Press Room

Press Releases

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


Statement On Impeachment Trial Witnesses

The question before us is incredibly serious, but it is also more than a little absurd. We are sitting as a court, exercising the sole power to try impeachments, entrusted to us by the Framers. The President of the United States has been charged with high crimes - a constitutional charge of abuse of power that includes in its text each of the elements of criminal bribery. The President's lawyers have complained all week about the absence of sworn testimony from officials with first-hand knowled… Continue Reading


Statement On On The Trump Administration’s Decision To Roll Back Limits On U.S. Production And Use Of Anti-Personnel Landmines

"The President's decision to roll back the policy on anti-personnel landmines is as perplexing as it is disappointing, and reflexive, and unwise. As far as I know, Congress was not consulted about this decision, despite requests to be consulted. "The policy that has been in place, limiting the use of this inherently indiscriminate weapon to the Korean Peninsula, was the culmination of nearly 30 years of incremental steps, taken by both Democratic and Republican administrations after extensive… Continue Reading


Statement On Reports That The Trump Administration Plans To Roll Back Limits On U.S. Production And Use Of Anti-Personnel Landmines

"Reports that the White House intends to roll back the policy on anti-personnel landmines are of great concern. As far as I am aware, no Member of Congress has been consulted about this imminent announcement. I have today asked the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to hold off on any decision until we have an opportunity to discuss it. "The current policy, limiting the use of this inherently indiscriminate weapon to the Korean Peninsula, is the culmination of near… Continue Reading


President Trump’s Dangerous Pattern Of Slashing Global Health Programs

President Trump's reckless policy of slash-and-burn budgeting has consistently proposed devastating cuts to programs meant to prevent the outbreak and contain the spread of infectious diseases like the Wuhan Coronavirus (2019 Novel Coronavirus). Bipartisan coalitions in Congress have rejected these cuts and increased investments in global and domestic health programs. Global Health Programs Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development global health programs support a wid… Continue Reading


Statement On Imprisonment Of Loujain al-Hathloul

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I've spoken repeatedly about the unlawful imprisonment and abuse of human rights activists by the Saudi government, which continue despite promises of reform by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In fact, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the botched cover-up and sham investigation, and the ongoing, systematic repression of Saudi activists have only served to confirm what we already knew, which is that the Crown Prince is no reformer, but instead a ruthless autocrat intim… Continue Reading


Statement On The United States and the Philippines

Mr. LEAHY. I want to take a few moments to discuss an issue that has garnered some attention in recent months, which is our relations with the Government of the Philippines, including President Duterte's counter-drug strategy and his government's treatment of those who have openly criticized that strategy. It is important to first recount the long history of friendship and strategic cooperation between the United States and the Philippines. Family and cultural ties that extend back many gener… Continue Reading


Reaction To President Trump’s Middle East ‘Deal Of The Century’

"The one-sided Middle East plan that the President has announced is a striking example of President Trump's familiar playbook of delusional hyperbole over reality. After years of empty promises while systematically dismantling decades of bipartisan U.S. policy in order to benefit only one party, it is farcical to call something a 'deal' and impose it on the other party knowing it will be rejected. It is a plan that would diminish the prospects for peaceful coexistence, while damaging our count… Continue Reading


Comments On The Passing Of Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer was a model and a mentor to so many. He represented journalism at its best. In an era in which pressures in our culture and politics have intensified that are defining down civility, decency and even veracity, he was a truth seeker who never wavered in embracing and honoring the time-honored journalistic standards that have never been more important to our nation. Marcelle and I were among his many admirers, and we are fortunate also to have known him as a friend. Our thoughts tod… Continue Reading


Reaction To The Refusal Of The Government Of Honduras To Extend The Mandate Of The Mission To Support The Fight Against Corruption And Impunity In Honduras

"The decision by President Hernandez, an unindicted co-conspirator in the U.S. prosecution of his brother for drug trafficking, to end the MACCIH, is the latest evidence that he is not serious about stopping the corruption that permeates his government from top to bottom. The question now is whether the Trump Administration continues to turn a blind eye, caring only that President Hernandez has agreed for his violent, impoverished country to be a so-called 'third country safe haven' for Central… Continue Reading


Leahy, Durbin, Reed And Schatz Demand Answers On Reports That President Trump Intends To Raid $7.2 Billion From The Military And Military Families For His Wall

(FRIDAY, January 17, 2020) - Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) Friday released their letter to Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Mark Esper demanding answers on r… Continue Reading


Van Hollen And Leahy Urge Trump To Sanction Those Responsible For The Wrongful Detention And Death Of American Citizen In Egypt

(THURSDAY, Jan. 16, 2020) -- U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday wrote to President Trump urging him to immediately sanction the Egyptian government officials responsible for the wrongful detention and death of Mustafa Kassem, an American citizen. The letter follows the Senators' work to secure language with the FY 2020 Appropriations bill requiring the Secretary of State to deny U.S. visas to foreign officials involved in the wrongful imprisonment of U.S. c… Continue Reading


Statement On the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Today, the Senate considers the "new NAFTA" - a bill now reviewed by seven Senate Committees on which more than 85 Senators serve. Surely the vote count is clear: this implementing legislation will be adopted today, and sent to the President. In Vermont, that will mean important wins for our state's economy, and in particular, our dairy farmers. I will support this bill. Vermont is a border state, and the commercial and cultural exchanges with Canada are woven into the fabric of the state. Ve… Continue Reading


Statement On GAO Ruling The Trump Administration Violated The Impoundment Control Act By Withholding Aid to Ukraine

The GAO opinion is forceful and it is unambiguous: When President Trump froze congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine, he did so in violation of the law and the Constitution. The Constitution grants the power of the purse to Congress, not the President. Congress chose to provide military assistance to an ally which is literally under attack by Russia, and the law required that aid to be delivered. But instead of executing the law and standing with our ally, the President withhel… Continue Reading


Disaster Funds Appropriated By Congress Are Not Discretionary

[More than 850 days after the first of two category five hurricanes struck the island of Puerto Rico, Politico reported that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will be lifting its unjustifiable hold on $8.2 billion in disaster aid appropriated by Congress. For more than two years, Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has repeatedly called out President Trump and his administration for dragging their feet and prolonging the suffering of the American ci… Continue Reading


Statement On The Transmission Of Articles Of Impeachment

Now that the House has transmitted its Articles of Impeachment against President Trump, it is essential that the Senate conduct a trial that lives up to our constitutional duty. Impeachment is the only constitutional mechanism Congress has to hold presidents accountable, and the Framers entrusted us with the "sole power to try impeachments." It is now up to each senator to validate and honor the trust that has been placed in our hands. This will be the seventh time I have taken the special oa… Continue Reading


Statement On The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Today the Committee considers the "new NAFTA" - the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. We are the seventh Senate Committee to consider this proposal. When we report this measure, more than 85 Senators will have served as members of Committees that reported this bill. That has to be some kind of record. This Committee talks a lot about the needs of border states. It seems in recent years, that discussion has primarily focused on the southern border. But I represent a border state - and Ver… Continue Reading


Press Conference On The Death Of Mustafa Kassem

We are here to remember Mustafa Kassem, an American citizen who died in an Egyptian prison for no reason. His death should be ruled a homicide. It was as preventable as his imprisonment was unlawful. Over the past several years, I and other U.S. officials urged President Sisi to release Mr. Kassem. He was convicted, along with 700 others, after a sham trial. He was innocent. No evidence was presented to support the charges against him. This is an unforgiveable travesty, for which Preside… Continue Reading


Reaction To Reports That President Trump Will Divert An Additional $7.2 Billion For His Ineffective Border Wall

[Monday night, the Washington Post reported that President Trump and his administration intend to confiscate $7.2 billion appropriated for military construction projects and counter-narcotics programs to build his ineffective wall along the Southern border. In fiscal year 2019, President Trump confiscated $6.3 billion from the military and military families to fund his vanity wall. For fiscal year 2020, the President requested $8.6 billion for his wall, and Congress specifically chose to provi… Continue Reading


Reaction To The Death Of Mustafa Kassem In An Egyptian Prison

"Repeatedly over the past several years, I, Secretary of State Pompeo, Vice President Pence, and other U.S. officials urged President Sisi to release Mustafa Kassem, an innocent American citizen who was falsely arrested, unjustly convicted along with 700 others after a sham trial, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to the Department of State, no credible evidence was presented to support the charges against him. "This is a monumental, unforgiveable travesty, for which President Sis… Continue Reading


Sanders, Khanna (Including Senator Leahy) Lead Dozens of Lawmakers In Introducing The No War Against Iran Act

, January 9 - Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the No War Against Iran Act, which denies the Pentagon of any funds for unauthorized use of military force against Iran. A measure to prohibit funds for an unconstitutional war with Iran passed by a bipartisan 251-member vote in the House of Representatives last year, though it was later stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act enacted in December. In the Senate, the No War Against Iran Act is cosponsored by Senators Schum… Continue Reading

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