Press Room

Press Releases

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

01.29.08

Response From Attorney General Mukasey About Waterboarding

The Senate Judiciary Committee late Tuesday night received a letter from Attorney General Michael Mukasey in response to inquiries from members of the Committee about the administration's position on the legality of waterboarding. The Attorney General will testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. "This last-minute response from the Attorney General echoes what other administration officials have said about the use of waterboarding. It does not, however, answer the critical q… Continue Reading


01.28.08

Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s Prepared Testimony For The Department Of Justice Oversight Hearing

"I look forward to reviewing Attorney General Mukasey's prepared remarks and look forward to his first appearance before the Judiciary Committee since his confirmation. I hope that he is prepared to be more forthcoming in response to the questions of the Senators on the Committee than his predecessor, who left hundreds of questions unanswered and allowed the administration to exercise unchecked executive power. Attorney General Mukasey's prepared testimony did not address issues Members of the… Continue Reading


01.28.08

Senate Consideration Of The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007

"The Senate today rejected the tactics of obstructionism and delay employed by the Republican minority and the White House. In refusing to allow the entire Senate the opportunity to openly and fairly debate the important issue of amending our surveillance laws, Republicans have brought to a screeching halt the Senate's extensive efforts over the last several months to protect this country and the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans. We worked closely with this administration to make i… Continue Reading


01.28.08

Leahy Secures Funding To Protect And Restore Bethel Town Hall

(MONDAY, Jan. 28) -- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has secured more than $300,000 in the newly enacted federal budget passed by Congress and signed by the President that will help protect and restore the historic Bethel Town Hall. The federal funding will come in the form of a Save America's Treasures grant and will likely be used to complete foundation repairs and masonry work. Leahy said, "The Bethel Town Hall embodies the very identity of the close-knit community it serves. For more than a … Continue Reading


01.28.08

The Night Of President Bush’s Last State Of The Union Address

As the Bush presidency winds down, the squandered opportunities continue to pile up. By now it is clear that the President has decided to hand off many of the nation's biggest problems to his successor. I am especially concerned that one of the problems that he is deferring is bringing our troops home from Iraq. Tonight he again made clear his intention to keep Americans in the middle of that conflict and to keep sending tax dollars to Iraq on a trajectory that is headed for a trillion dollar… Continue Reading


01.28.08

Leahy Untangles USDA Red Tape, Freeing Up To $5 M. In Flood Disaster Relief For Vermont Dairy Farmers

(Monday, Jan. 28) - Senator Patrick Leahy Monday succeeded in convincing the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) to untangle red tape that was preventing Vermont dairy farmers from getting flood disaster aid approved last year by Congress. The rules change, issued today by USDA, will mean up to $5 million in additional disaster relief in Vermont. Last year, Leahy worked to make sure Vermont farmers hit by spring floods were covered in a farm disaster relief package crafted by Congress. (PL 11… Continue Reading


01.28.08

Bipartisan Coalition Of 19 Senators Makes One Last Appeal To DHS Secretary Chertoff To Limit The Damage Of Proposed New Border Requirements Set To Begin This Thursday

(Monday, Jan. 28) -- Led by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a bipartisan group of 19 senators Monday urged U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to pull the plug on new border requirements that he plans to impose beginning this Thursday. The senators - eight Democratic senators, 10 Republican senators, and one independent senator -- ask Chertoff to continue accepting oral declarations of citizenship and govern… Continue Reading


01.24.08

White House Signals Intent To Strip Critical FOIA Funds From OIGS

Move Would Run Afoul Of Newly Enacted OPEN Government Act WASHINGTON (Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says funds for the Office of Government Information Services authorized under the newly enacted OPEN Government Act will be shifted to the Department of Justice, according to White House aides. The OPEN Government Act, a new law signed by President Bush on Dec. 31, made the first real reforms to the Freedom of Information Act in more than a … Continue Reading


01.24.08

The Judiciary Committee’s Proposed Amendment To The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007, S.2248

Mr. President, I speak today in support of the Judiciary Committee's amendment to the FISA Amendments Act of 2007, which the Select Committee on Intelligence reported last fall. The Judiciary Committee amendment would make important improvements to the Intelligence Committee bill, while maintaining its structure and authority. The so-called Protect America Act was rushed through the Senate last summer in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. It was a bad bill that has provided sweeping new … Continue Reading


01.24.08

Introduction Of The Civil Rights Act Of 2008

Our great Nation was founded on the fundamental principle that all persons are created equal. We have long committed, and re-committed, ourselves to ensuring that all persons have the right to prosper through hard work and ingenuity. However, for many Americans, those rights still remain illusory. Today, we introduce a comprehensive bill to vindicate our founding principles and make the promise of equal opportunity in the workplace a reality for all Americans. I am proud to cosponsor the Ci… Continue Reading


01.24.08

The Kennedy/Leahy Inspector General Review Amendment (Am. 3862), To The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007, S. 2248

Senator Kennedy and I have offered this important amendment to ensure that there will be some measure of accountability for the unlawful actions of this administration in the years following 9/11. Regrettably, those opposing this common-sense review have so far succeeded in stopping the full Senate from even considering its merits. It is a sad day for the American public when its elected officials stonewall a measure designed to shed light on the government's efforts to unlawfully spy on i… Continue Reading


01.24.08

Leahy Presses To Add Food Stamp Component To Stimulus Package

(Thursday, January 24) - In a letter to the Senate's leadership Thursday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged inclusion of a temporary expansion of Food Stamp benefits in the economic stimulus package now under development in Congress. "A stimulus package provides an opportunity to give a boost to the economy and at the same time deliver meaningful assistance to those that will be most impacted by a possible economic downturn," Leahy wrote. Food Stamps are a key element of the safety net for… Continue Reading


01.24.08

The Feingold Amendment (Am. 3909), To The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007, S. 2248

I support Senator Feingold's amendment to provide Congress with additional materials from the FISA Court to enable Congress to conduct more effective oversight. This amendment is one of the many improvements to the Senate Intelligence bill adopted by the Judiciary Committee and included in the Judiciary Committee's substitute amendment. Regrettably, that substitute was tabled by the full Senate earlier today. But I urge Senators to reconsider their votes with respect to this simple but critic… Continue Reading


01.24.08

Leahy Sets Hearing To Examine Founding Fathers Project

(Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Feb. 7 to examine the progress of the Founding Fathers Project, which was established more than a half century ago to publish the complete, annotated writings of country's six founding fathers and make these historical treasures available to the public. The program has received criticism in recent years for its high costs, slow progress and lack of accountability. Scholars and researchers at … Continue Reading


01.24.08

Leahy Outlines Strengths Of Judiciary Committee Substitute Language

(Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday afternoon took to the Senate floor to discuss the important work of the Judiciary Committee in crafting legislation to amend the country's critical surveillance laws. The Judiciary Committee in November passed an improved version of the Intelligence Committee's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act, including measures to strengthen… Continue Reading


01.23.08

Statement On The White House Withdrawal Of The Nomination Of E. Duncan Getchell, Jr. To The 4th Circuit Court Of Appeals

"I was disappointed last September when the President chose a nominee specifically opposed by Virginia's Republican and Democratic Senators. The nomination of Duncan Getchell seemed to be an effort to pick a political fight rather than a nominee the Senate could confirm to fill a vacancy on the 4th Circuit. Now more time has been wasted and we are into the President's last year in office. With the withdrawal of Mr. Getchell's nomination, the President has another c… Continue Reading


01.23.08

“Oversight Of The Justice For All Act: Has The Justice Department Effectively Administered The Bloodsworth And Coverdell DNA Grant Programs?”

In 2000, I introduced the Innocence Protection Act , which aimed to improve the administration of justice by ensuring that defendants in the most serious cases have access to counsel and, where appropriate, access to post-conviction DNA testing necessary to prove their innocence in those cases where the system got it grievously wrong. As a former prosecutor, I saw both sides of the crisis that DNA testing had illuminated in clearing those wrongful… Continue Reading


01.17.08

DHS Secretary Chertoff’s Insistence On Demanding Birth Certificates At The Northern Border Beginning Feb. 1

[Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today (Thursday, Jan. 17) responded to a Dec. 19 letter from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Leahy had asked for the legal and practical justification for DHS's decision to require birth certificates at the Northern Border beginning Feb.1, at least 17 months before a newly enacted law allows implementation of the land-crossing phases of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). … Continue Reading


01.16.08

Delegation Announces $3.9 Million For Vermont Home Heating Assistance

BURLINGTON, January 16 - U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch announced the release of $450 million in home heating emergency funds, including $3.9 million for Vermont. As prices for home heating fuel soar to record highs this winter, Sanders has introduced legislation, cosponsored by Leahy, which would increase funding for the Low Income Home Heating Assistance Program by another $800 million. Welch introduced com… Continue Reading


01.16.08

Leahy, Conyers Ask For GAO Inquiry Into Awarding Of No-Bid Contracts By Justice Department

(Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008) - The Chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees today sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking the Comptroller General to launch an inquiry into the use, award and implementation of contracts by the Department of Justice to outside entities for the monitoring of compliance with out-of-court settlement and deferred prosecution agreements in criminal investigations. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt… Continue Reading

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