Press Room

Press Releases

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


Patent Reform Legislation

"I am disappointed that just a handful of words have stalled the Senate's debate on this important patent legislation. We have been working on these reforms for years. Thousands of hours have been spent in negotiations to address the concerns of 100 Senators, hundreds of Representatives, and dozens of stakeholders. This was a missed opportunity. "I have said repeatedly that the time for patent reform is now. Unfortunately, some have yet to fully grasp this fact, and have stalled meaningful r… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Democrats Press Mukasey On Discrimination Case

(Wednesday, April 9, 2008) - Responding to press reports about the dismissal of a Department of Justice attorney, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking that he ensure that Department of Justice managers are aware of laws and policies against discrimination and intimidation. Recent media reports have suggested Leslie Hagen, a Department attorney and the liaison with the U.S. Attorney's Committee on Native American Issues fr… Continue Reading


State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Hearing on FY 2009 Budget Request

Madam Secretary, we appreciate you being here. This is the last time you will appear before us and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your service. While we have had some strong disagreements with this Administration's handling of foreign policy, you have always been willing to discuss those differences with us. You and your staff have also been helpful on issues when there was a problem and we needed the added weight your office brings. I also want to take this opportunity - o… Continue Reading


Westford School

Sen Leahy: It has been a crazy day here but i have been looking forward to being with you - how's Vermont today? Westford School: Sunny and a little warmer Sen Leahy: I wish i was home! Westford School: May we send our first question? Sen Leahy: please do Westford School: Jeff- What are your views on the rights to own a gun? Sen Leahy: Jeff i own many guns at my home in Vermont - i even have a makeshift pistol range in back of my house. I do not believe felons should own them Westford… Continue Reading


Vermont Congressional Delegation Objects To General Petraeus’ Call For Open-Ended U.S. Role In Iraq

(Tuesday, April 8) -- The members of Vermont's Congressional Delegation - U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) -- Tuesday renewed their support for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and disagreed with Gen. David Petraeus' call for freezing troop levels in Iraq and for keeping the door open to U.S. involvement in the Iraq conflict for the foreseeable future. General Petraeus is testifying this week before the Senate and House Armed … Continue Reading


“The Adequacy Of Representation In Capital Cases”

I thank Senator Feingold and the Subcommittee on the Constitution for holding this hearing on such an important issue for the Committee and for the country. Senator Feingold has worked for many years with me and others to try to ensure that our criminal justice system reflects the fairness and protections that our Founders intended. In 2000, I introduced the Innocence Protection Act , which aimed to improve the administration of justice by ensuring that defendants in the most serious cases hav… Continue Reading


EPA Grants $1 Million For Vermont Cleanup

, April 7 - The Vermont congressional delegation announced $1 million in federal grants for Vermont to clean up brownfields. The program helps communities remove hazardous substances and clear the way for redevelopment of sites like former gasoline stations, dry cleaners, and industrial sites. Senator Patrick Leahy, a senior member of the Interior Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, said, "Everyone benefits when underused property can be converted back into an economic asset for the … Continue Reading


Leahy, Specter Push For Inclusion Of Hagen Case In IG-OPR Investigation

(Friday, April 4, 2008) - The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee today sought confirmation that the Department of Justice Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) are examining the case of a former Department attorney, whose dismissal, according to press reports, may have been due to her sexual orientation rather than job performance. The Inspector General and OPR are conducting a far-reaching investigation of improper hiring and firing pra… Continue Reading


Judicial Nominations

(Thursday, April 3, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday acted on yet another judicial nomination and also briefly set aside extended debate about judicial nominations to approve key legislation to help Americans facing foreclosures in the current mortgage crisis. The panel's chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), had pushed for action on the nomination as well as on an ambitious legislative agenda at Thursday's committee voting session, after too few members had materialized for quor… Continue Reading


Repression In Tibet

MR. LEAHY. I want to take a few minutes to speak about the situation in Tibet, which has captured the world's attention in recent days and weeks. For those of us who have visited Tibet, as I did in 1988, and for millions of people here and abroad, the press reports of Chinese police officers arresting and beating Tibetan protesters, and of Tibetans destroying the property of Han Chinese, are deplorable. Estimates of the number of protesters killed have ranged from 13 to 140, and more … Continue Reading


Iraqi Refugees Resettle in Vermont

MR. LEAHY. At a time when we are all concerned with the fate of Iraqi refugees and the need to help as many of them as possible resettle in safe havens, I ask unanimous consent that a March 24, 2008, article in the Brattleboro Reformer entitled "Difficult choices: Son's birth deepens couple's concern over future", be printed in the Record. This article illustrates what Vermonters are doing to help two Iraqi refugees, Revan Hedo and Aseel Pola, who recently gave birth to Brattleboro, Vermont'… Continue Reading


Hearing On Oversight Of The Department Of Homeland Security

(Wednesday, April 2, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee today held a hearing on oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Chertoff fielded questions from Senators about backlogs in naturalization applications at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the REAL ID Act, and immigration detention practices. Secretary Chertoff last testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 28, 2007. Earlier this year, the Committee held hearings on oversight of the Depar… Continue Reading


Judicial Nominations

As I listened yesterday to the partisan rhetoric we continue to hear from Senate Republicans on nominations, I am disappointed that the Republican leader is ignoring the Majority Leader's statement from last May 10. Today is April Fools Day. I do not think the American people are fooled or amused by continued partisan bickering over nominations. Indeed, with a massive subprime mortgage crisis that has left so many Americans in dire straights, fearful of losing their homes, the Republican effort… Continue Reading


Executive Nominations

We are finally in a position to complete our consideration of the nomination of Kevin O'Connor to be Associate Attorney General, the number 3 position at the Department. This nomination was cleared by the Democrats and set to be confirmed before our Easter Recess until it was blocked by a last-minute anonymous Republican hold along with the nomination of Gregory Katsas to be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division. I was particularly disappointed with this unexpected dev… Continue Reading


The Declassification Of Memos From The Office Of Legal Counsel

"It has been more than four months since I asked the White House - again - to declassify the secret Justice Department opinions on interrogation practices. Today's declassification of one such memo is a small step forward, but in no way fulfills those requests. The administration continues to shield several memos even from members of Congress. The memo they have declassified today reflects the expansive view of executive power that has been the hallmark of this administration. It is no wonde… Continue Reading


Consideration Of S.980, The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act Of 2007

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today the Senate will pass by unanimous consent S.980, the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act. This is an important bill that would create potent new tools for law enforcement to prosecute those who illegally sell drugs online, and allow state authorities to shut down online pharmacies even before they get started. I thank Senator Feinstein and Senator Sessions for their commitment to combating illicit drug trafficking by online predators. Through … Continue Reading


The Final DHS Rule On Passport Requirements For Land And Sea Crossings Under The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

[The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Thursday published its final rule on implementation of new passport and documentation rules for land and sea crossings at U.S. borders, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is the principal author (with Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska) of a law enacted in December that mandates postponement of passport requirements from January 31, 2008 to June 1, 2009, or until seven conditions in the Leahy-Stevens Amendmen… Continue Reading


Audit Of Department Of Justice Key Indicators

"The Inspector General's findings echo the concerns I and others in Congress have been raising for years. Nearly half of the reporting components at the Department failed to fully and accurately report data on the Department's performance in such key areas as countering terrorism and cyber crime and enforcing civil rights. "The inability of the Justice Department to provide complete information for their own internal audit leads again to concern about the quality of information the Department… Continue Reading


The Release Of The 2008 Housing And Wage Report: “Between A Rock And A Hard Place”

"Finding an affordable place to call home in Vermont has only become more difficult this past year. A national mortgage crisis combined with an increase in oil costs has put even more pressure on Vermonters looking to own a home or find a place to rent. This year's update to 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place' shows that we need to continue focusing on developing truly affordable housing and ensuring that Vermonters are making livable wages."… Continue Reading


Leahy, Specter Call For DOJ Investigation Into Passport Data Breach At State Department

(Tuesday, March 25, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today urged the Attorney General to take immediate action to investigate reported breaches of the passport files of the three presidential candidates at the State Department. Attorney General Michael Mukasey stated last week that the Justice Department would await the outcome of an internal investigation at the State Department before taking action. "We both strongly b… Continue Reading

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