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Press Releases

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


The Patent And Trademark Office’s Letter To The Senate Judiciary Committee On S. 1145, The Patent Reform Act Of 2007

"For years, we have worked in a bipartisan way to bring needed reforms to our Nation's patent system. Last year, after many discussions and meetings, we introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Patent Reform Act of 2007. Throughout the process, the Judiciary Committee has sought to address the concerns of Members of the Senate, the administration and stakeholders from all parts of the patent world. As a result, the Committee passed legislation in July, and we are preparing for its consideration i… Continue Reading


S. Amdt. 3979, the Feingold-Webb-Tester Sequestration Amendmen

I support providing the government with the flexibility it needs to conduct important surveillance of overseas targets. Both the Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee's versions of this bill would allow the government to intercept all communications of overseas targets, including those communications with people inside of the United States. However, this also means that the government will necessarily be acquiring the communications of innocent Americans. I want to commend Senat… Continue Reading


Ambassador James W. Spain

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I remember being on the Senate floor on September 12th, 2001, the day after the horrendous attack on our great nation. It was the only time in my 33 years here that I can remember the public galleries being closed. Every senator came onto the floor of the Senate to indicate to the world that this symbol of democracy would not close down. I especially remember that the closed visitors' galleries contained only two people: Former Ambassador James Spain and my wife, M… Continue Reading


he President’s Decision To Fund The Office Of Government Information Services Through The Department Of Justice In The FY2009 Budget Request

(Monday, Feb. 4, 2008) - The President late last year signed into law the OPEN Government Act of 2007, legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), to make the first reforms to the Freedom of Information Act. The OPEN Government Act also established the Office of Government Information Services within the National Archives and Records Administration. Within OGIS, the law calls for an appointed FOIA ombudsman to review agency… Continue Reading


S. Amdt. 3920, The Whitehouse Amendment On Minimization Compliance Review

The bill we are now considering gives the executive branch unprecedented authority to conduct warrantless surveillance. It would permit the government, while targeting overseas, to review more Americans' communications with less court supervision than ever before. I support surveillance of those who might do us harm, but we also have to protect Americans' civil liberties. One of the most important ways to provide that balance is to ensure a meaningful role for the courts in supervising this n… Continue Reading


S. Amdt. 3930 Offered By Senator Cardin (D-Md.)

I think we all recognize that this legislation would provide broad and untested new powers to the executive branch. We are willing to do that in order to protect our national security. But this surveillance does not just affect foreign targets; it also affects the privacy rights of potentially millions of American citizens. That is why it is so important that we get this right. And that is why I support Senator Cardin's amendment, which would reduce the sunset provision of this bill from si… Continue Reading


Senate Committee Gives Go Ahead For Judicial Pay Raise

(Friday, Feb. 1, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday passed legislation to authorize the first significant pay raise for the federal judiciary in almost two decades. The legislation, sponsored by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), was introduced last year, and had been the subject of debate in the Committee in December. The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives passed a similar measure late last year. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts not… Continue Reading


Guard And Reserve Commission’s Recommendations Would Muffle National Guard’s Voice In Pentagon Decision Making

(Thursday, Jan. 31) -- Several recommendations in the final report of the National Guard and Reserve Commission released Thursday, if implemented, would undermine the National Guard and hamper the Defense Department's ability to respond to domestic emergencies, according to the leaders of the 87-member Senate National Guard Caucus. National Guard Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.) say the Commission's Guard recommendations "do not give due credit to the… Continue Reading


Closing Statement for Department Of Justice Oversight Hearing With Attorney General Mukasey

I had hoped today would provide more clarity on so many critical issues. Instead, we heard references to legal opinions, justifications, and facts that remain hidden from Congress and the American people. It is a hallmark of our democracy that we say publicly what the laws are and what conduct they prohibit. We have seen what happens when hidden decisions rendered in secret memos are withheld from the people's elected representatives and from the American people. It erodes our civil liberti… Continue Reading


Oversight Hearing With Attorney General Michael Mukasey

Today, we welcome Michael Mukasey back before us for our first oversight hearing with the new Attorney General. And today we continue our work to restore the Department of Justice to its vital role of ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice. I first came to the Senate 33 years ago, when the Nation and the Department of Justice were reeling from Watergate and the trust of the American people in their government had been shaken. The damage done over the last seven years to ou… Continue Reading


Bush Signs Bill Enacting Leahy’s National Guard Empowerment Reforms, And Leahy’s Repeal Of The ‘Insurrection Act Rider’

(Wednesday, Jan. 30) -- President Bush has signed into law an annual defense authorization bill that includes key victories for the National Guard that were engineered by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Democratic co-chair of the Senate's 95-member National Guard Caucus. Leahy's National Guard Empowerment reforms, drawn from a bill Leahy introduced with Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), will give the Guard more bureaucratic muscle at the Pentagon in decision making about the Guard's missions, equipm… Continue Reading


Leahy Urges Commission On Civil Rights To Approve State Charters

(Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday sent a letter to the Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights expressing concern that the Commission has been slow to renew the advisory committee charters of Vermont and dozens of other states. Leahy's letter was sent on the same day that members of the country's leading civil rights organizations called on the U.S. Justice Department to discontinue partisan appointments and the recent politicization of the Commission on C… Continue Reading


Response From Attorney General Mukasey About Waterboarding

The Senate Judiciary Committee late Tuesday night received a letter from Attorney General Michael Mukasey in response to inquiries from members of the Committee about the administration's position on the legality of waterboarding. The Attorney General will testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. "This last-minute response from the Attorney General echoes what other administration officials have said about the use of waterboarding. It does not, however, answer the critical q… Continue Reading


Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s Prepared Testimony For The Department Of Justice Oversight Hearing

"I look forward to reviewing Attorney General Mukasey's prepared remarks and look forward to his first appearance before the Judiciary Committee since his confirmation. I hope that he is prepared to be more forthcoming in response to the questions of the Senators on the Committee than his predecessor, who left hundreds of questions unanswered and allowed the administration to exercise unchecked executive power. Attorney General Mukasey's prepared testimony did not address issues Members of the… Continue Reading


Senate Consideration Of The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007

"The Senate today rejected the tactics of obstructionism and delay employed by the Republican minority and the White House. In refusing to allow the entire Senate the opportunity to openly and fairly debate the important issue of amending our surveillance laws, Republicans have brought to a screeching halt the Senate's extensive efforts over the last several months to protect this country and the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans. We worked closely with this administration to make i… Continue Reading


Leahy Secures Funding To Protect And Restore Bethel Town Hall

(MONDAY, Jan. 28) -- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has secured more than $300,000 in the newly enacted federal budget passed by Congress and signed by the President that will help protect and restore the historic Bethel Town Hall. The federal funding will come in the form of a Save America's Treasures grant and will likely be used to complete foundation repairs and masonry work. Leahy said, "The Bethel Town Hall embodies the very identity of the close-knit community it serves. For more than a … Continue Reading


The Night Of President Bush’s Last State Of The Union Address

As the Bush presidency winds down, the squandered opportunities continue to pile up. By now it is clear that the President has decided to hand off many of the nation's biggest problems to his successor. I am especially concerned that one of the problems that he is deferring is bringing our troops home from Iraq. Tonight he again made clear his intention to keep Americans in the middle of that conflict and to keep sending tax dollars to Iraq on a trajectory that is headed for a trillion dollar… Continue Reading


Leahy Untangles USDA Red Tape, Freeing Up To $5 M. In Flood Disaster Relief For Vermont Dairy Farmers

(Monday, Jan. 28) - Senator Patrick Leahy Monday succeeded in convincing the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) to untangle red tape that was preventing Vermont dairy farmers from getting flood disaster aid approved last year by Congress. The rules change, issued today by USDA, will mean up to $5 million in additional disaster relief in Vermont. Last year, Leahy worked to make sure Vermont farmers hit by spring floods were covered in a farm disaster relief package crafted by Congress. (PL 11… Continue Reading


Bipartisan Coalition Of 19 Senators Makes One Last Appeal To DHS Secretary Chertoff To Limit The Damage Of Proposed New Border Requirements Set To Begin This Thursday

(Monday, Jan. 28) -- Led by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a bipartisan group of 19 senators Monday urged U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to pull the plug on new border requirements that he plans to impose beginning this Thursday. The senators - eight Democratic senators, 10 Republican senators, and one independent senator -- ask Chertoff to continue accepting oral declarations of citizenship and govern… Continue Reading


White House Signals Intent To Strip Critical FOIA Funds From OIGS

Move Would Run Afoul Of Newly Enacted OPEN Government Act WASHINGTON (Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says funds for the Office of Government Information Services authorized under the newly enacted OPEN Government Act will be shifted to the Department of Justice, according to White House aides. The OPEN Government Act, a new law signed by President Bush on Dec. 31, made the first real reforms to the Freedom of Information Act in more than a … Continue Reading

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