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Press Releases

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


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


Hearing On “The Rise Of Drug-Related Violent Crime In Rural America: Finding Solutions To A Growing Problem” Rutland, Vermont

RUTLAND, Vt. (Monday, March 24, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today held a field hearing to examine the rise in drug-related violent crime in rural communities. The hearing was held in Rutland, Vermont. Rutland has seen a rise in drug-related violent crime in recent years, and has been aggressive in finding, developing and implementing constructive solutions to address those issues. Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) also attended Mond… Continue Reading


Leahy Presses Open Government Agenda As Nation Celebrates Sunshine Week

(Thursday, March 20, 2008) - Two issues at the center of the public's right-to-know agenda in Congress are in the spotlight as the nation observes the fourth annual "Sunshine Week." Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) marked an initial victory against White House efforts to weaken a newly enacted law to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and he continued his push for Senate passage of a federal media shield law. While the Senate last week considered a budge… Continue Reading


Leahy To Bush: Senate Republicans Stalling Executive Nominations

(Thursday, March 20, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday sent President Bush a letter again seeking cooperation in moving forward with judicial and executive nominations. Despite partisan rhetoric from Republicans and the White House, the Senate has made significant progress in considering Bush's judicial nominations and nominations to high-ranking positions in the Department of Justice, since last fall, confirming a new leadership group at the Department,… Continue Reading


Leahy Secures Funds To Jump-Start Quadricentennial Events

(WEDNESDAY, March 19) -- As communities from throughout the Champlain Valley gathered Wednesday at a workshop to continue planning for next year's 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's historic 1609 Lake Champlain voyage, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he has secured nearly $400,000 in National Park Service funding to help jump start the commemoration. Of that total, Leahy has secured $250,000 to be coordinated by the Lake Champlain Basin Program -- some of which will go to supp… Continue Reading


Judiciary Committee Chairman Schedules Homeland Security Oversight Hearing

(Wednesday, March 19, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the next in a series of oversight hearings this year when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff testifies before the Committee on Wednesday, April 2, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today. Chertoff is expected to field questions about backlogs in naturalization applications at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Iraqi refugee resettlement, and immigration detention practices. Leahy h… Continue Reading


A Ray of Hope On The Horizon For FOIA

This year's Sunshine Week brings new rays of hope for the public's right to know. The first reform to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade is newly on the books, and increasing government transparency is becoming a greater part of public debate and discussion. With last year's enactment of the bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government ("OPEN Government") Act, Congress signaled an interest in seeking more openness … Continue Reading


House Passage Of Legislation To Amend The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007

"I commend the House of Representatives for passing its amendment to the Senate's FISA Amendments Act of 2007. It is a step forward, and a good bill. The Senate-passed legislation has a number of serious failings and does not adequately protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. The House bill adds several crucial protections without interfering in any way with this important new surveillance authority. "For the last month, the House has worked with Democratic Senators, and House… Continue Reading


A Ray of Hope On The Horizon For FOIA Op-Ed

By Sens. Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn This year's Sunshine Week brings new rays of hope for the public's right to know. The first reform to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade is newly on the books, and increasing government transparency is becoming a greater part of public debate and discussion. With last year's enactment of the bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government ("OPEN Government") Act, Congress signaled … Continue Reading


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

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