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


Leahy, Bond, Davis And Taylor Launch Follow-On National Guard Empowerment Effort

(Friday, March 14) -- A bipartisan and bicameral team of Congressional leaders on National Guard issues Thursday launched a new phase of their efforts to empower the Guard for its modern-day missions. By clearing away bureaucratic cobwebs in the Defense Department's organizational structure, they hope to improve decision making on homeland defense issues that involve the Guard. U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and U.S. Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) yeste… Continue Reading


The Inspector General’s Report On FBI Abuses Of National Security Letters

"Last week, the FBI Director previewed and soft-pedaled the Inspector General's report on National Security Letters released this morning. It outlines more abuses and what appears to be the improper use of National Security Letters for years in a systemic failure throughout the FBI. In addition to the violations of law we examined last year, this new IG report suggests that the FBI mirrors the rest of the Bush administration in seeking to avoid accountability by providing itself blanket authori… Continue Reading


the introduction of the “Federal Judgeship Act of 2008”

(Thursday, March 13, 2008) - Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today introduced legislation designed to ease caseloads for Federal judges by adding new seats at the Federal district and circuit court levels. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced the Federal Judgeship Act of 2008 to help lighten the caseload of sitting Federal judges. The bill is the first comprehensive judgeships legislation in nearly 20 ye… Continue Reading


House Consideration Of FISA Legislation

I commend the House of Representatives for debating its Amendment to the Senate's FISA Amendments Act of 2007. This is a step forward and a good bill. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is intended to protect both our national security and the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. This law was passed to protect the rights of Americans after the excesses of an earlier time. The FISA Amendments Act of 2007 that passed the Senate had a number of serious failings and did not adequate… Continue Reading


SA 4270, an amendment to create a reserve fund to provide for the timely adjudication of naturalization applications and FBI name checks

The well publicized naturalization backlog that the Administration has allowed to build up over the last year threatens not just to deprive hundreds of thousands of people the right to participate in the upcoming Federal elections, but it has undermined the legitimate expectations of those who have followed the law that their government will function as it is intended. The related issue of a backlog at the FBI in completing security name checks in connection with naturalization applications no… Continue Reading


S. Con. Res. 70, The Budget Resolution

Mr. President, I will support the Senate Budget Resolution brought to the Senate by the Budget Committee and Chairman Conrad. This budget continues the long process that the new Congress started last year to restore fiscal responsibility and order to our federal budget. I commend Chairman Conrad and his colleagues on the Budget Committee for producing a responsible Budget Resolution that strives to meet the real needs of the American people and to optimize our Nation's most pressing challenges… Continue Reading


The Introduction Of The State Foreign Investment Improvement Act

(Thursday, March 13, 2008) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this week introduced legislation to make permanent a program that has attracted millions of dollars in direct foreign investment and created hundreds of new jobs for Vermont. Leahy's legislation would also strengthen the Regional Center pilot program at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Regional Center pilot program was first created in 1993 and allows a regional governmental agency or private entity within a s… Continue Reading


Introduction Of The National Guard Empowerment And State-National Defense Integration Act Of 2008

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today I am pleased again to join my friend and colleague Senator Kit Bond of Missouri in bringing to the Senate another matter of importance to the missions of the National Guard and to the dedicated men and women of the Guard who perform these missions. Today we are introducing the National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act of 2008. We introduce this legislation on behalf of the 91-member U.S. Senate National Guard Caucus, which we co-chair… Continue Reading


Senate Patent Reform Leaders Release Amendments In Advance Of Patent Reform Debate

(Wednesday, March 12, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee members today released more than a dozen possible amendments to important patent reform legislation awaiting consideration in the Senate. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Committee Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), have been working for months with a bipartisan coalition of senators in preparation of floor consideration of the Patent Reform Act, which would make the first refo… Continue Reading


Introduction Of The OPEN FOIA Act of 2008

(Wednesday, March 12, 2008) - As Sunshine Week nears, open-government leaders Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) Wednesday introduced their latest tandem effort to peel back the curtains on government secrecy and further strengthen the nation's primary open government law, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Their new bill would add new transparency and accountability standards when Congress considers adding new FOIA exemptions to the law. The OPEN FOIA Act would requir… Continue Reading


H.R. 1593, The Second Chance Act of 2007

(Wednesday, March 12, 2008) - The Senate last night unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to give Federal, state and local governments additional tools to help inmates more successfully reintegrate into their communities upon release. The Recidivism Reduction and Second Chance Act was introduced in the Senate by Judiciary Committee members Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and co-sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specte… Continue Reading


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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