Press Room

Press Releases

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


Reaction To The White House Announcement Of Sanctions Against Employees Of The International Criminal Court

"This announcement is predictable from a President whose idea of justice is to encourage the police to abuse prisoners, pardon his friends, and override the Pentagon in cases of military justice. The White House accuses the ICC of being 'an ineffective and out-of-control international bureaucracy.' To the contrary, the ICC has successfully prosecuted some of the world's worst war criminals, and has done so judiciously and professionally. "The United States was instrumental in negotiating the… Continue Reading


Statement On Cory Wilson, Nominee To The Fifth Circuit

This morning we are scheduled to report the nomination of Cory Wilson to the Senate floor. Judge Wilson is nominated to fill the very last vacant circuit court seat in the federal judiciary. Some on this committee may consider this rapid, slap-dash rush to pack our circuit courts with President Trump's nominees a great accomplishment. But at what cost, I ask? What have we sacrificed in the process? Too much, I believe. First, the Senate has now shaped our courts-especially our appellate courts-… Continue Reading


Judiciary Democrats to Chairman Graham: Hold Hearings With Attorney General Barr

All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote Chairman Graham requesting Attorney General Barr be invited to next week's hearing on police use of force. The senators also requested a separate hearing with the attorney general to discuss the federal government's response to the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, including the decision to use tear gas and rubber bullets to remove peaceful protestors from near the White House. "Any significant hearing on police re… Continue Reading


Comment On The Introduction Of The Justice In Policing Act

Today I am joining Senators Booker and Harris, and other leaders in criminal justice and policing reform, to introduce the Justice in Policing Act. The protests that have swept our nation following the murder of yet another black man by an officer of the law have once again laid bare America's long, tragic history of systemic racial injustice. Many communities across the country have recognized that our justice system is far too often anything but just. I am proud that Vermont requires all l… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders And Welch Push IRS To Ensure All Eligible Vermonters Receive Stimulus Checks

Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) on Friday sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig demanding improvements to the Economic Impact Payment program. Delegation offices have heard from many Vermonters who are frustrated that they still have not received their payments and about the IRS's poor communication. The delegation letter asks the IRS to address late or incomplete payments, confusion around… Continue Reading


Van Hollen Leads Democratic Senators in Demand for Details, Cost of Staging Active Duty Troops in the National Capital Region

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) led a letter demanding answers from Defense Secretary Mark Esper about this week's haphazard decision-making around the transfer of 1,600 active duty troops to the National Capital Region. The Senators begin, "Earlier this week, the country watched in horror as U.S. military personnel and federal la… Continue Reading


Statement On Defending The Constitution And The Country

On Monday I watched the shameful scene a block from the White House as the President of the United States ordered U.S. Park Police, backed by the D.C. National Guard and following threats throughout the day, to use the U.S. military against peaceful American protesters so he could have his photograph taken in front of St. John's Church holding a Bible. It was an appalling, almost surreal, abuse of power that showed a flagrant disregard not only for our Constitution, but for those who have devot… Continue Reading


Letter To Department Of Defense Regarding Insurrection Act

Dear Secretary Esper and General Milley: We write to express our grave concern regarding President Trump's recent announcement that he intends to invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize active duty military personnel or federalize National Guard personnel to deploy within the United States in response to nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Under the Posse Comitatus Act, the U.S. Armed Forces are prohibited from performing law enforcement duties … Continue Reading


Leahy Unveils Legislation To Defend Power Of The Purse

(WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2020) - Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday unveiled the Congressional Power Of The Purse Act to restore Congress' constitutional authority and rein in encroachment on federal spending decisions by the Executive Branch. Leahy said: "When Congress appropriates federal dollars we expect those dollars to be used as directed. We expect appropriations laws to be upheld. And we expect the Administration to be transparent in its actions.… Continue Reading


Statement On The Killing Of George Floyd

America is hurting. Reeling from a deadly pandemic that has taken more than 100,000 lives. Witnessing the broad daylight murder of yet another black man by an officer of the law. Seething with rage and sorrow about the racial injustices that still plague our society. And suffering from unprecedented political divisions, routinely worsened and deepened by a President whose every utterance only tears us further apart. In my 45 years in the United States Senate, I have never seen our country s… Continue Reading


Comment On Consideration Of Department Of Defense Nominations

"The President's threat of using military force against protestors is a grossly inappropriate, unnecessary and dangerous escalation at a time when Americans are looking for constructive and enlightened leadership. America's power and strength derives above all not from our military might, but from the values that are at the very foundation of this country, rooted in the First Amendment of the Constitution. "Our country has a long tradition of civilian policing. It is one of the many ways our… Continue Reading


Examining Best Practices For Incarceration And Detention During COVID-19

I am glad to see the Senate Judiciary Committee finally holding an oversight hearing related to the pandemic engulfing our nation and the world. For weeks, this Committee squandered precious time on unrelated subjects and hearings - including one for a judicial seat that isn't even vacant until September. In those weeks, thousands of Americans died. Today this Committee is fulfilling its duty to conduct oversight of the Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as it impacts immig… Continue Reading


Further Comments On The Murder Of George Floyd

Marcelle and I were shocked, we were outraged, and we were saddened by the murder of George Floyd while in official custody. Everyone involved must be held accountable. Sadly this tragic death explicitly shows how far our society still has go to achieve racial, social, and economic equality. These chronic, ongoing injustices make painfully clear why advancing criminal justice and law enforcement reforms has been a priority of mine for decades in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee. And… Continue Reading


Comment On The President’s Announcement Friday Afternoon About The World Health Organization

"In a global pandemic that in 100 days has killed more Americans than died in Vietnam and Korea and is predicted to kill thousands more, we need every weapon in our arsenal. Now is the worst possible time to withdraw from the World Health Organization, which coordinates the coronavirus response and which the world depends on for expertise on everything from deadly respiratory infections to polio. Its experts include many respected U.S. scientists. Even after restricting flights from China whi… Continue Reading


Leahy And Grassley Urge Supreme Court To Continue Transparency After Pandemic

(FRIDAY, May 29, 2020) -- Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are pressing the U.S. Supreme Court to make permanent the live audio access to oral arguments it has adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they further asked the Court to allow live video coverage of its proceedings. Leahy and Grassley also noted that the vast majority of Americans support audio and video access to our nation's justice system. "Given this widespread support for access to our nation's highe… Continue Reading


Leahy Is Part Of A Group Of Bipartisan Lawmakers Calling On Administration To Ensure Benefits To Guard Members Earned On COVID-19 Front Lines

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is among a bipartisan group of 125 Senate and House lawmakers who Friday sent a letter to President Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor, calling on the administration to ensure National Guard personnel who are serving on the front lines of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) response efforts across the nation receive the federal benefits they have earned. Leahy… Continue Reading


Leahy, Schumer And Reed Press For Answers On Semiconductor Announcement

(WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been joined by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in sending an oversight letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in support of developing the ability to produce advanced microelectronics in the United States, and asking for answers from the Administration about any U.S. Government incentives offered to Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) to announce opening a semiconductor f… Continue Reading


DHS Inspector General to Examine ICE Detention Facility COVID-19 Policies and Practices

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) released a letter announcing that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) will conduct a review of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) efforts to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities. Following reports that ICE detention facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were operating without processes to protect both staff and detainees such as providing protective gear, ensuring detainees have acces… Continue Reading


Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Leahy REAX On House Passage Of The Heroes Act

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 86,000 lives in our country. More than 36 million people have filed for unemployment, and at 14.7 percent the unemployment rate is the highest it has been since the Great Depression. And yet, Leader McConnell claims there is no urgency to act. I strongly disagree. House Democrats have put forward a strong proposal that provides assistance to struggling families, supports state and local governments, funds a responsible testing program, and recog… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch And Scott: Vermont To Receive $55 Million For COVID-19 Testing Efforts

(FRIDAY, May 15, 2020) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), Representative Peter Welch (D), and Governor Phil Scott (R) Friday announced that the State of Vermont will receive $55,078,471 from the federal government to support COVID-19 testing, including $3.9 million in funding specifically to support testing at community health centers throughout the state. The funds are a part of the $25 billion for COVID-19 testing funding and strategy included in the Paycheck Protection… Continue Reading

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