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


Leahy Holds Hearing On Protecting American’s Health Privacy

(Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning held a hearing to examine ways to protect American's personal privacy as the country moves towards a national health information technology system. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has worked to secure privacy protections in health care reform legislation, and introduced legislation in the last Congress to strengthen privacy protections in health IT. Leahy's full statement follows. Witness testimony and a live webca… Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter - January 26, 2009

An Historic Day,Seen Through Senator Leahy's Lens On January 20, 2009, almost two million people came to the Nation's Capital for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Millions more watched across the country, and perhaps billions more watched across the globe. Many Vermonters came to Washington, braving the crowds and cold, but every Vermonter now owns a piece of that history-making day, just as every Vermonter is a stakeholder in the decisions their new government will be making … Continue Reading


Leahy Helps Steer Vermont Priorities Onto Legislative Track As Senate Appropriations Committee Sets TUESDAY Markup On Stimulus Package

(MONDAY, Jan. 26) -- The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow morning (Tuesday) to finish writing and to begin voting on the Senate's version of the economic stimulus spending package. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the panel's third most senior member, has worked to include funding for a long list of investments important to Vermont. Leahy earlier this year released letters in which he spelled out his priorities for the package, which closely track the bill … Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Bill To Strengthen Violence Against Women Act

(Monday, Jan. 26, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation Monday to strengthen the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Improving Assistance to Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims Act will help address the needs of the growing number of domestic violence victims. "With these important changes to the Violence Against Women Act, Congress will ensure that the law is as effective and strong as it was intended to be and that it can meet… Continue Reading


FOIA, Disclosure Policies Get Boost Early In New Year

(Monday, Jan. 26) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday praised two key breakthroughs this past week to strengthen the public's right to know and promote openness in government and government-funded projects. On Monday, the Board of Regents for the Smithsonian Institution, of which Leahy is a member, adopted a public disclosure policy for information requests. Because the Smithsonian is not an executive agency, it is not subject to the disclosure policies in… Continue Reading


Comments On Funding For Law Enforcement Efforts In The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009

The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, January 27, 2009, to consider the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed including funding for critical federal grant programs to assist state and local law enforcement in combating crime in our neighborhoods and increase assistance for crime victims. The Appropriation… Continue Reading


Vermont Health Care Reform Commission Director To Testify Before Leahy Panel

(Monday, Jan. 26, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will chair a hearing Tuesday to examine how to best implement privacy protections in electronic health information systems. Leahy has invited James Hester, the Director of the Vermont Health Care Reform Commission, to testify at Tuesday's hearing. Hester leads Vermont's public-private partnership that is charged with developing Vermont's statewide electronic health information system. The Commission was… Continue Reading


Comment On Higher-Efficiency Emissions Standards Sought By California, Vermont And Other States

In his first full week in office President Obama already is taking tangible steps to end the Bush Administration's standstill policies on energy and the environment. The previous administration blocked California, Vermont and 15 other states from implementing new greenhouse gas emission standards, even though career EPA officials supported the states. President Obama now has issued a new science-based review of the states' petition that I am confident will allow these states to take sen… Continue Reading


Senate Passes Leahy-Backed Fair Pay Act

(Friday, Jan. 23, 2009) - A bill backed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to help protect workers from pay discrimination passed the Senate Thursday night, despite several attempts to weaken the legislation. Leahy was one of 54 Senators to introduce the legislation two weeks ago. Efforts to pass the bill in the last Congress were stalled by Senate Republicans. The bill passed Thursday addresses a 2007 Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire which ruled that workers have only 18… Continue Reading


Comment On President Obama’s Decision To Reverse The ‘Mexico City’ Policy

"President Obama has lifted a counterproductive and discriminatory policy that harms many and helps no one. This will enable us to help women space births and reduce infant mortality, while preventing abortions, unwanted pregnancies and pregnancy-related deaths, without a single taxpayer dollar being used for abortion. I hope this first step leads to a broader strategy to improve living standards in the world's poorest regions through family planning, maternal and child health care, and … Continue Reading


Leahy Makes Selection For Vermont’s Next U.S. Attorney

(FRIDAY, Jan. 23) -- U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is recommending Hinesburg attorney Tristram J. Coffin to President Obama to be Vermont's next U.S. Attorney. Coffin, 45, would be the 36th United States Attorney in Vermont's history, managing the U.S. Department of Justice's U.S. Attorney offices in Burlington and Rutland and overseeing the work of nearly 20 attorneys who represent the United States in criminal and civil investigations and litigation in Vermont. "Tris Coffin is a perf… Continue Reading


Comment On Department Of Justice Appointees

The White House announced four nominations for Assistant Attorneys General at the Department of Justice: David Kris for the National Security Division, Lanny A. Breuer for the Criminal Division, Christine A. Varney for the Antitrust Division, and Tony West for the Civil Division. "President Obama understands the importance of moving forward to fill top leadership posts at the Department of Justice. We cannot delay in revitalizing the critical functions of the Department needed to protec… Continue Reading


Statement On President Obama’s New Memorandum On The Freedom Of Information Act

MR. PRESIDENT. From the start of his transition to the White House, I have urge President Obama to make a clear commitment to open government. By issuing his directive to strengthen one of our Nation's most important open government laws, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the President is turning the page and moving away from the overreaching secrecy of the last administration. I commend President Obama for recognizing that our government is accountable to the people it represents… Continue Reading


Comments On Executive Orders Related To Detainees

"As I have urged, President Obama has not lost a day in seeking to restore America to our place as a world leader in championing human rights. These executive orders add to his actions yesterday in making good on his promise to 'reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.' "President Obama's new executive orders are important steps toward bringing to an end some of the Bush administration's most damaging national security policies. These orders require the detention… Continue Reading


Comment On 111th Congress Committee Membership

(Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009) - The Senate Wednesday night approved organizing resolutions establishing Committee memberships for the 111th Congress. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reacted to the announcement that three Senators would become new members of the Committee. The Committee will be comprised of 11 Democrats and eight Republicans. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will join the Committee. Leaving … Continue Reading


Comment On President Obama’s New FOIA Policy

"From the start of his transition to the White House, President Obama has made a clear commitment to open government. By issuing this order to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, and ensure the American people have a more transparent government, he is turning the page and moving away from the secrecy of the last administration. I commend President Obama for recognizing that our government is accountable to the people it represents." # # # # #… Continue Reading


Judiciary Committee Republicans Hold Over Attorney General Nomination

(Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expressed disappointment Wednesday when Committee Republicans requested a one week delay in the consideration of the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. to be the next Attorney General of the United States. Holder's designation was announced on December 1, 2008, more than seven weeks ago. The Committee held two days of hearings on the historic nomination last week, and over the weekend, Holder responded … Continue Reading


Statement On Hillary Rodham Clinton's Confirmation As Secretary Of State

MR. LEAHY. Mr. President, on this first day after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, it is a great pleasure to speak in support of the confirmation of my friend and colleague, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be our next Secretary of State. Secretary-designee Clinton's stature, intellect and experience make her uniquely qualified to take on this role, which comes at a critical time in the history of our country. As Chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the State… Continue Reading


Capturing The Moment In An Image

On the Tuesday a week before his inauguration, Barack Obama came to his last meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus before becoming president. There, a few steps from the Senate Chamber, in the historic Mansfield Room, he met with all of the Senate's Democratic members, just as we meet together each week to discuss the most pressing policy issues on the nation's agenda. But this meeting was special, and attendance - and attention - was especially keen this time. The problems the nation… Continue Reading


Leahy Notices Committee Meeting To Vote On Holder Nomination

(Friday, Jan. 16, 2009) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), in consultation with Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), has scheduled a Committee vote on the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr., to be the Attorney General of the United States. The Judiciary Committee Friday concluded the second and final day of hearings on the nomination. January 16, 2009 An Executive Business Meeting has been scheduled by the Committee on the Judiciary for Wednesday,… Continue Reading

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