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


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


Judiciary Committee Passes Bill To Protect Public Safety In Secret Court Settlements

(Thursday, March 6, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved legislation authored by Committee Member Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and sponsored by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Member Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) to prohibit courts from shielding important health and safety information from the public as part of legal proceedings against corporations. The bipartisan "Sunshine in Litigation Act" was prompted by dozens of cases in which hazards and threats to public health were not … Continue Reading


Leahy, Specter Urge Senate Action On Media Shield Bill

(Thursday, March 6, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today urged party leaders to schedule floor consideration of legislation to enact a qualified federal media shield law, which has been stalled in the Senate since last year. The Free Flow of Information Act was favorably reported to the Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 4, 2007. Leahy and Specter sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minorit… Continue Reading


Committee Approves Legislation Allowing Cameras In The Courtroom

(Thursday, March 6, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday passed legislation to provide the public with more access inside their Federal courtrooms. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a long time supporter of government transparency, helped to usher the bill through the Committee. Federal courts lag behind all 50 state judiciaries, which have all allowed some form of audio or video coverage of court proceedings. Many Americans are unable to travel to witness some of the most important … Continue Reading


The Vitter Amendment #4097 To The “CPSC Reform Act”

Senator Vitter has submitted an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act that would discourage State Attorneys General from bringing enforcement actions against those who violate consumer product safety regulations. This amendment goes even further than the Cornyn amendment that we voted on last night to gut the enforcement provisions in the bill. The Pryor-Stevens legislation wisely gives State Attorneys General the power to protect their citizens from harmful pro… Continue Reading


The Cornyn Amendment #4094 To The “CPSC Reform Act”

I understand that an amendment is pending to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act we are considering that would tie the hands of State Attorneys General who seek to protect their citizens from harmful products. I applaud the efforts of Senator Pryor for including in this legislation the power for State Attorneys General to enforce consumer product safety violations. We should not gut that important enforcement provision by immunizing corporate bad actors for the reasonable … Continue Reading


Hearing On Oversight Of The Federal Bureau Of Investigation

(Wednesday, March 5, 2008) - Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) held a hearing on oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, testified before the Committee for the first time since March 2007. The hearing is the fourth oversight hearing held by the Judiciary Committee this year, including an important Department of Justice oversight hearing in January at which Attorney General Michael Mukasey testified. Below is Leahy… Continue Reading


State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Hearing On Fiscal Year 2009 USAID Budget Request

Good afternoon. This is the first hearing of this subcommittee this year. Senator Gregg and I share a strong interest in ensuring that our foreign aid dollars are used wisely. There have been many examples of when they have been, and many examples of when they have not been. Iraq comes to mind as one example of how not to do it. If USAID had been listened to earlier I think there would have been a lot less money wasted. The Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Iraq reconstr… Continue Reading


Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing On The DHS Fiscal Year 2009 Budget

Questions of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing On The FY 2009 DHS Budget Request Tuesday, March 4, 2008 BORDER STAFFING The Northern Border has been chronically understaffed for years, and we saw tremendous backups at our border crossings during last summer's tourist season - sometimes hours of unnecessary wait time - because DHS lacked the workforce to open every lane. I am very concerned that in addition to implementation of the Wester… Continue Reading


Judicial Nominations

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I would apologize for the lack of judicial nominations on the Executive Calendar but for the fact that is has been the refusal of Republicans to cooperate this year in reporting out nominations that has lead to the current circumstance. The fact is that we concluded last session by confirming each and every judicial nomination that was reported out of the Judiciary Committee. None were carried over into this new year. And despite my efforts in February, when the Judi… Continue Reading


The Nomination Of Mark Filip To Be Deputy Attorney General

Today we continue the process of rebuilding the integrity and independence of the Justice Department by confirming the nomination of Mark R. Filip to be the new Deputy Attorney General, the number two position at the Department of Justice, who acts as the Attorney General in the absence of the Attorney General. Regrettably, this important nomination has been stalled for over a month due to the bad faith of the Bush-Cheney administration in failing to process Democratic recommendations to indep… Continue Reading


Statement On Oil Prices

In April 2004, when American consumers were paying $1.78 per gallon at the pump, I warned that energy experts were "predicting that the price of gas may rise to $2.50 or $3.00 per gallon." The administration did nothing. Last October, when American consumers were paying $2.87 per gallon at the pump, I warned that "oil may be on its way to over $100 a barrel." The administration did nothing. This week, oil reached a record $102 a barrel, and gas prices averaged $3.13 a gallon. How much will… Continue Reading


Statement On Amending The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Executive Business Meeting

Even as we meet here this morning, the President once again is misusing his bully pulpit, as he speaks again about changing the FISA law. Once again, his purpose is not to help the Congress and the country reach consensus on a sensible law, but to tell the Congress to set aside its legislative process and to merely take the administration's dictation. The administration and some of its allies are intent on playing politics with this important issue, and once again they are showing they are not… Continue Reading


Statement On ''The False Claims Act Corrections Act Of 2007 (S. 2041): Strengthening The Government's Most Effective Tool Against Fraud For The 21st Century”

Nearly a century and half ago, President Abraham Lincoln pushed through the False Claims Act in order to combat rampant fraud and war profiteering during the Civil War. It is fitting that we hold this hearing on legislation to strengthen "Lincoln's Law" the same month we celebrate President Lincoln's birth. Today, again in the midst of war and facing reports of billions lost to fraud and waste in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are considering important new improvements to the False Claims Act - not… Continue Reading


Remarks On The Feingold-Reid-Leahy Legislation On The War In Iraq

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the Senate once again is debating a bill by Senator Feingold, Senator Reid, myself and others to change course in Iraq. And once again, I urge the Senate to act. This is a war started under false pretenses, waged with incompetent political policymaking that disserved the bravery and sacrifice of our fighting men and women. This is a war that now slogs on - week after week, year after year -- with nothing but a "pause" on the horizon, and still no end in sight. The t… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders Again Push For Withdrawal Of U.S. Troops From Iraq

(Tuesday, Feb. 26) -- The U.S. Senate Tuesday will vote on legislation cosponsored by Vermont's two U.S. Senators to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) are original cosponsors of a bill introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that would cut off funding for the military mission in Iraq four months after passage, with exceptions for counterterrorism, troop training and other limited purposes. Leahy and S… Continue Reading


Statement On The “School Safety And Law Enforcement Improvement Act”

Since my last statement on the need for prompt congressional action to address incidents involving threatening conduct and, too often, deadly acts of violence at our schools and college campuses nationwide, the violent incidents have continued, with tragic results. In the week between February 8 and February 15, there were at least four incidents at schools and universities resulting in death or serious injury to victims of all ages. On February 8, a female student killed two other st… Continue Reading


Scare Tactics And Our Surveillance Bill

Nothing is more important to the American people than our safety and our freedom. As the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees, we have an enormous responsibility to protect both. Unfortunately, instead of working with Congress to achieve the best policies to keep our country safe, once again President Bush has resorted to scare tactics and political games. In November, the House passed legislation to give U.S. intelligence agencies strong tools to interce… Continue Reading

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