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Press Releases

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

06.16.08

Leahy Provisions Holding Private Security Contractors And War Profiteers Accountable Under U.S. Law Added To Iraq Supplemental Appropriations Bill

Three measures sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to hold private security contractors and war profiteers accountable under U.S. law for the first time were approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday afternoon and included in the Senate version of the emergency supplemental spending bill for Iraq, Afghanistan, and key domestic programs. In response to the killings of 17 innocent civilians by Blackwater security guards in Iraq last September, a provision to close a jurisdictio… Continue Reading


06.03.08

Time To Clarify Military Roles In Disaster Relief Here At Home

Never the squeaky wheel, but ever ready in an emergency, the National Guard too often is easy to take for granted. But when cities flood, hillsides are engulfed in flame, storms lash our communities, or terrorism strikes, the Guard is promptly on the scene, saving lives and restoring order. The military side of our preparedness grid is in better shape than it was in the late-summer of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. National Guard units from across the country str… Continue Reading


05.29.08

Praise New Treaty Banning Cluster Munitions, Call On United States To Join Pact

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Thursday hailed a new international agreement to ban the vast majority of cluster munitions, and called on the United States to join the agreement. Under the treaty announced Wednesday in Dublin, Ireland, 111 nations agreed to stop producing and using cluster munitions. The agreement also calls on signatories to destroy all cluster munitions stockpiles within eight years. The United States declined to sign on to the agreement. … Continue Reading


05.29.08

Praise New Treaty Banning Cluster Munitions, Call On United States To Join Pact

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Thursday hailed a new international agreement to ban the vast majority of cluster munitions, and called on the United States to join the agreement. Under the treaty announced Wednesday in Dublin, Ireland, 111 nations agreed to stop producing and using cluster munitions. The agreement also calls on signatories to destroy all cluster munitions stockpiles within eight years. The United States declined to sign on to the agreement. … Continue Reading


05.22.08

‘Got MILC’ Across The Finish Line -- Vermont Delegation Performs Traditional ‘Milk Toast’ As Renewal Of The MILC Program’s Charter Finally Becomes Law Senate Joins House In Overriding President’s Veto Of The Farm Bill

Capping months of effort by the Vermont Congressional Delegation, the MILC Program - the basic safety net for dairy farmers when milk prices plummet - became law Thursday afternoon when the U.S. Senate joined the U.S. House of Representatives in overriding President Bush's veto of a new 5-year Farm Bill. The Vermont Congressional Delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Rep. Peter Welch (D) - toasted the victory in the U.S. Capitol with champagne glasses of milk, a tradi… Continue Reading


05.22.08

SJC: Panel Holds Hearing On Civil Legal Assistance To Low-Income Americans

(Thursday, May 21, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee capped a full week this afternoon with a hearing to explore efforts being made by the Legal Services Corporation to provide low-income Americans with the representation necessary to navigate the judicial system. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's statement follows. Watch the hearing live and read witness testimony online.… Continue Reading


05.21.08

Hearing On “Exploring The Skyrocketing Price Of Oil”

I thank the witnesses for being here today. And some of you, to your credit, were more forthcoming than others in answering the questions on both sides of the aisle. Of course, the bottom line is very simple: People we represent are hurting. Your companies, the foreign oil interests, are profiting. And we need to get this somehow into balance. I think the price of oil has to reflect market fundamentals. If oil returns to $35 to $65 a barrel, as some of you have said, then we could bring g… Continue Reading


05.21.08

Oil Executives Testify Before Senate Panel

(Wednesday, May 21, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) convened a hearing this morning to examine the explosive rise in oil prices in recent months. The hearing featured testimony from executives of five major oil companies - ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, BP America and Shell. In his opening remarks, Leahy highlighted the story of a Vermont business owner, Warren Hill, whose family settled in Vermont more than 200 years ago. Mr. Warren's logging and truck… Continue Reading


05.21.08

On The Merida Initiative Congressional Record

MR. LEAHY. The Fiscal Year 2008 supplemental appropriations bill provides $450 million for the Merida Initiative, including $350 million for Mexico and $100 million for Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This is the first installment of an ongoing commitment to help our neighbors to the south respond to the growing violence and corruption of heavily armed drug cartels. It represents a ten-fold increase in assistance for Mexico in a single year. The Merida Initiative is a par… Continue Reading


05.20.08

Comment On Senator Edward Kennedy’s Medical Condition

"The concern that has rippled through the Senate is a sign of his importance to the Senate and to the Senate family. The news has saddened us all. "Ted Kennedy and his family have suffered so much, and they have endured with strength and courage. Marcelle and I take comfort in having seen his resilience and his fighting spirit through all these years. We hope and pray for his full recovery, and we offer our best wishes to Vicki and to all in the Kennedy family." # # # # #… Continue Reading


05.20.08

Senate Confirms Agee For Fourth Circuit Court Of Appeals

The Senate today unanimously confirmed the nomination of G. Steven Agee for a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is the second appellate confirmation this year, and the sixth judicial nomination to be confirmed by the Senate. Earlier today, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) spoke on the Senate floorabout the Agee nomination and the Committee's continued work in reducing vacancies on the Federal bench. Agee was nominated by the President to fill a long-standing va… Continue Reading


05.20.08

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,

"The Inspector General credits the FBI for maintaining a higher standard in the interrogation of detainees. In a majority of circumstances, agents at the FBI appear to have adhered to a clear policy in the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and in Iraq and Afghanistan. I still wish that Director Mueller had been more forthcoming when I asked him about these matters at our May 2004 hearing. Had he done so, he might have helped paved the way for Congress to investigate allegations of abu… Continue Reading


05.16.08

Leahy, Specter Send Letter To Attorney General About FBI-ATF Cooperation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) Thursday sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking him to provide the Judiciary Committee with information about how he is mediating disputes between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as reported May 10 in The Washington Post. The ATF was brought under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice under th… Continue Reading


05.15.08

By Veto-Proof Margins, Congress Sends To President A Farm Bill That Will Renew And Expand The MILC Safety Net For Dairy Farmers

The Vermont Congressional Delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), and Rep. Peter Welch (D) - Thursday hailed today's final congressional approval of a new 5-year Farm Bill that will extend and strengthen the safety net that dairy farmers rely on when milk prices plummet. The new charter for the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program includes a major breakthrough for dairy farmers. For the first time, dairy farmers' rising production costs will help trigger MILC progra… Continue Reading


05.15.08

Judiciary Committee Reports Nominee For Fourth Circuit

The Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously voted to report the nomination of Steven Agee to fill a vacancy on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expedited the consideration of the Agee nomination after the White House finally reversed course after years spent making contentious nominations to the Fourth Circuit bench, stalling progress in the Senate to fill vacancies in the Circuit. After years of delay, the President in March heeded the advice of Virgini… Continue Reading


05.15.08

Judiciary Committee Reports Bill To Increase Federal Judgeships

The Senate Judiciary Committee today reported a bill introduced by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to increase Federal judgeships and help reduce judicial backlogs in districts across the country. The bipartisan Federal Judgeship Act of 2008 was introduced by Leahy in March, and is cosponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and more than a dozen other Senators. Congress has not passed a bill since 1990 to address the increasing needs of both c… Continue Reading


05.14.08

Vermont Highlights of 2008 Farm Bill

Renewal & Expansion Of MILC Program;More Funds For Lake Champlain Cleanup;Expanded Help For Vermont's Anti-Hunger Efforts;Another Big Boost For Vermont's Organic Sector DAIRY Senator Leahy led a bipartisan coalition in working for several months to secure renewal of and improvements to the basic safety net for dairy farmers, the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. In the end the MILC program received one of the largest funding boosts of any commodity in the Farm Bill. In ad… Continue Reading


05.14.08

Leahy Ensures That Vermont Is A Big Winner In New Farm Bill – Major Boosts For State’s Dairy, Organic, Anti-Hunger And Lake Champlain Priorities

(Wednesday, May 14) -- Vermont's clout in agriculture policy again is paying big dividends as Congress races to finish work on a new bipartisan five-year Farm Bill. The House Wednesday passed the newly negotiated Farm Bill by a veto-proof vote of 318 to 106, and the Senate has set its vote on the bill for Thursday. The Senate is also expected to pass the bill with more than enough votes to override a threatened presidential veto. The new Farm Bill advances key Vermont agriculture, anti-hunge… Continue Reading


05.14.08

Leahy Announces Agreement On Privacy Provisions In Health IT Bill

(Wednesday, May 14, 2008) - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today announced a breakthrough in the impasse over privacy provisions in the Wired for Health Care Quality Act, a bill sponsored by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) to help establish a national health information technology system. Leahy, a longtime advocate for personal privacy protections, had expressed concerns that the bill lacked adequate privacy protections for patients. Leahy has been working with Kennedy, En… Continue Reading


05.13.08

Leahy Schedules Judiciary Committee Hearing On The Right To Vote

(Tuesday, May 13, 2008) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has scheduled a hearing to examine the constitutional underpinnings of voting rights and to investigate obstacles that impede access to the ballot box for all Americans. Several states are currently considering policies that could erect barriers between eligible voters and their constitutional right to vote. Recent reports from the May 6 primary in Indiana, including reports that a nun who volunteered as a poll … Continue Reading

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