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

02.22.08

Senate And House Judiciary And Intelligence Committee Chairs Continue To Work On FISA, Administration And Congressional Republicans Refuse To Join

(Friday, Feb. 22, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), released the following statement after committee staffs met for a second day to discuss Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform legislation. "Today, our staffs met again i… Continue Reading


02.21.08

Judicial Confirmation Hearing

Today the Committee is holding another hearing on judicial nominations. This is the second such hearing within two weeks. The Committee is pleased to welcome the senior Senator from Virginia who is joining us today. Senator Warner has always appreciated the importance of the judiciary and the significance of judicial nominees. I was pleased to work with Senator Warner when his support for Roger Gregory helped the Senate finally to confirm the first African American to serve on the Fourth Ci… Continue Reading


02.21.08

Senate And House Chairmen Continue Work On FISA Reform

(Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), released the following statement regarding their continued work to reach a compromise on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform: "In what should have been a bip… Continue Reading


02.20.08

IRS Backs Down On Rules Change That Would Have Harmed Vermont’s Captive Insurance Industry

(WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has dropped plans to change the way Vermont's captive insurance companies are taxed. Both Leahy and Welch sent letters asking the IRS to withdraw the proposed regulation. Leahy said, "IRS officials listened, and they were willing to pull back an overly broad rule change that did not make sense for self-insuring companies. Peter an… Continue Reading


02.19.08

The Resignation Of Cuban President Fidel Castro

"For years we have had a failed policy toward Cuba that is beneath a great and good nation like ours. Our policy is as much a relic of the past as is Cuba's communist regime. It has done nothing to defeat communism but has actually strengthened it there. Momentum has been building in recent years for our efforts to make sensible changes in our policy, and as Castro fades from the scene, that momentum will continue to build. I hope today's news brings Cuba closer to the release of prisoners of co… Continue Reading


02.18.08

Leahy Announces $1 M. For Vermont Drug Task Force

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Monday, Feb. 18) - Senator Patrick Leahy announced Monday that he has secured $1 million in new U.S. Justice Department funds that the Vermont Drug Task Force will use to combat increased drug activity in Vermont. Leahy made the announcement at the Montpelier Police Department, joined by Vermont Bureau of Criminal Investigation Commander Major Tom L'Esperance and other law enforcement officials.Like other states, Vermont in recent years has faced a marked increase in marijuana, … Continue Reading


02.15.08

Meaningful Patent Reform; Pass Legislation To Maintain America's Competitive Edge

During the course of our work in the Senate, we have often found ourselves on opposite sides of controversial legislation. While we agree to disagree on some questions that come before the Senate Judiciary Committee, we have long been close partners on intellectual property issues. For several years, modernizing the patent system has been at the front and center of our mutual legislative agenda. Meaningful patent reform is crucial to America's ability to maintain its competitive edge in th… Continue Reading


02.15.08

Meaningful Patent Reform; Pass Legislation To Maintain America's Competitive Edge Op-Ed - The Washington Times

By Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES During the course of our work in the Senate, we have often found ourselves on opposite sides of controversial legislation. While we agree to disagree on some questions that come before the Senate Judiciary Committee, we have long been close partners on intellectual property issues. For several years, modernizing the patent system has been at the front and center of our mutual legislative agenda. Meaningful patent reform is crucia… Continue Reading


02.14.08

Leahy: FOIA Ombudsman Belongs At Archives, Not DOJ

(Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday called for full funding of a key office authorized by newly enacted legislation establishing an independent ombudsman to resolve Freedom of Information Act disputes between FOIA requestors and the federal government. In his Fiscal Year 2009 budget proposal sent to Congress last week, President Bush proposed shifting the functions of the newly authorized Office of Government Information Services (OGIS… Continue Reading


02.13.08

“Examining The State Secrets Privilege: Protecting National Security While Preserving Accountability”

Today, the Judiciary Committee turns its attention to the state secrets privilege - a common law doctrine the government can claim in court to prevent evidence that could harm national security from being publicly revealed. I want to thank Senators Specter and Kennedy for their help in planning this hearing, and commend them for their work on legislation that would create uniform standards to guide courts in evaluating state secrets privilege claims. Over the past seven years, the Bush admin… Continue Reading


02.13.08

Passage Of The Intelligence Authorization Act Conference Report, Including A Provision Limiting The CIA To Interrogation Techniques Authorized In The Army Field Manual

The Senate Thursday voted to approve the Intelligence Authorization Act Conference Report, including a provision to limit the CIA to interrogation techniques authorized in the Army Field Manual. This Report contains a provision that reinforces the prohibition against our Government engaging in torture. It expressly prohibits interrogation techniques that are not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual. By passing this bill, we will not only respond to this administration's ambigu… Continue Reading


02.12.08

Stowe Elementary School

Stowe Elementary: Hello Senator, We are the Stowe Elementary School Student Council, and just like you, we were elected to our position. Sabrina would like to know who you would like to see as our new President? Sen Leahy: hi - i can see you all and i just left the Senate floor - Sabrina i am backing Barack Obama and i was just talking with him upstairsStowe Elementary: Gabriela would like to know how can the government help to stop global warming?Sen Leahy: Gabriela the govt can enter… Continue Reading


02.12.08

Judicial Confirmation Hearing

Today, the Committee holds another hearing to consider President Bush's judicial nominations. I thank Senator Feinstein for agreeing to chair this hearing. It has been especially difficult to schedule given the important matters that have been under consideration before the Senate so far this year. Indeed, the hearing had to be postponed from this morning when a series of Senate votes were scheduled on amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation. We regret the inconve… Continue Reading


02.12.08

Hearing On “Federal Cocaine Sentencing Laws: Reforming The 100:1 Crack Powder Disparity”

Today, we examine the differing penalties for crack and powder cocaine offenses and consider how best to make our drug laws more rational, more fair, and more consistent with our basic values. This Committee last held a hearing on reforming these drug penalties in 2002, when I previously served as Chairman. I thank Senator Biden for holding this important hearing before the Crime and Drugs Subcommittee. It can be another step forward in our efforts to restore public confidence in our crimina… Continue Reading


02.12.08

Senate Consideration Of FISA Legislation

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - FISA - is intended to protect both our national security and the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. This law was passed to protect the rights of Americans after the excesses of an earlier time. I had hoped that the Senate would act to improve the bill reported by the Select Committee on Intelligence. It has not. I had hoped that the Senate would incorporate improvements included in the House-passed RESTORE Act and in the bill reported by th… Continue Reading


02.11.08

The “School Safety And Law Enforcement Improvement Act”

It has now been nearly 10 months since the horrific incident at Virginia Tech resulted in the tragic deaths of 32 students and faculty members, and serious injuries to many other innocent victims. During that time, we have witnessed a barrage of new incidents involving threatening conduct and, too often, deadly acts of violence at our schools and college campuses nationwide. Just in the last few days tragedy has struck at one of our nation's high schools and on a university campus. Today's p… Continue Reading


02.11.08

Congressional Delegation Announces Funding For White River VA Expansion

(Monday, February 11) - Vermont's Congressional Delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), and Rep. Peter Welch (D) - announced today that the White River Junction VA Medical Center has been awarded $900,000 for designing a new imaging center and expanding its radiology services. The medical center will be eligible for an additional $6 million for construction next year. The funding will allow the VA to plan and design the 6,996 sq. ft. expansion and renovation to the curren… Continue Reading


02.11.08

Amendment To Strike Immunity

I strongly oppose the blanket grant of retroactive immunity in the Intelligence Committee bill. This administration violated FISA by conducting warrantless surveillance for more than five years. They got caught. If they had not, they would probably still be doing it. In the wake of the public disclosure of the President's illegal surveillance of Americans, the administration and the telephone companies are being sued by citizens who believe their privacy and constitutional rights have been v… Continue Reading


02.11.08

Amendment To Strike Immunity

I strongly oppose the blanket grant of retroactive immunity in the Intelligence Committee bill. This administration violated FISA by conducting warrantless surveillance for more than five years. They got caught. If they had not, they would probably still be doing it. In the wake of the public disclosure of the President's illegal surveillance of Americans, the administration and the telephone companies are being sued by citizens who believe their privacy and constitutional rights have been v… Continue Reading


02.11.08

Amendment 3913 On Reverse Targeting

The bill we are now considering will provide an enormous expansion of the government's ability to conduct warrantless surveillance. I support providing our intelligence agencies with the flexibility they need to surveil foreign targets that may be intending us harm, but we must be similarly vigilant in making certain that this surveillance is limited to its intended scope. I want to commend Senator Feingold in crafting an amendment that would prohibit what is known as "reverse targeting" and… Continue Reading

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