousands more people have since added their… Continue Reading


12.21.09

Statement On The Managers' Amendment to H.R. 3590, The The “Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act”

After months of arduous work, the Senate will finally take the first significant step toward bringing needed reforms to health care in this Nation. Opponents of reform have wasted much of the public's time by provoking arguments over their distortions about what health reform means. Opponents have tried to demonize the plan, and have claimed it will never work. We have overcome weeks of delay tactics employed by the Minority - inexplicably, the most recent delay due to a filibuster against a … Continue Reading


12.19.09

Leahy Engineers $250 M. More For Vermont’s Medicaid Program In Senate’s Health Reform Package

(SATURDAY, Dec. 19) - In a major victory for Vermonters, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has convinced Senate negotiators to increase Medicaid payments to Vermont by $250 million over six years in the Senate's health reform plan. Leahy's provision, strongly supported by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), is included in an amendment of negotiated provisions that Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered to the bill Saturday, beginning the countdown to the final Senate vote on the bill next … Continue Reading


12.19.09

Comment on On Repealing The Health Insurance Industry’s Exemption From Federal Antitrust Laws

"I am disappointed the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act will not be part of the Senate's debate on health reform legislation. As we work to increase competition and consumer choice in health insurance, repealing the health insurance industry's exemption from federal antitrust laws - laws designed to protect consumers - makes good business sense. "Support in the Senate for this repeal continues to grow. The Majority Leader is a leading advocate for this repeal, and the House… Continue Reading


12.19.09

Leahy-Backed Amendment To Combat Health Care Fraud Included In Package

An amendment to combat health care fraud through improved enforcement, introduced earlier this month by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), has been included in a final package of amendments introduced to the health reform legislation pending before the Senate. The amendment was cosponsored by Senators Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The amendment - which includes key provisions from the Hea… Continue Reading


12.19.09

Leahy Amendment To Help Free Health Clinics Included In Health Package

(Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009) - An amendment authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to help ease the crunch on free medical clinics across the country is part of a legislative package sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that will be offered as an amendment to the health reform legislation pending before the Senate. The amendment expands the scope of the Federal Tort Claims Act, and clarifies its application to free medical clinics. The Leahy-authored amendment will make clea… Continue Reading


12.19.09

Vermont’s Congressional Delegation Hails Poverty Index Freeze

(Saturday, Dec. 19) - Congress on Saturday wrapped up its work on the federal budget by sending a defense appropriations bill to the President that will also protect federal safety net help for low-income Vermonters. As the House and Senate worked to wrap up work on the must-pass budget bill, Vermont's congressional delegation pushed for the inclusion of a poverty level index freeze, along with an extension of COBRA health care benefits and other temporary remedies added to the defense bill. … Continue Reading


12.19.09

Vermont Firms' R&D Projects Clear Congress In Defense Budget Bill

(Saturday, Dec. 19) - Congress finalized the last portion of the federal budget on Saturday morning, passing and sending to the President's desk a defense appropriations bill that will secure jobs in a dozen Vermont research and development projects, under provisions included in the bill by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Throughout the last year, Leahy -- a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee -- worked to identify opportunities for Vermont companies to develop products needed b… Continue Reading


12.19.09

Congress Passes Leahy-Backed Package Renewing Violence Against Women Act, Key Law Enforcement Initiatives . . .

Congress over the weekend overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill negotiated by Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and others renewing the landmark Violence Against Women Act as well as reauthorizing funding for key law enforcement initiatives within the Department of Justice. The sweeping anti-crime package renews and strengthens key programs to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies fight crime and to combat violence against women. The bill also … Continue Reading


12.19.09

Leahy Releases His Stimulus Package Priorities As Drafting Process Begins To Take Shape

"I applaud President-elect Obama's selection of Congressman Ray LaHood to be the next Transportation Secretary. This is a choice that not only will play very well in Peoria but also on Capitol Hill and across the country. "Over the years I have enjoyed working with Ray LaHood on a variety of important agriculture and law enforcement issues. He was a key ally in our efforts to pass the Innocence Protection Act, which improves access to DNA testing that can help exonerate or convict those ac… Continue Reading


12.18.09

Comment On Extension Of Compliance Deadline For The REAL ID Act

"I want to acknowledge and commend the very difficult decision that Secretary Napolitano has made to extend the December 31 compliance deadline for the REAL ID law. A majority of states will not be in material compliance with the law by December 31. As I said to Secretary Napolitano in a recent oversight hearing, enforcement of the REAL ID on December 31 could result in extreme travel problems this holiday season for every American who does not currently possess a compliant driver's license. … Continue Reading

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