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Press Releases

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


Statement On Human Rights In Kenya

Mr. President, during the past year, I and other Senators have urged the Government of Kenya to effectively address reports of egregious misconduct by its police and military forces, including torture and summary executions. The Mount Elgon killings, culminating in the slaughter of some 200 people by the police and army soldiers in 2008, were particularly appalling, yet the government has yet to conduct a credible, transparent, thorough investigation. We now have the report of the United … Continue Reading


Leahy And Douglas Set March 6th Conference To Ramp Up Vermont’s Readiness To Invest Stimulus Bill’s Resources In Strengthening State’s Economy

(WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25) - U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Vermont Gov. James Douglas (R) will host a free conference to help Vermont families, businesses and towns learn how the newly enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will help strengthen Vermont's economy. The conference and workshops will convene on Friday, March 6th, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Champlain College in Burlington. The Vermont Procurement and Technical Assistance Center and the Vermont Small Business Dev… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Nominees For OLC, National Security Division At Justice Department

(Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009) - Two nominees for key positions in the Department of Justice appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday afternoon. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) chaired a hearing to consider the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to be the Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel, and the nomination of David Kris to be the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division at the Department. The hearing is webcast live online, and witne… Continue Reading


Leahy Urges Passage Of DC Voting Rights Bill

(Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday urged the Senate to pass a bill to provide voting rights in the U.S. House of Representatives to the District of Columbia. The capital city's lone voice in Congress, a single delegate in the House of Representatives, is not currently permitted to vote. Under the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, of which Leahy is a cosponsor, the District's delegate would be elevated to a … Continue Reading


Leahy Schedules Hearing On Commission Of Inquiry

Sen. Leahy Sets Hearing On His Proposal For A Commission Of Inquiry WASHINGTON (Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday that the Committee will hold a hearing to explore ideas on how best to establish a commission to examine past national security policies. Leahy first discussed a non-partisan commission of inquiry in a speech at Georgetown University on Feb. 9. In a statement delivered on the Senate Floor Wednesday, … Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Examines Satellite Television Reauthorization

(Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) held a hearing today to examine provisions in the expiring Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA). The hearing on "Ensuring Television Carriage in the Digital Age" previewed some of the concerns of television networks, satellite providers and broadcasters. Five witnesses testified at Wednesday's hearing: Vermont State Senator Robert M. Hartwell (D-Bennington); Charles Ergen,… Continue Reading


Comment On President Obama’s First Address To A Joint Meeting Of Congress

This was straight talk from a leader whose confidence in America is convincing, and contagious. President Obama inherited the most difficult economic crisis of modern times. He does not gloss over the problems we face or duck responsibility for beginning to fix them. The public is disappointed by the Republican boycott of the President's economic recovery plan. They know something that I also learned long ago -- we make more headway by working together. As difficult as this will … Continue Reading


Comment On The Nomination Of John Morton To Be Assistant Secretary For Immigration And Customs Enforcement

"John Morton has had a long career in public service, and his experience in dealing with immigration issues makes him a strong nominee to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office. There is a long list of pending or lingering issues at ICE that need sensible and workable solutions. For instance, I have been deeply concerned about preventable deaths in immigration detention facilities. Mr. Morton's prosecutorial experience and experience in human rights issues should be assets … Continue Reading


Vermont State Senator To Testify Wednesday Before Leahy Panel In Washington

(Monday, Feb. 23, 2009) - Vermont State Senator Robert M. Hartwell (D-Bennington) will travel to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a panel chaired by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. The hearing, entitled "Ensuring Television Carriage in the Digital Age," will focus on the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA), which is slated to expire this year. During the Senate's consideration of the SHVERA in 2004, Leahy secured a … Continue Reading


Leahy Recommends Longtime Aide Robert Paquin To Head USDA’s Farm Service Agency In Vermont

(THURSDAY, Feb. 19) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has recommended longtime policy aide Robert Paquin of Shelburne to serve as State Executive Director of the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency for Vermont. The Farm Service Agency administers farm commodity, crop insurance, credit, environmental conservation and emergency assistance programs for farmers. In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Leahy said, "Bob Paquin … Continue Reading


Comment On The National Academy of Sciences Study On Forensic Science

"As a former prosecutor, I have always found it important to make sure that prosecutors and investigators have all the tools they need to catch and convict criminals. We also have an obligation to justice, and to ensure that the justice system does not falsely convict the innocent. Proper and effective use of forensic technology helps law enforcement and prosecutors to achieve both of these goals. To do this, use of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system must be based on good… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces Witness List For Satellite TV Hearing

(Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday announced witnesses who will testify at a hearing on Wednesday, February 25, on "Ensuring Television Carriage in the Digital Age." The hearing will examine the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act, which is slated to expire at the end of 2009. Leahy and others are expected to introduce legislation to reauthorize SHVERA later this year. The Copyright Office has issued recommendation… Continue Reading


Leahy Urges Citizens To Nominate Hero For The 2009 Above & Beyond Citizen Honors

, February 17, 2009- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation announced that the nominations period for the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors closes on Friday, February 20, 2009. Nominations must be received by then in order to be considered for 2009. Citizens may submit an eligible nominee by completing the online form, Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipients represent the values of courage, sacrifice and self… Continue Reading


Comment On Vermont’s Stake In The Economic Recovery Package That President Obama Is Signing Tuesday In Denver

"This will soften the blows that Vermont's economy and budget are taking as the economic crisis spreads, and it also plants the seeds for economic recovery. The bill gives the Governor and the Legislature flexibility along with funding in dealing with the state's budget deficit. "Vermont had a front row seat in Congress as this bill was written, and this plan is a good match for the jobs Vermonters need today and tomorrow. The tax reductions for working families and for businesses will h… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Scheduled For OLC, National Security Assistant Attorney General Nominees

(Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday noticed a hearing to consider nominations for two key leadership positions at the Department of Justice. The Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on February 25, at 2:00 p.m., to consider the nominations of Dawn Johnsen to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, and David Kris to be the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division. The Senate has… Continue Reading


Leahy-Backed Health Privacy Provisions Included Recovery Package

(Friday, Feb. 13, 2009) - Health information privacy protections championed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have been included in the economic recovery and investment package negotiated by Congress this week. Leahy has been a strong proponent of safeguarding Americans' privacy in health care reform proposals, and worked with congressional leaders to secure the provisions. The House of Representatives passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Friday afternoon, and the Senate is sche… Continue Reading


Economic Recovery Plan Will Create And Sustain Jobs In Vermont And Relieve The State’s Budget Deficit

(FRIDAY, Feb. 13) - The U.S. Senate late Friday is expected to join the U.S. House of Representatives in passing and sending to President Obama's desk an economic recovery package that includes investments throughout Vermont's economy. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released an updated analysis of Vermont's stake in the final version of the bill. Leahy said the plan addresses Vermont's economic and budget needs that have worsened as the economic crisis spreads. "Vermont had a seat at the ta… Continue Reading


Leahy Praises Law Enforcement Funding In Recovery Package

(Friday, Feb. 13, 2009) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday praised the inclusion of nearly $4 billion for law enforcement programs in the economic recovery and investment package negotiated by Congressional leaders this week. The House of Representatives approved the package Friday afternoon, and the Senate is expected to vote on the measure Friday evening. Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Earlie… Continue Reading


Senators Leahy And Feinstein Introduce Bill To Reduce Cluster Munitions’ Danger To Innocent Civilians

(THURSDAY, Feb. 12) -- U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this week introduced legislation to restrict the use or deployment of dangerous cluster munitions. Leahy, who has worked for years to protect civilians from cluster munitions, said: "Anyone who has seen the devastation cluster munitions cause over wide areas understands the unacceptable harm they cause to civilians. Any weapon, whether cluster munitions, landmines, or even poison gas, has some m… Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Bill To Provide Equality Under Immigration Law

(Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday introduced legislation to allow American citizens to sponsor same-sex "permanent partners" applying for legal residency in the United States. The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would amend provisions in U.S. immigration law that bar Americans in same-sex relationships from using the family immigration system and sponsoring their partners. Under current law, an American citizen is permitte… Continue Reading

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