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Press Releases

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


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


A Timely Bid In Support Of Equal Pay For Equal Work

In today, the United States Senate will consider an important step toward restoring a core principle in our society: that employers should provide equal pay for equal work. Three years ago the Bush administration ignored the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's long-held interpretation of discrimination laws and court rulings across the country when it advocated a position that set back the progress made toward eliminating workplace discrimination. Unfortunately, five justices of t… Continue Reading


Senate’s Guard Leaders Press To Reduce Facilities Backlog In Stimulus Package

(January 15, 2009) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and U.S. Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), the longtime co-chairs of the Senate's National Guard Caucus, are asking Senate leaders to include $1.5 billion for military construction funding for the National Guard in the emerging economic stimulus plan. They want the funds to be used for facilities construction and renovation projects within the National Guard, including creation of new National Guard armories across the country, which serve … Continue Reading


Vermont Rivers Bill Passes Senate

(January 15) - The Senate today approved legislation that could lead to designating the Missisquoi and Trout rivers as "Wild and Scenic." The measure was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and cosponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The legislation would direct the U.S. Department of the Interior to study the two northern Vermont rivers as the first step toward adding them to the National Wild and Scenic River… Continue Reading


Opening Statement At Holder Confirmation Hearing

The election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and the President-elect's selection of Eric H. Holder Jr. to be Attorney General of the United States, provide an historic opportunity for the country to move past the partisanship of the past decades. We can make a real difference if we will come together to solve the Nation's problems, protect against serious threats, and meet the challenges of our time. Let us honor the wishes of the American people who in November broke through debilitatin… Continue Reading


Major Disaster Declaration Made As A Result Of December 11th Ice Storm

See attached PDF for more information.… Continue Reading


Leahy Questions Nominee For Secretary Of Agriculture

(January 14, 2009) - At the confirmation hearing Wednesday for President-elect Obama's choice for Secretary of Agriculture - former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack -- Senator Patrick Leahy today homed in on two of Vermont's economic priorities that will be on the desk of the next USDA Secretary: organic farming, and federal help to expand broadband access to rural communities. Leahy is a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and is leading efforts to include rural broadband expansi… Continue Reading


Updated Witness List For Holder Confirmation Hearing

An updated witness list for the confirmation hearing on the designation of Eric H. Holder Jr., to be Attorney General of the United States was released today. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. in the historic Senate Caucus Room, room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building. Witness List The Honorable John W. Warner, Former United States Senator from Virginia The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congresswoman from the District of Columbia Panel I… Continue Reading


Comments On The Report By The Inspector General And The Office Of Professional Responsibility On Allegations Of Politicized Hiring

IG/OPR Report From The Dept. of Justice On Improper Personel Actions "Today's report confirms some of our worst fears about the Bush administration's political corruption of the Justice Department. Not only did senior Republican appointees violate the law in hiring based on politics in the Civil Rights Division, they also lied about it when called to explain themselves to Congress. "I am particularly disturbed about the findings that a senior Justice Department appointee, Bradley Sch… Continue Reading


Holder Nomination Has Bipartisan Support

(Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was joined by former Senator Republican Senator John Danforth and Former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson in a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning to discuss the broad, bipartisan support for Eric H. Holder, Jr.'s nomination to be Attorney General of the United States. Danforth and Hutchinson have both endorsed Holder's nomination, and have joined a growing list of former Republican offic… Continue Reading

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