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Press Releases

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

06.26.09

Leahy Launches Drive To Extend Federal Death Payments To Nonprofit EMS Personnel

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday introduced legislation to extend the federal Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB) program to paramedics and emergency medical technicians killed or disabled in the line of duty who are employed by nonprofit organizations and ambulance services. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a cosponsor of the bill. Named the "Dale Long Emergency Medical Service Providers Protection Act" in honor of the Bennington emergency medical service provider who was … Continue Reading


06.25.09

Leahy Marks 43rd Anniversary Of Freedom Of Information Act

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday marked the upcoming 43rd anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the nation's premier open government law. Leahy is a longtime advocate of government transparency. He is the co-author of the OPEN FOIA Act, which would require Congress to clearly and explicitly state its intention to create a statutory exemption to FOIA when it provides for such an exemption in new legislation. Leahy was the 2009 recipient of the Robert Vaughn FOIA Leg… Continue Reading


06.25.09

Leahy, Bond Reintroduce National Guard Empowerment Effort

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) Thursday reintroduced legislation that would obligate the Department of Defense to pay greater attention to the mission of domestic operations in support of civilian authorities and to further empower the National Guard in defense policymaking. Leahy and Bond are co-chairs of the 96-member Senate National Guard Caucus. In addition to serving as the primary reserve to the active military when assigned abroad, the National Guard is the nation… Continue Reading


06.25.09

Holder Offers Strong Support For Hate Crimes Legislation

(Thursday, June 25, 2009) - Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed the administration's strong support for the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, legislation that would make needed changes to the federal hate crime law. Holder returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee just one week after appearing for a Department of Justice oversight hearing. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), responding to req… Continue Reading


06.24.09

Durbin, Leahy, Feingold Introduce Legislation Making Crimes Against Humanity A Violation Of U.S. Law

Assistant Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), introduced the Crimes Against Humanity Act today - legislation that would make it a violation of U.S. law to commit a crime against humanity. This legislation is needed to ensure that perpetrators of the worst human rights violations do not find safe haven in our country. "The United States led the first prosecutions for crimes against humanity in th… Continue Reading


06.24.09

Comment On Senate Consideration Of Articles Of Impeachment Concerning Judge Samuel B. Kent

The Senate is moving with deliberate speed to address impeachment of Judge Kent. This is no routine matter, nor is it an action to be taken lightly. But Judge Kent is guilty of a crime, and must be held accountable. I am outraged that he continues to receive benefits and compensation as a federal judge, despite his felony conviction, admission of guilt, and prison sentence. The House unanimously voted to refer four articles of impeachment to the Senate just last week. I applaud the Senate's a… Continue Reading


06.24.09

Leahy Introduces Crime Victims Reauthorization Bill

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday introduced legislation to preserve and enhance federal assistance to crime victims under the Victims of Crime Act. The Crime Victims Fund Preservation Act will ensure that victims of crime, through victim service providers around the country, will receive essential services that they need to become survivors and move forward with their lives. The Crime Victims Fund serves roughly four million crime victims every year, including victims of domestic… Continue Reading


06.23.09

Statement On The Nomination Of Judge Sonia Sotomayor To The Supreme Court

I thank Senator Menendez and Senator Schumer for their outstanding statements to the Senate today. As I review Judge Sotomayor's record in preparation for her confirmation hearing on July 13, I am struck by her extraordinary career and how she has excelled at everything she has done. I know how proud her mother Celina is of her accomplishments. I was delighted to hear Laura Bush, the former First Lady, say recently that she, too, is "proud" that President Obama nominated a woman to ser… Continue Reading


06.22.09

Reaction To The Supreme Court’s Decision On Section 5 Of The Voting Rights Act

I am relieved that today the Supreme Court did not overturn the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Doing so would have been pure and simple judicial activism. A nearly unanimous Supreme Court wisely did not take such a drastic step. However I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court that Congress' reauthorization of Section 5 poses serious constitutional concerns. There is no more explicit constitutional grant of power to the Congress than in the second section of the 15th Amendment t… Continue Reading


06.18.09

Leahy Steers Vermont U.S. Attorney Nominee Through Judiciary Committee, On Track To Become One Of The First Headed For Senate Confirmation

Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday won the panel's approval of the nomination of Hinesburg attorney Tristram J. Coffin to be Vermont's next U.S. Attorney. Leahy has kept Vermont's candidate on a fast legislative track. Coffin and two others are the first three U.S. Attorney nominees the panel has approved from the new administration. President Obama, who had accepted Leahy's recommendation to nominate Coffin, sent the nomination to the Senate … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment On The Supreme Court’s 5-4 Decision On Post-Conviction DNA Testing

"I am disappointed that this narrow Supreme Court ruling denied access to post-conviction DNA testing for a defendant who wanted to prove his innocence. We should make every effort to promote DNA testing in our criminal justice system -- whether before or after trial -- in order to help ensure that only the guilty are convicted, never the innocent, and that the guilty do not walk free to commit more crimes. This decision only creates new procedural roadblocks and unnecessary hurdles to … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Leahy, Sessions Press PRLDEF For Sotomayor-Requested Documents

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) today sent a letter to LatinoJustice PRLDEF (Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund), asking that the organization expedite Judge Sonia Sotomayor's request for documents related to her membership in the organization. Sotomayor has been nominated to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In response to the Judiciary Committee's bipartisan questionnaire, Sotomayor stated t… Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment On The Designation Of David J. Kappos To Be Undersecretary Of Commerce For Intellectual Property And Director Of The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office

"I am pleased that the President has announced his intent nominate David J. Kappos to be the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. "His experience both as a development engineer and as a leading intellectual property attorney make Mr. Kappos exceptionally qualified to lead the Patent and Trademark Office. While serving as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at IBM, Mr. Kappos has managed IBM's vast p… Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On Senate Passage Of The OPEN FOIA Act

The Senate Wednesday night adopted the OPEN FOIA Act as part of S.1285. The OPEN FOIA Act is co-authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). "I commend the Senate for unanimously passing the OPEN FOIA Act - a commonsense bill to promote more openness regarding statutory exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). For more than four decades, FOIA has served as perhaps the most important Federal law to protect the public's right to know. The OPEN FOIA Act will help … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Attorney General Holder To Testify At Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Hate Crimes Legislation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), responding to requests from Committee Republicans, has scheduled a hearing on pending legislation to make needed changes to the federal hate crime law. Attorney General Eric Holder will testify at the hearing on June 25. The bipartisan Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act was introduced on April 28 by former Committee Chairman Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). More than 40 Senators are cosponsors of this legislation. The … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Comment On The Supreme Court’s 5-4 Ruling In Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc.

"In the Supreme Court's decision today, five justices acted to disregard precedent and ignore the plain reading and common understanding of the statute that Congress passed to protect Americans from discrimination based on their age. It is even more troubling that these five justices decided to go further than the question presented to the Court. This overreaching by a narrow majority of the Court will have a detrimental effect on all Americans and their families. In these … Continue Reading


06.18.09

Congress Clears Leahy-Led Boost For Next Generation Of Armored Vehicles Engineered For The Tough Terrain Of Afghanistan

The U.S. Senate late Thursday passed and now will send to the President a funding bill that reflects a push by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to boost development of tougher and more agile armored vehicles and other equipment needed by U.S. troops in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan. The Senate approved the final Fiscal Year 2009 supplemental appropriations bill in a vote of 91 to 5. As chairman of the Senate's 96-member National Guard Caucus, Leahy worked with caucus co-chair Senator Kit Bond… Continue Reading


06.17.09

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Presidential Memorandum On Federal Benefits And Non-Discrimination

I am pleased that today President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination that will extend a number of benefits to same-sex partners that are afforded to spouses of Federal employees. I applaud the President for this effort to promote fairness in the workplace. It is a step in the right direction towards equalizing benefit coverage for all Federal employees. The memorandum will enable domestic partners of civil service Federal e… Continue Reading


06.17.09

Statement At Hearing On “Department of Justice Oversight”

I welcome Attorney General Holder back to the Senate Judiciary Committee, as we continue our oversight of the Justice Department. I commend the Attorney General and his team for their hard work and commitment to the difficult task of once again making the Department of Justice an agency worthy of its name. In the last administration, political manipulation of the Department of Justice, and particularly its crucial law enforcement and civil rights functions, struck a dev… Continue Reading


06.16.09

Leahy Joins Effort To Fix REAL ID Law

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is again part of an effort to fix problems in the REAL ID Act of 2005 that have led many states to balk at participating in what critics say is a thinly disguised national ID program built around a national database that would be vulnerable to identity theft. Leahy is a leading cosponsor of a new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate on June 15 by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) is the chief Republican cosponsor. The ne… Continue Reading

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