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Press Releases

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

03.19.08

Leahy Secures Funds To Jump-Start Quadricentennial Events

(WEDNESDAY, March 19) -- As communities from throughout the Champlain Valley gathered Wednesday at a workshop to continue planning for next year's 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's historic 1609 Lake Champlain voyage, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he has secured nearly $400,000 in National Park Service funding to help jump start the commemoration. Of that total, Leahy has secured $250,000 to be coordinated by the Lake Champlain Basin Program -- some of which will go to supp… Continue Reading


03.19.08

Judiciary Committee Chairman Schedules Homeland Security Oversight Hearing

(Wednesday, March 19, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the next in a series of oversight hearings this year when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff testifies before the Committee on Wednesday, April 2, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today. Chertoff is expected to field questions about backlogs in naturalization applications at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Iraqi refugee resettlement, and immigration detention practices. Leahy h… Continue Reading


03.14.08

A Ray of Hope On The Horizon For FOIA

This year's Sunshine Week brings new rays of hope for the public's right to know. The first reform to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade is newly on the books, and increasing government transparency is becoming a greater part of public debate and discussion. With last year's enactment of the bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government ("OPEN Government") Act, Congress signaled an interest in seeking more openness … Continue Reading


03.14.08

House Passage Of Legislation To Amend The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007

"I commend the House of Representatives for passing its amendment to the Senate's FISA Amendments Act of 2007. It is a step forward, and a good bill. The Senate-passed legislation has a number of serious failings and does not adequately protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. The House bill adds several crucial protections without interfering in any way with this important new surveillance authority. "For the last month, the House has worked with Democratic Senators, and House… Continue Reading


03.14.08

A Ray of Hope On The Horizon For FOIA Op-Ed

By Sens. Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn This year's Sunshine Week brings new rays of hope for the public's right to know. The first reform to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade is newly on the books, and increasing government transparency is becoming a greater part of public debate and discussion. With last year's enactment of the bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government ("OPEN Government") Act, Congress signaled … Continue Reading


03.14.08

Leahy, Bond, Davis And Taylor Launch Follow-On National Guard Empowerment Effort

(Friday, March 14) -- A bipartisan and bicameral team of Congressional leaders on National Guard issues Thursday launched a new phase of their efforts to empower the Guard for its modern-day missions. By clearing away bureaucratic cobwebs in the Defense Department's organizational structure, they hope to improve decision making on homeland defense issues that involve the Guard. U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and U.S. Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) yeste… Continue Reading


03.13.08

The Inspector General’s Report On FBI Abuses Of National Security Letters

"Last week, the FBI Director previewed and soft-pedaled the Inspector General's report on National Security Letters released this morning. It outlines more abuses and what appears to be the improper use of National Security Letters for years in a systemic failure throughout the FBI. In addition to the violations of law we examined last year, this new IG report suggests that the FBI mirrors the rest of the Bush administration in seeking to avoid accountability by providing itself blanket authori… Continue Reading


03.13.08

the introduction of the “Federal Judgeship Act of 2008”

(Thursday, March 13, 2008) - Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today introduced legislation designed to ease caseloads for Federal judges by adding new seats at the Federal district and circuit court levels. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced the Federal Judgeship Act of 2008 to help lighten the caseload of sitting Federal judges. The bill is the first comprehensive judgeships legislation in nearly 20 ye… Continue Reading


03.13.08

House Consideration Of FISA Legislation

I commend the House of Representatives for debating its Amendment to the Senate's FISA Amendments Act of 2007. This is a step forward and a good bill. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 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. The FISA Amendments Act of 2007 that passed the Senate had a number of serious failings and did not adequate… Continue Reading


03.13.08

SA 4270, an amendment to create a reserve fund to provide for the timely adjudication of naturalization applications and FBI name checks

The well publicized naturalization backlog that the Administration has allowed to build up over the last year threatens not just to deprive hundreds of thousands of people the right to participate in the upcoming Federal elections, but it has undermined the legitimate expectations of those who have followed the law that their government will function as it is intended. The related issue of a backlog at the FBI in completing security name checks in connection with naturalization applications no… Continue Reading


03.13.08

S. Con. Res. 70, The Budget Resolution

Mr. President, I will support the Senate Budget Resolution brought to the Senate by the Budget Committee and Chairman Conrad. This budget continues the long process that the new Congress started last year to restore fiscal responsibility and order to our federal budget. I commend Chairman Conrad and his colleagues on the Budget Committee for producing a responsible Budget Resolution that strives to meet the real needs of the American people and to optimize our Nation's most pressing challenges… Continue Reading


03.13.08

The Introduction Of The State Foreign Investment Improvement Act

(Thursday, March 13, 2008) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this week introduced legislation to make permanent a program that has attracted millions of dollars in direct foreign investment and created hundreds of new jobs for Vermont. Leahy's legislation would also strengthen the Regional Center pilot program at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Regional Center pilot program was first created in 1993 and allows a regional governmental agency or private entity within a s… Continue Reading


03.13.08

Introduction Of The National Guard Empowerment And State-National Defense Integration Act Of 2008

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today I am pleased again to join my friend and colleague Senator Kit Bond of Missouri in bringing to the Senate another matter of importance to the missions of the National Guard and to the dedicated men and women of the Guard who perform these missions. Today we are introducing the National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act of 2008. We introduce this legislation on behalf of the 91-member U.S. Senate National Guard Caucus, which we co-chair… Continue Reading


03.12.08

Senate Patent Reform Leaders Release Amendments In Advance Of Patent Reform Debate

(Wednesday, March 12, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee members today released more than a dozen possible amendments to important patent reform legislation awaiting consideration in the Senate. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Committee Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), have been working for months with a bipartisan coalition of senators in preparation of floor consideration of the Patent Reform Act, which would make the first refo… Continue Reading


03.12.08

Introduction Of The OPEN FOIA Act of 2008

(Wednesday, March 12, 2008) - As Sunshine Week nears, open-government leaders Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) Wednesday introduced their latest tandem effort to peel back the curtains on government secrecy and further strengthen the nation's primary open government law, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Their new bill would add new transparency and accountability standards when Congress considers adding new FOIA exemptions to the law. The OPEN FOIA Act would requir… Continue Reading


03.12.08

H.R. 1593, The Second Chance Act of 2007

(Wednesday, March 12, 2008) - The Senate last night unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to give Federal, state and local governments additional tools to help inmates more successfully reintegrate into their communities upon release. The Recidivism Reduction and Second Chance Act was introduced in the Senate by Judiciary Committee members Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and co-sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specte… Continue Reading


03.12.08

Senate Committee on Rules & Administration Hearing on: “In-Person Voter Fraud: Myth and Trigger For Disenfranchisement?

(Wednesday, March 12, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) testified today before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration about voter disenfranchisement stemming from purported voter fraud claims. Last Congress, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees held more than 20 hearings to examine the reauthorization of the historic 1957 Voting Rights Act, which was later passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. Under Leahy's chairmanship, the Jud… Continue Reading


03.11.08

Draft Proposal From The House On Reforms To FISA

"After several meetings and months of debate, House leaders have crafted a bill that would provide effective tools to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence, as well as crucial protections for the civil liberties of all Americans. I commend House leaders for their efforts to bring Democrats and Republicans of both chambers, as well as the administration, to the table to discuss these reforms. "We have heard President Bush repeatedly claim that his administration's warrantless wiretapping… Continue Reading


03.11.08

Appropriations Committee Hearing, Waste, Fraud And Abuse In Iraq Reconstruction

Chairman Byrd is unable to be here today but we will include his opening statement in the record. He has been a strong voice for accountability of our assistance programs in Iraq. Senator Byrd is anxious to get back to work and we expect to see him very soon. Over the past several years this Committee has heard testimony on the President's budget requests for billions of dollars for Iraq reconstruction. The Appropriations Committee is the only regulator on the spigot this Administration opened… Continue Reading


03.11.08

The New Policy From The Department Of Justice On Selection And Use Of Corporate Monitors

(Tuesday, March 11, 2008) -- The Justice Department yesterday issued new guidelines for the awarding of contracts to firms that monitor compliance with out-of-court settlements and deferred prosecution agreements in criminal investigations. The new policies come more than two months after press reports signaled that the Justice Department was awarding no-bid contracts to former Justice Department officials, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft's firm. Senate Judiciary Committee Chai… Continue Reading

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