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Press Releases

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

11.02.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Passing Of Barbara Snelling

"Like her late husband, Barbara loved Vermont. She brought that spirit to every office she held, working to make life better for families and communities in Chittenden County and across our state. "Marcelle and I join all Vermonters in offering our appreciation and best wishes to her entire family and their friends and to all who knew or worked with her." # # # #… Continue Reading


11.01.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Sen ate Judiciary Committee On the Need to Pass the Arbitration Fairness Act

[The New York Times recently released a three-part investigative series highlighting the impact on consumers and workers of forced arbitration clauses. These agreements, often included in the fine print of employment contracts or consumer receipts, require individuals to waive their right to sue in court or their ability to pursue complaints against the corporation in a class action. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long raised concerns about the practice of forced arbitration, including in he… Continue Reading


10.30.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On the Need to Close the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay

"The detention facility at Guantanamo is a stain on our national reputation and it should be closed. The Administration should continue expediting the transfer of the 52 cleared detainees, and accelerate the Periodic Review Board process to determine if additional detainees can be transferred. Members of Congress must also reject bumper-sticker politics and remove the onerous and unnecessary restrictions contained in this year's National Defense Authorization Act that stand in the way of final… Continue Reading


10.30.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations

Republicans continue to object to requests for unanimous consent on basic things we should be able to do in a bipartisan manner here in the Senate. In addition to my request about gender discrimination, Republicans have previously objected to unanimous consent requests to allow votes on noncontroversial judicial nominees with bipartisan support to fill vacancies in our Federal judiciary. These requests are not remotely controversial, and yet, the Republicans continue to obstruct for obstructio… Continue Reading


10.30.15

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), On The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

For months, Democrats have called on Republican leaders in both the Senate and the House to work with us to avert the economic crisis that default would have wrought on this country. With our backs against the wall, congressional leaders and the White House have reached an agreement to not only raise the debt ceiling - ensuring that our government can pay its bills - but to limit the devastating impacts of sequestration for the next two years. This agreement is far from perfect. This deal uses… Continue Reading


10.29.15

Leahy & Grassley Press Treasury, IRS on the Use of Cell Phone Tracking Technology

(Thursday, October 29, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are once again pressing a top cabinet official about a government agency's use of cell-site simulator technology, which can sweep up the cell phone signals of innocent Americans. Following news reports that the Internal Revenue Service is using cell-site simulators, or "Stingrays," the Senators sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Lew on Thursday seeking information… Continue Reading


10.29.15

Senate Republicans Block Leahy Resolution Calling For Equal Pay For Female Soccer Athletes

(Thursday, October 29, 2015) - Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a commonsense resolution authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) calling on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to eliminate gender discrimination between male and female athletes. Leahy first introduced the resolution in July, after the United States women's soccer team was awarded just $2 million after beating Japan in the Women's World Cup championship. By comparison, the 2014 Men'… Continue Reading


10.27.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee On the Library of Congress’s Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking

[The Library of Congress Tuesday released the results of its triennial review to establish exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) prohibition on circumventing technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The exemptions announced today cover a range of activities, from repairing farm equipment to using motion pictures in film studies classes. Among the exemptions granted are those that allow "unlocking" of wireless telephones and other wireless devices to… Continue Reading


10.27.15

Save The Bats

Bats have not always had a 'good press.' They can seem scary, especially at Halloween time, and they have not been adequately understood, let alone appreciated. Today our bat populations are being decimated by the spread of a deadly fungus that causes "white nose syndrome." An essential ingredient in saving America's bats is in better understanding them and the key roles they play in agriculture and in the ecosystem. Vermont's conservation ethic is deeply instilled in me, as it is in other V… Continue Reading


10.27.15

[BREAKING] Leahy Comments On The Milestone Of His 15,000th Vote In The U.S. Senate --

[As the dean of the Senate (its most senior member) Vermont's U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D) Tuesday morning passed a U.S. Senate milestone when he cast his 15,000th vote. Only five senators in history have cast more votes. The vote occurred during a series of votes late this morning during Senate debate on the cybersecurity bill. According to the nonpartisan website GovTrack, Leahy has sponsored more bipartisan bills than any other current member of this Senate: Sixty-one percent of his bil… Continue Reading


10.26.15

Leahy, Sanders, Welch, Shumlin Announce $10 Million Federal Grant

(MONDAY, Oct. 26, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Gov. Peter Shumlin Monday announced a $10 million federal grant from the Department of Transportation to improve rail service along the state's Western Corridor. The improvements will remove the final hurdle for restoring passenger service between Rutland and Burlington. In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders, Welch and Shumlin -- who have vigorously supported this rail… Continue Reading


10.26.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations

Today, we will vote on the nomination of Lawrence Vilardo to be a Federal district judge in the Western District of New York in Buffalo. He was first nominated in February and his nomination was voted out of the Judiciary Committee by unanimous voice vote over five months ago on May 6. There is no reason why this highly-qualified nominee should have waited so long for a vote. Despite having one of the busiest caseloads in the country, with more criminal cases than Washington, D.C., Boston, or… Continue Reading


10.26.15

Leahy: Government Transparency Will Take a Step Back Under Cyber Bill

(Monday, October 26, 2015) - The cybersecurity legislation pending on the Senate floor includes an unnecessary provision that would weaken the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the government's premier transparency law. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a champion of government transparency, is calling on all Senators to support his amendment to remove this provision and to support the overall mission of FOIA. "For nearly half a century, FOIA has translated our great American values of openness … Continue Reading


10.23.15

Leahy, Sanders, Welch: $17 Million To Be Released To Vermont For Families Seeking Home Heating Assistance

(FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) -- who have long championed the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) -- Friday announced $17 million in funds to assist Vermonters seeking help to meet their home heating needs this winter, only days after the first snowfall of the season. In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: "LIHEAP is a lifeline to more than 25,000 Vermonters who need energy… Continue Reading


10.22.15

Leahy & Grassley Call For Copyright Study

(Thursday, October 22, 2015) - In order to help the public navigate a world in which software makes virtually everything function, from refrigerators to tractors, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined together Thursday to request the Copyright Office undertake a comprehensive study of the role copyright law plays in defining how software-enabled products can be used. "This is a complex field, and how we interact with software… Continue Reading


10.22.15

Leahy: Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Historic Bipartisan Legislation To Reform Criminal Justice System

(THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2015) - In a long-awaited breakthrough for federal sentencing reform, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved bipartisan legislation to reduce some mandatory sentences and apply those changes retroactively to inmates currently serving unfair sentences. Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former prosecutor who has long advocated for reform, praised the committee's work. "I would like to see an end to all mandatory minimums, but the reforms in this bill repr… Continue Reading


10.21.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Regarding the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 October 21, 2015

It seems as though every week, the American people learn of yet another data breach in which Americans' sensitive, private information has been stolen by cybercriminals or foreign governments. This is a critical national security problem that deserves action by Congress. But our actions must be thoughtful and responsible, and we must recognize that strengthening our Nation's cybersecurity is a complex endeavor with no single solution. According to security researchers and technologists, the m… Continue Reading


10.21.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On President Obama’s Steps To Address Opiate and Heroin Abuse

"I applaud President Obama and Director Botticelli for taking important steps to curb addiction to powerful prescription opioids and heroin. The plan unveiled today, with commitments from such a wide array of public and private partners, represents a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to break the cycle of addiction. It also reflects how devastating opioid addiction has become. Communities across the country have seen the over-prescription of opioids result in a wave of debilitating addiction, t… Continue Reading


10.21.15

NEWS BACKGROUNDER: Even After Benghazi Attack, House Leaders Continued To Block Embassy Security Funds

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., and then-chairman of the State Department's budget committee - the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee), pushed for more embassy security funding than House Republicans were willing to provide - both before and after the Benghazi attack. Leahy said: "House Republicans have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on a partisan exercise. For that, and for blaming the Administration for failing to protect our diplomats, w… Continue Reading


10.21.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Department of Homeland Security’s Policy Regarding the Use Of Cell-Site Simulators

[The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued new guidelines governing the use of cell-site simulators. The announcement comes weeks after Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), joined by Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), pressed DHS to safeguard Americans' privacy when it comes to the use of these devices, which can sweep up the cell phone signals of unknowing and innocent Americans.] "The Department of Homeland Security's new policy on cell-sit… Continue Reading

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