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Press Releases

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

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


03.09.08

Leahy Among Senators Saying ‘NOPEC' To OPEC And Joins In Calling On Bush To Deploy Reserve To Lower Oil Prices

Sen. Patrick Leahy has introduced bipartisan legislation to allow the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to file antitrust lawsuits against foreign states - such as members of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) - for price fixing and other anticompetitive activities. High oil import costs this year have driven up gasoline prices and home heating oil costs for Vermonters and others this winter. Leahy (D-Vt.), along with Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Herb K… Continue Reading


03.08.08

The President’s Veto Of The Intelligence Authorization Act

"It is not surprising, given the sad and destructive history of this administration, that President Bush has vetoed the Intelligence Authorization bill over a provision that would reempha that waterboarding and other forms of torture are illegal. It is, however, deeply disappointing. "As I have said all along, the provision adopted by both the Senate and House of Representatives was not needed to outlaw waterboarding or other forms of torture. Such techniques are already clearly illegal. H… Continue Reading


03.07.08

Leahy: Commission On Civil Rights Approves Vermont State Charter

(Friday, March 7, 2008) - More than a year after a majority of its members were forced to step down, the charter for Vermont's state advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has been approved, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday. In January, Leahy sent a letter to the Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, seeking answers why the charters for Vermont and 37 other states had not yet been approved, and urging the Commission to swiftly renew the expired state charters… Continue Reading


03.07.08

Oil Prices, OPEC, And The “NOPEC” Bill

(Friday, March 7, 2008) - This week, for the second time this year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rejected appeals from President Bush to increase its supplies of oil ("President Fails To Budge OPEC On Production," NYT, March 6, p.1A). The President had even traveled to Saudi Arabia in January to make the request. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), took the Senate Floor Friday to call on the President to finally end his opposi… Continue Reading


03.06.08

Executive Business Meeting On Judicial And Executive Nominations

(Thursday, March 6, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday voted to report seven of President Bush's nominations to the full Senate for consideration, making progress in filling vacancies on the Federal bench and in the Department of Justice, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said today. Three executive nominations, including that of the Associate Attorney General, the third highest position in the Department of Justice, were passed unanimously by the Committee. Additionally, four nomina… Continue Reading


03.06.08

Judiciary Committee Passes Bill To Protect Public Safety In Secret Court Settlements

(Thursday, March 6, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved legislation authored by Committee Member Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and sponsored by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Member Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) to prohibit courts from shielding important health and safety information from the public as part of legal proceedings against corporations. The bipartisan "Sunshine in Litigation Act" was prompted by dozens of cases in which hazards and threats to public health were not … Continue Reading


03.06.08

Leahy, Specter Urge Senate Action On Media Shield Bill

(Thursday, March 6, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today urged party leaders to schedule floor consideration of legislation to enact a qualified federal media shield law, which has been stalled in the Senate since last year. The Free Flow of Information Act was favorably reported to the Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 4, 2007. Leahy and Specter sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minorit… Continue Reading


03.06.08

Committee Approves Legislation Allowing Cameras In The Courtroom

(Thursday, March 6, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday passed legislation to provide the public with more access inside their Federal courtrooms. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a long time supporter of government transparency, helped to usher the bill through the Committee. Federal courts lag behind all 50 state judiciaries, which have all allowed some form of audio or video coverage of court proceedings. Many Americans are unable to travel to witness some of the most important … Continue Reading


03.06.08

The Vitter Amendment #4097 To The “CPSC Reform Act”

Senator Vitter has submitted an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act that would discourage State Attorneys General from bringing enforcement actions against those who violate consumer product safety regulations. This amendment goes even further than the Cornyn amendment that we voted on last night to gut the enforcement provisions in the bill. The Pryor-Stevens legislation wisely gives State Attorneys General the power to protect their citizens from harmful pro… Continue Reading


03.05.08

The Cornyn Amendment #4094 To The “CPSC Reform Act”

I understand that an amendment is pending to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act we are considering that would tie the hands of State Attorneys General who seek to protect their citizens from harmful products. I applaud the efforts of Senator Pryor for including in this legislation the power for State Attorneys General to enforce consumer product safety violations. We should not gut that important enforcement provision by immunizing corporate bad actors for the reasonable … Continue Reading


03.05.08

Hearing On Oversight Of The Federal Bureau Of Investigation

(Wednesday, March 5, 2008) - Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) held a hearing on oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, testified before the Committee for the first time since March 2007. The hearing is the fourth oversight hearing held by the Judiciary Committee this year, including an important Department of Justice oversight hearing in January at which Attorney General Michael Mukasey testified. Below is Leahy… Continue Reading


03.04.08

State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Hearing On Fiscal Year 2009 USAID Budget Request

Good afternoon. This is the first hearing of this subcommittee this year. Senator Gregg and I share a strong interest in ensuring that our foreign aid dollars are used wisely. There have been many examples of when they have been, and many examples of when they have not been. Iraq comes to mind as one example of how not to do it. If USAID had been listened to earlier I think there would have been a lot less money wasted. The Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Iraq reconstr… Continue Reading


03.04.08

Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing On The DHS Fiscal Year 2009 Budget

Questions of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing On The FY 2009 DHS Budget Request Tuesday, March 4, 2008 BORDER STAFFING The Northern Border has been chronically understaffed for years, and we saw tremendous backups at our border crossings during last summer's tourist season - sometimes hours of unnecessary wait time - because DHS lacked the workforce to open every lane. I am very concerned that in addition to implementation of the Wester… Continue Reading


03.03.08

Judicial Nominations

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I would apologize for the lack of judicial nominations on the Executive Calendar but for the fact that is has been the refusal of Republicans to cooperate this year in reporting out nominations that has lead to the current circumstance. The fact is that we concluded last session by confirming each and every judicial nomination that was reported out of the Judiciary Committee. None were carried over into this new year. And despite my efforts in February, when the Judi… Continue Reading


03.03.08

The Nomination Of Mark Filip To Be Deputy Attorney General

Today we continue the process of rebuilding the integrity and independence of the Justice Department by confirming the nomination of Mark R. Filip to be the new Deputy Attorney General, the number two position at the Department of Justice, who acts as the Attorney General in the absence of the Attorney General. Regrettably, this important nomination has been stalled for over a month due to the bad faith of the Bush-Cheney administration in failing to process Democratic recommendations to indep… Continue Reading


02.29.08

Statement On Oil Prices

In April 2004, when American consumers were paying $1.78 per gallon at the pump, I warned that energy experts were "predicting that the price of gas may rise to $2.50 or $3.00 per gallon." The administration did nothing. Last October, when American consumers were paying $2.87 per gallon at the pump, I warned that "oil may be on its way to over $100 a barrel." The administration did nothing. This week, oil reached a record $102 a barrel, and gas prices averaged $3.13 a gallon. How much will… Continue Reading

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