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


Judiciary Committee Advances Four Nominations

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday advanced four nominations to the full Senate for consideration. The Committee recessed after nearly two hours of debate. Six nominations, including four judicial nominations, were not considered by the Committee, and will be debated at the panel's next meeting. Two judicial nominations and two executive nominations were reported by the Committee: Edward M. Chen to be a district judge for the Northern District of California; Louis B. Butler, Jr., … Continue Reading


Delegation Receives Response Letter From NRC Chairman

(WEDNESDAY, February 3, 2010) - The Vermont congressional delegation received a letter on Tuesday from Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko in response to delegation letters on January 15 and 22, 2010. The letter can be viewed at the right (PDF) and the full text is below: February 2, 2010 On behalf of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), I am responding to your letters of January 15 and 22, 2010, regarding the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Brattle… Continue Reading


Leahy Responds To Request For Justice Department Oversight Hearing

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) responded quickly Wednesday to a letter from Committee Republicans requesting a hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder. Leahy began working with the Attorney General earlier this year to schedule a hearing date. "I have continued in this Congress to conduct the oversight efforts I have always conducted during my chairmanship, whether the administration is Republican or Democratic. I have…been working with the Departmen… Continue Reading


Comment On ABA Report On Immigration Court Reform

"I have long been concerned with the quality of adjudication of cases in immigration courts. In recent years, we also discovered an alarming level of politicization in the hiring of immigration judges and the so-called 'streamlining' of administrative appeals. Federal circuit court judges have issued opinion after opinion admonishing the lower, administrative courts for poorly reasoned decisions, and in some cases, for the failure to issue an opinion at all. With caseloads that are eve… Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Bill To Hold American Contractors Overseas Accountable Under U.S. Law

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to ensure accountability under U.S. law for American contractors and employees working abroad. The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA) will close a gap in current law to make certain that American government employees and contractors are not immune from prosecution for crimes committed overseas. The legislation follows Leahy's efforts in previous Congresses to provide for prosecution of violations of U.S. law … Continue Reading


Comment On Trying Detainees In Federal Courts And Military Commissions

"Federal courts have proven time and again that they are capable of handling terrorism cases. They have successfully tried hundreds of terrorism cases, and nearly 350 terrorists are being held securely in our federal prisons today. In stark contrast to that record, very few of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay have been brought to justice through military commissions. I believe strongly in letting the Justice Department make prosecutorial decisions, and I support this administration'… Continue Reading


Comments On The President’s Proposal During A Visit To New Hampshire For A New Small Business Lending Fund

[In Nashua, N.H., President Obama Tuesday asked Congress to create a new Small Business Lending Fund. Under his proposal, $30 billion in TARP funds (Troubled Asset Relief Program, enacted by Congress and the Bush Administration late in 2008), would be transferred, through new legislation, to a new program outside of TARP to support small business lending. This new program complements other SBA lending initiatives the President has already announced - including support for higher SBA loan… Continue Reading


Leahy, Lugar Introduce Return Of Talent Act

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) today introduced legislation to provide an exception to the continued physical presence requirement for Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who assist the U.S. government and United Nations in crises abroad. "Our values are reflected in this bill, which will encourage immigrants with critical skills to assist their home nations with reconstruction projects after natural disaster or conflict," said Leahy. "Like the Refugee Opportunity … Continue Reading


Statement On The Republican Filibuster Of The Nomination Of Patricia Smith To Be Solicitor General For The Department Of Labor

Today, the Senate will try to end yet another Republican filibuster and invoke cloture on the nomination of Patricia Smith to be Solicitor General for the Department of Labor. This is the 15th filibuster against President Obama's nominees. Commissioner Smith is a well-qualified nominee who has decades of experience working on labor issues, and a strong record as Labor Commissioner for the State of New York. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on her no… Continue Reading


Vermont Senators to Welcome Agriculture Secretary to Vermont

Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders today announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit Vermont on Saturday, February 13, 2010. The senators will host the secretary at a series of events in Burlington and St. Albans. Sanders invited the secretary to Vermont and will chair a dairy town meeting at the Burlington Hilton. Leahy will join Sanders and Vilsack on the town meeting panel. Sanders will also host Vilsack as the keynote speaker at … Continue Reading


Senate Passes Leahy-Authored Bill To Ease Burdens On Trademark Owners

The Senate Thursday night unanimously passed legislation introduced this week by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to assist trademark owners in maintaining the protection of their brands. The Trademark Law Technical and Conforming Amendments Act makes necessary adjustments to the nation's trademark laws, improving efficiency in the trademark system. Many small Vermont businesses that hold trademarks will benefit from improving the efficiency of the system. "This bill will harmoni… Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter - January 29, 2010

Leahy: Supreme Court Opens The FloodgatesTo Corporate Contributions As Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Senator Leahy spoke on the Senate Floor Thursday, January 28, about the Supreme Court's decision last week in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision last week that reversed long standing precedent and barred restrictions on corporate independent expenditures in elections as being in violation of the First Amendment. You can watch Se… Continue Reading


Statement On The Nomination Of Benjamin Bernanke As Chairman Of The Federal Reserve Board

Mr. President, I will vote for President Obama's nomination of Benjamin Bernanke for a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Chairman Bernanke's nomination should be examined through the prism of how he performed during the recent financial crisis, and with full consideration of the best interests of the American people and their stake in the Nation's economic recovery. It is clear that prompt and decisive action by Federal officials like Dr. Bernanke saved the co… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Reports Bill To Fund Boys & Girls Clubs

The Senate Judiciary Committee reported legislation Thursday to reauthorize a Department of Justice grant program for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The legislation was originally introduced in December by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and former Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who have worked together in the past to secure funding for the organization. The bill is also cosponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Judicia… Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Refugee Opportunity Act

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday introduced legislation to provide an exception to the continued physical presence requirement for refugees who assist the U.S. government abroad during their first year in the United States. The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). The Refugee Opportunity Act addresses a requirement that refugees must be physically present in the United States for a full year before being able to adjust their status to that of a lawful perm… Continue Reading


Citizens United Decision “Creates New Rights For Wall Street At The Expense Of Main Street”

(Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday spoke on the Senate Floor about the Supreme Court's decision last week in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision last week that reversed long-standing precedent and declared government restrictions on corporate independent expenditures on elections to be unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment. Leah… Continue Reading


Vermont Wins $50.5 Million For Passenger Rail

U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today hailed a major announcement that Vermont will receive $50 million for major rail improvements along Amtrak's Vermonter line. The funding will help pay for construction of track, roadbed and bridge improvements along 190 miles of railroad used by Amtrak Vermonter service between St. Albans, Vt., and Springfield, Mass., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The upgrade will reduce tr… Continue Reading


Comments On President Obama’s State Of The Union Message To A Joint Meeting Of Congress

Senator Leahy's Reaction To President Obama's State of the Union Address I welcome the President's plans to accelerate the recovery by creating jobs to help working families rejoin the mainstream economy. Few presidents have faced so many challenges so soon in their terms - and all at once. President Obama has had to find ways to finish two wars that he inherited, and he has had to avert an economic catastrophe. Decisive action by the President and others saved the economy from tu… Continue Reading


Leahy Schedules Hearing On Oversight Of Immigration & Customs Enforcement

- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has scheduled an oversight hearing of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) for Wednesday, Feb. 3. The hearing is expected to address the need to reform the immigration detention system. Early in her tenure, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a major internal review of the immigration detention system. The Department of Homeland released a report calling for reforms related to medical care, ac… Continue Reading


Leahy Pushes For Data Privacy Legislation In Wake Of Commerce, NARA Data Breach

(Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is urging the Senate to consider comprehensive data privacy legislation in the wake of reports of two serious privacy breaches at the Commerce Department and the National Archives and Records Administration. Leahy is the author of the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act, which will improve cybersecurity and better protect Americans' privacy and personal information. The Judiciary Committee reporte… Continue Reading

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