Press Room

Press Releases

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


Statement Regarding Amendment To Cap Attorney Fees In Medical Malpractice Cases

We will soon be voting on a one-sided amendment that will hurt injured Americans who seek to recover damages in our court system. It may not be obvious to the non-lawyers listening to this debate that many ordinary Americans who suffer an injury through another's negligence cannot afford to pay an attorney up front. Our legal system allows for a plaintiff and an attorney to negotiate to determine compensation. In these cases, the parties sign a contract where the attorney may agree to work on… Continue Reading


As Hibernation Season Nears, Agency Issues New Guidance On Slowing Spread Of Mystery Illness That Has Decimated Northeast’s Bat Populations

(Friday, Dec. 4) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friday released guidance for slowing the spread of the bat disease pandemic that has already killed millions of hibernating bats across the Northeast. The agency has developed a process of structured decisionmaking to guide management recommendations described in the report, which outlines the best known approaches to managing the risk of spreading the disease, known as White Nose Syndrome (WNS). The causes of the outbreak are still unkn… Continue Reading


U.S. Labor Department To Survey Construction Wages In Vermont

(Friday, December 4, 2009) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced Friday that the U.S. Labor Department will conduct a building and heavy construction wage survey in Vermont to determine the prevailing wages that should be paid for future federal construction projects. Leahy, Sanders, and Welch requested the updated survey in a September 2008 letter to the Labor Department. In the joint statement, Leahy, S… Continue Reading


Senate Committee Approves Leahy Bill To Extend Federal Death Payments To Nonprofit EMS Personnel

(Thursday, Dec. 3) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved legislation authored by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to extend the federal Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB) program to paramedics and emergency medical technicians who work or volunteer for nonprofit ambulance services, for coverage when they are killed or disabled in the line of duty. Leahy chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the PSOB program, and he has successfully steered several PSOB improve… Continue Reading


Opening Statement, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, Executive Business Meeting

The Committee meets today with a full agenda. We have the opportunity to vote on five judicial nominees and six executive branch nominees. As we approach the end of the year, I hope that none of them will be needlessly delayed. They should be reported to the Senate now for final action before the end of the year. We have a number of bills to consider including two, the Hate Crimes Against the Homeless Statistics Act and the Dale Long Emergency Medical Service Providers Protection Act, that I wo… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Examines Supreme Court Of The United States Decisions On Pleading Standards

(Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today chaired a hearing examining the impact of two recent Supreme Court decisions on Americans' access to courts. The focus of the hearing was the Supreme Court's decisions in Iqbal and Twombly. Member statements, witness testimony, and a webcast are available online. The full text of Leahy's statement follows. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,Hearing On "Has … Continue Reading


Statement On Aminatou Haidar

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to bring to the attention of Senators who may not already be aware, a situation that has been unfolding in Morocco and the Canary Islands. Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Aminatou Haidar, called by some the "Saharawi Ghandi", who received the 2008 human rights award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Ms. Haidar is a focus of attention again today because she is on a hunger strike in the Canary Islands after being summ… Continue Reading


Vermont Receives $536,400 for Energy Efficient Appliance Rebates

, December 2 - Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today announced that Vermont's Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program will receive an additional $536,400 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the program provides rebates to consumers replacing used appliances with new Energy Star-certified appliances. Vermont's program, which will be administered by the Vermont Energy Investment Corpo… Continue Reading


Leahy To File Antitrust Repeal Amendment Today

(Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday announced that he will file an amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will repeal the health insurance and medical malpractice insurance industries' exemption from federal antitrust laws. Leahy introduced the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act in September. Leahy chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held a hearing about the legislation in October. The bill is cosponsored by 18 sen… Continue Reading


On The Cartagena Landmine Ban Treaty Review Conference

Senator Leahy Comments on Landmine Ban MR. LEAHY. Madam President, I want to speak briefly on a subject that many Members of Congress - Democrats and Republicans - have had an abiding interest in over the years. Throughout this week, delegates from countries around the world will gather in Cartagena, Colombia, to participate in the Second Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms California District Court Nominee

(Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009) - The Senate Tuesday afternoon confirmed Judge Jacqueline Nguyen by a vote of 97-0 to fill a vacancy on the federal district court in the Central District of California. Nguyen will become the first Vietnamese American to serve as a federal district court judge in the United States, and the first Asian Pacific American woman to serve as a federal district court judge in California. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 23, and her nomination wa… Continue Reading


Comment On The President’s Plan For Afghanistan

[The President Tuesday afternoon met at the White House with congressional leaders, including Senator Patrick Leahy, to outline and discuss his plan for Afghanistan. Leahy (D-Vt.) chairs the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on The State Department and Foreign Operations and is the third-most-senior member of the Senate.] "The President inherited a faltering strategy in Afghanistan that has failed so massively that at this point there are no good answers. He deserves great credit for pu… Continue Reading


Rutland High School

Mrs. Kravitz Civics' students On December 1, 2009, five students from each of the seven Civics classes offered at Rutland High School were asked to attend a Skype video chat with Senator Leahy. This was Rutland High School's first chat with the Senator. The students along with their professor, Ms. Jennifer Kravitz, and Principal, Mr. Bill Olsen, discussed issues such as health care reform, Afghanistan, Vermont troops, the economy, energy conservation and farming programs in Vermont. They spoke … Continue Reading


Rutland High School

Mrs. Kravitz Civics' students On December 1, 2009, five students from each of the seven Civics classes offered at Rutland High School were asked to attend a Skype video chat with Senator Leahy. This was Rutland High School's first chat with the Senator. The students along with their professor, Ms. Jennifer Kravitz, and Principal, Mr. Bill Olsen, discussed issues such as health care reform, Afghanistan, Vermont troops, the economy, energy conservation and farming programs in Vermont. This chat w… Continue Reading


Statement On The Nomination Of Irene Berger To The Southern District Of West Virginia

It has taken nearly a month to obtain Republican consent to consider the nomination of Judge Irene Berger to the Southern District of West Virginia. Judge Berger is a consensus nominee unanimously rated well qualified by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, the highest rating possible. Her nomination has the support of both of West Virginia's highly respected Senators. Senator Byrd, as the senior member of the Senate, is the President pro tempore, and is … Continue Reading


Leahy Hits U.S. Refusal To Join Landmine Treaty

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is sharply critical of the Obama Administration's decision, announced Tuesday by the State Department, to decline to join the international treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines, a weapon that kills or maims thousands of civilians each year. "This is a default of U.S. leadership and a detour from the clear path of history," Leahy said in a statement. "The United States is the most powerful nation on earth. We don't need these weapons and most of our allies have long a… Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter - November 24, 2009

Senate Begins Debate On Health Care Bill On Saturday, November 21, in a rare weekend session, Senator Leahy spoke on the Senate Floor on the Senate's health insurance reform plan. By a vote of 60 to 39, the Senate voted to end a filibuster on a procedural vote. Senator Leahy voted against the filibuster and in support of moving to debate on the bill. As the Senate debates the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, you can visit Senator Leahy's Senate Checkup for up-to-date information ab… Continue Reading


U.S. Senate Confirms Vermont Judge For Court Vacancy

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Vermont State Judge Christina Reiss to a judgeship on Vermont's U.S. District Court. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) steered Reiss's nomination to confirmation by unanimous consent on Saturday night during a rare weekend session in which the Senate also voted to proceed to a debate on health reform legislation. Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has kept the Vermont nomination on a fast track, securing Judiciary Committee ap… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Passage Of S.1472, The Human Rights Enforcement Act

I am always looking for ways in which we can improve the investigation and prosecution of international human rights abusers, including those who seek safe haven in the United States. That is what led me to develop and fight for several years to enact the Anti-Atrocity Alien Deportation Act, which became law in 2004. That is what I did in supporting and implementing legislation for the Convention Against Torture. That is what I have done in my work on the State and Foreign Operations Appropria… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Motion To Proceed To H.R. 3590, The “Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act”

Leahy Debates Senate Health Insurance Reform Plan Decision time is near on health insurance reform, and I will vote today to end the filibuster so the Senate can begin this important and historic debate to improve and reform our Nation's health insurance system. Let's not duck the debate. Let the debate begin. Let's not hide from votes. Let's have the courage to vote and stand up and vote on the amendments. Let the American people know where we stand and not say, well,… Continue Reading

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