Press Room

Press Releases

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


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


Leahy, Sessions File Bill To Ease Burdens On Trademark Owners

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) have filed legislation to help assist trademark owners in maintaining the protection of their brands. The legislation makes technical and conforming amendments to the nation's trademark laws, and is supported by the Obama administration. "This legislation is focused on the process for maintaining trademark protection," said Leahy. "It is a targeted bill that will improve the efficiency… Continue Reading


Statement On Proposed Cuts to the State Department Budget

Mr. LEAHY . Mr. President, first, I thank my friend from Alabama for yielding time. AMENDMENT NO. 3303 Among the $120 billion in funding cuts that would be required by the Coburn amendment is a $1.3 billion rescission from the State Department. Section 13 of the amendment specifically directs the Secretary of State to eliminate two programs--the East-West Center and the Asia Foundation--saying this would produce savings. Even if it made sense to eliminate these programs which have a long hist… Continue Reading


Vermont Delegation Meets With Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) met this afternoon with Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko regarding recent alarming reports about the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The delegation's letter on January 22, 2010, requested a meeting and a full investigation into the radioactive leak detected at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. A copy of the letter is available at the link above. Chairman Jaczko stated th… Continue Reading


Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School

Mr. Peter Gustafson's 6th grade Social Studies Class As part of their recent study of the rainforest student's of Mr. Peter Gustafson's 6th grade social studies class wrote letters to Senator Leahy's office in December of 2009 sharing with the Senator their thoughts on the topic. After responding to the student letters, Senator Leahy spoke directly with students during an online chat to further explore global efforts for rainforest preservation. This was the first online chat for the Albert D. … Continue Reading


Leahy To Introduce Bill To Ease Burdens On Trademark Owners

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will introduce legislation later today to help assist trademark owners in maintaining the protection of their brands. The legislation makes technical and confirming amendments to the nation's trademark laws, and is supported by the Obama administration. Members in the House of Representatives are expected to introduce similar legislation today. Many small Vermont businesses that hold trademarks will benefit from improving the efficiency of the syst… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms District Court Nominee

The Senate Monday night unanimously confirmed Rosanna M. Peterson to fill a district court vacancy in the Eastern District of Washington by a vote of 89-0. Peterson, whose nomination was reported by the Judiciary Committee on December 10, is just the fourteenth judicial nomination confirmed this Congress. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday released a statement addressing Republican claims about delays in confirming judicial nominations. Senate Republicans h… Continue Reading


Vermont Delegation Calls On The Nuclear Regulatory Commission To Investigate Vermont Yankee

Vermont's congressional delegation today wrote Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko to ask him to move forward on a thorough investigation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant regarding recent alarming reports about the plant. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) wrote the following letter: January 22, 2010 The Honorable Gregory B. Jaczko Chairman U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, D.C. 20555-0001 Dea… Continue Reading


Statement On The Earthquake in Haiti

Highlights of Senator Leahy's Comments On The Earthquake In Haiti MR. LEAHY. Mr. President, the widespread devastation and loss of life in Haiti caused by last Tuesday's earthquake is a tragedy on a scale that words alone cannot adequately describe. The hemisphere's poorest country, with a history of repeated calamities - some caused by natural disasters, some by corrupt, abusive governments - is facing an humanitarian emergency and reconstruction needs of daunting proportions. T… Continue Reading


Comment On The Department Of Justice’s Lawsuit Against Dean Foods

"I am pleased that the Department of Justice has moved forward to block a portion of Dean Foods' acquisition of Foremost Farms. I have had concerns about the impact of this and similar acquisitions on the already hurting dairy industry. The Department is following through with its pledge to examine market consolidation in the dairy industry, where farmers have been hit by sinking prices while milk processors and distributors are posting increased profits. It is appropriate for the Depa… Continue Reading


Montpelier Wins $8 Million Federal Energy Grant

The city of Montpelier will receive an $8 million grant for a wood-chip-fueled renewable energy project for the Statehouse and 175 other buildings in Vermont's capital city, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced today. The project will install a combined heat and power district energy system fueled with wood chips harvested locally. The city estimates that 35 total net new jobs will directly and indirectly be created within the proj… Continue Reading


Comment On Secretary Of State Clinton's Address On Global Internet Freedom

[Leahy, D-Vt., chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations.] "I commend Secretary of State Clinton for reaffirming our nation's deep commitment to openness and freedom of expression on the Internet. The Internet has become a vital tool to protect and ensure the rights and basic freedoms of Americans and the human rights of people everywhere. The Internet got its start here, and the world st… Continue Reading


Comment On The Supreme Court’s Decision In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

[The Supreme Court Thursday issued its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed long-standing precedent and declared government restrictions on corporate independent expenditures on elections to be unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment. The majority did find disclaimer and disclosure requirements provided by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 constitutional, as applied to these independent corporate expenditur… Continue Reading


Vermont Delegation Seeks More Home Heating Help

The White House today released about $1.8 million in emergency home heating assistance for Vermont. The emergency funds are in addition to $25.6 million already distributed to the state. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) were pleased that President Obama responded so quickly to their request to release the emergency home heating assistance, but they expressed disappointment with Vermont's share of the $490 million distributed nationwide to… Continue Reading


Senate Unanimously Confirms Circuit Court Nominee

The Senate convened for the second session of the 111th Congress and quickly confirmed the nomination of Beverly Martin to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday. The nomination, which has been pending before the full Senate for more than four months, was confirmed by a unanimous vote of 97-0. In a statement on the Senate floor prior to the vote, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expressed his regret for the delays in considering judicial nominations. "The de… Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs Hearing On Improving Anti-Terrorism Tools And Inter-Agency Communication

(Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning is holding a hearing on "Securing America's Safety: Improving the Effectiveness of Anti-Terrorism Tools and Inter-Agency Communication." Witness testimony from Robert Mueller, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Secretary, Department of State; and David F. Heyman, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security, is available online. The hearing is also … Continue Reading


Comment On The Inspector General’s Report On FBI Abuses Of Exigent Letters

"The Inspector General's report released today details the misuse of so-called 'exigent letters' by the FBI to obtain information about U.S. persons. The report describes how the FBI used these exigent letters without proper authorization to collect thousands of phone records, including in instances where no exigent conditions existed. The report also details how the FBI then compounded the misconduct by trying to issue National Security Letters after the fact. This was not a matter of … Continue Reading

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