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


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


The Judiciary Committee’s Proposed Amendment To The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007, S.2248

Mr. President, I speak today in support of the Judiciary Committee's amendment to the FISA Amendments Act of 2007, which the Select Committee on Intelligence reported last fall. The Judiciary Committee amendment would make important improvements to the Intelligence Committee bill, while maintaining its structure and authority. The so-called Protect America Act was rushed through the Senate last summer in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. It was a bad bill that has provided sweeping new … Continue Reading


Introduction Of The Civil Rights Act Of 2008

Our great Nation was founded on the fundamental principle that all persons are created equal. We have long committed, and re-committed, ourselves to ensuring that all persons have the right to prosper through hard work and ingenuity. However, for many Americans, those rights still remain illusory. Today, we introduce a comprehensive bill to vindicate our founding principles and make the promise of equal opportunity in the workplace a reality for all Americans. I am proud to cosponsor the Ci… Continue Reading


The Kennedy/Leahy Inspector General Review Amendment (Am. 3862), To The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007, S. 2248

Senator Kennedy and I have offered this important amendment to ensure that there will be some measure of accountability for the unlawful actions of this administration in the years following 9/11. Regrettably, those opposing this common-sense review have so far succeeded in stopping the full Senate from even considering its merits. It is a sad day for the American public when its elected officials stonewall a measure designed to shed light on the government's efforts to unlawfully spy on i… Continue Reading


Leahy Presses To Add Food Stamp Component To Stimulus Package

(Thursday, January 24) - In a letter to the Senate's leadership Thursday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged inclusion of a temporary expansion of Food Stamp benefits in the economic stimulus package now under development in Congress. "A stimulus package provides an opportunity to give a boost to the economy and at the same time deliver meaningful assistance to those that will be most impacted by a possible economic downturn," Leahy wrote. Food Stamps are a key element of the safety net for… Continue Reading


The Feingold Amendment (Am. 3909), To The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007, S. 2248

I support Senator Feingold's amendment to provide Congress with additional materials from the FISA Court to enable Congress to conduct more effective oversight. This amendment is one of the many improvements to the Senate Intelligence bill adopted by the Judiciary Committee and included in the Judiciary Committee's substitute amendment. Regrettably, that substitute was tabled by the full Senate earlier today. But I urge Senators to reconsider their votes with respect to this simple but critic… Continue Reading


Leahy Sets Hearing To Examine Founding Fathers Project

(Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Feb. 7 to examine the progress of the Founding Fathers Project, which was established more than a half century ago to publish the complete, annotated writings of country's six founding fathers and make these historical treasures available to the public. The program has received criticism in recent years for its high costs, slow progress and lack of accountability. Scholars and researchers at … Continue Reading


Leahy Outlines Strengths Of Judiciary Committee Substitute Language

(Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday afternoon took to the Senate floor to discuss the important work of the Judiciary Committee in crafting legislation to amend the country's critical surveillance laws. The Judiciary Committee in November passed an improved version of the Intelligence Committee's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act, including measures to strengthen… Continue Reading


Statement On The White House Withdrawal Of The Nomination Of E. Duncan Getchell, Jr. To The 4th Circuit Court Of Appeals

"I was disappointed last September when the President chose a nominee specifically opposed by Virginia's Republican and Democratic Senators. The nomination of Duncan Getchell seemed to be an effort to pick a political fight rather than a nominee the Senate could confirm to fill a vacancy on the 4th Circuit. Now more time has been wasted and we are into the President's last year in office. With the withdrawal of Mr. Getchell's nomination, the President has another c… Continue Reading


“Oversight Of The Justice For All Act: Has The Justice Department Effectively Administered The Bloodsworth And Coverdell DNA Grant Programs?”

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 have access to counsel and, where appropriate, access to post-conviction DNA testing necessary to prove their innocence in those cases where the system got it grievously wrong. As a former prosecutor, I saw both sides of the crisis that DNA testing had illuminated in clearing those wrongful… Continue Reading


DHS Secretary Chertoff’s Insistence On Demanding Birth Certificates At The Northern Border Beginning Feb. 1

[Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today (Thursday, Jan. 17) responded to a Dec. 19 letter from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Leahy had asked for the legal and practical justification for DHS's decision to require birth certificates at the Northern Border beginning Feb.1, at least 17 months before a newly enacted law allows implementation of the land-crossing phases of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). … Continue Reading


Delegation Announces $3.9 Million For Vermont Home Heating Assistance

BURLINGTON, January 16 - U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch announced the release of $450 million in home heating emergency funds, including $3.9 million for Vermont. As prices for home heating fuel soar to record highs this winter, Sanders has introduced legislation, cosponsored by Leahy, which would increase funding for the Low Income Home Heating Assistance Program by another $800 million. Welch introduced com… Continue Reading


Leahy, Conyers Ask For GAO Inquiry Into Awarding Of No-Bid Contracts By Justice Department

(Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008) - The Chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees today sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking the Comptroller General to launch an inquiry into the use, award and implementation of contracts by the Department of Justice to outside entities for the monitoring of compliance with out-of-court settlement and deferred prosecution agreements in criminal investigations. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt… Continue Reading


Mukasey To Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee Jan. 30 Leahy Announces Justice Department Oversight Hearing

(Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today announced that the Committee will hold the first Department of Justice oversight hearing of the year on Jan. 30, 2008. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey will testify. The Judiciary Committee under Chairman Leahy has held periodic oversight hearings of the Department of Justice with the Attorney General. This will be the first hearing at which Mukasey tes… Continue Reading


Reaction Of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), On Release Of The Final REAL ID Regulations By The U.S. Department Of Homeland Security

"The Bush administration's REAL ID program will not only lead to long lines at every DMV across the country, it will impose a massive unfunded mandate on state governments while offering absolutely no federal privacy protections to our citizens. "It is unfortunate that instead of addressing the fundamental problems this law poses for the states, the Administration appears content merely to prolong a contentious and unproductive battle to force the states to comply. Rat… Continue Reading


Leahy Seeks Details Of No-Bid Contracts Directed To Be Awarded By Justice Department Official

(Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking the Department of Justice to provide the Committee with information regarding no-bid contracts directed to be awarded to firms affiliated with former Justice Department officials. According to an article in The New York Times, U. S. Attorney Christopher Christie directed the awarding of no-bid contracts to for… Continue Reading


President Signs Court Security Reforms Into Law

[CORRECTION: President Bush today (Tuesday) signed legislation to improve security for federal judges, witnesses and officers. Our Jan. 4 news release indicated that the bill had become law without the President's signature at the end of the 10-day period for presidential signing, as provided by the Constitution, based on reports that the bill had been sent to the President on Dec. 24. Since the bill was not sent to the White House until Dec. 27, the 10-day period would have expired Jan. 8, r… Continue Reading


Comment On Presidential Signing Of The OPEN Government Act

"In the closing days of its first session, the 110th Congress was able to deliver to the President's desk the first reforms to the Freedom of Information Act in more than a decade. Earlier this week, the President signed into law the OPEN Government Act, bringing greater transparency to a government that in recent years has seen increased efforts to conceal important information from the American people. In a time when government is compiling more and more information about every American, it ha… Continue Reading


Leahy Leads Bipartisan Effort To Hold Insurance Companies Accountable Under The Antitrust Laws

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee today joined with Senate Democratic and Republican leaders to introduce a bipartisan bill that would level the playing field so that insurance companies must abide by the same competition laws as every other industry. Leahy introduced the Insurance Industry Competition Act, along with the panel's Ranking Member, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nev.), and Senate Republican Whip Trent Lot… Continue Reading


Opening Statement Of Sen. Patrick Leahy Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee On The Conference Report On H.R.3199 The USA PATRIOT Improvement And Reauthorization Act Of 2005

Earlier this week, I spoke about how the world changed on September 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost on American soil. In the aftermath of the attacks, Congress moved quickly to pass anti-terrorism legislation. The fires were still smoldering at Ground Zero when the USA PATRIOT Act became law on October 30, 2001, just six weeks after that horrible day. Security and liberty are always in tension in our free society, and especially so in the wa… Continue Reading

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