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

07.23.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Introduction of the Equality Act

Last month, the Supreme Court took a significant step towards a more perfect union when it ruled that every American has the right to marry the person they love and have that lawful marriage recognized. It was a victory for love and justice over bigotry and intolerance. This historic milestone should be celebrated, but we must remember that the journey is not complete. The Fourteenth Amendment's principles of liberty and equality safeguard all couples' right to marry, and also serves as a bul… Continue Reading


07.23.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Pending Nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Last week, the junior senator from Arkansas objected to a request to vote on any of the five nominations to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that have been awaiting confirmation for more than ten months. He refused to debate the merits of any of these eminently qualified nominees. It is unfortunate that the junior senator from Arkansas appears to be dusting off the Republican playbook from the last Congress to try to do to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims what he could not to do to the D.C. Ci… Continue Reading


07.23.15

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) After Votes In The Appropriations Committee To End Restrictions On Travel And Other Commerce By Americans In Cuba

This is a first step by the Senate to dismantle a discredited and counterproductive policy that in 54 years has failed to achieve any of its objectives. These votes were not about the repugnant policies of the Castro regime, but about doing away with unwarranted impediments to travel and commerce imposed on Americans by our own government. "The leaders of the House should finally recognize that as the people's representatives it is time for us to abandon an approach that is opposed by large… Continue Reading


07.23.15

Legislation Supporting Juvenile Justice Programs Includes Leahy-Authored Efforts Combatting Youth Homelessness

(THURSDAY, July 23, 2015) -- The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), which has helped provide crucial services for young people for the last 40 years. Included in the measure were several provisions authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to prevent youth homelessness and improve reentry programs. "The rise of runaway and homeless youth is a problem both nationally and in Vermont, and … Continue Reading


07.22.15

Leahy Unveils Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act

(WEDNESDAY, July 22, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation Wednesday to stamp out coordination between super PACs and political candidates. The Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act responds to the outsized role that super PACs now occupy in elections since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. These Super PACs are able to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, and then spe… Continue Reading


07.22.15

Leahy: Congress Must Address The Nation’s Exploding Prison Population This Year

(Wednesday, July 22, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former prosecutor, has long opposed mandatory minimums and advocated for comprehensive criminal justice reform. Speaking before the Coalition for Public Safety on Wednesday, Leahy reiterated the need for Congress to tackle the issue of criminal justice reform this year. "I began my career as a prosecutor on the front lines of our justice system," Leahy said Wednesday. "I know that mandatory minimum… Continue Reading


07.22.15

Time To End Mandatory Minimum Sentences

(Following are the remarks of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) at The Bipartisan Summit On Fair Justice on July 22 on Capitol Hill. Leahy, a former prosecutor and long a leader on criminal justice reform, has partnered with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in authoring and introducing their bill to end mandatory minimum sentences.) A few years ago, just down the street at Georgetown Law School, a student asked me what could be done to address the inequity in our criminal justice system. I respon… Continue Reading


07.22.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Situation In Guatemala

Mr. President, with the Congress focused on the U.S. - Iran nuclear agreement it is not surprising that recent developments in Guatemala have not received the attention they deserve, either here or in the international press. I want to speak briefly about this as it should interest all Senators, particularly at a time when the governments of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are seeking significant U.S. funding to support the "Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle of C… Continue Reading


07.20.15

The Iran Agreement: Why We Should Give The Peaceful Solution A Chance

Two years of arduous negotiations now have produced an agreement to seal off Iran's path to producing a nuclear weapon. I will have questions in the detailed briefings and hearings ahead, as I'm sure others will. But we already know quite a bit. We know that this process already had succeeded in freezing Iran's nuclear development in place. Now we have an agreement to also roll back Iran's program. We know this is the most rigorous monitoring and inspection regimen ever included in a non… Continue Reading


07.20.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., Ranking Member, Senate Subcommittee On The State Department And Foreign Operations) On The Opening Of The Embassy Of Cuba In Washington

"This is a new phase for our relations with the Cuban people. We will now have our best diplomats in Havana representing the American people. "If we only had embassies in countries whose governments we agree with we would have to close half of our current embassies. That is not why you have embassies. It is to protect the interests of the United States and of American citizens and to defend our ideals around the world." # # # # #… Continue Reading


07.17.15

Leahy, UVM Officials Announce More Than $15 M In Grants For Research And Extension Work

BURLINGTON (FRIDAY, July 17, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday joined officials and researchers at the University of Vermont Miller Farm to announce that more than $15 million in grants and funding has been awarded to the university in the year-and-a-half since the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law. The funding, awarded through a wide array of Farm Bill programs, supports new agricultural research and extension projects throughout the state. Leahy said: "The relationship between th… Continue Reading


07.17.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Passage of the Every Child Achieves Act,

Today, the Senate has approved landmark legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Since 2001, the failed policies of No Child Left Behind have unfairly burdened educators and administrators by holding students accountable for snap-shot academic progress. The Senate's bipartisan action today - an overwhelming vote of approval - is one step forward in the reversal of these troubling measures. The Every Child Achieves Act further highlights the Federal Govern… Continue Reading


07.14.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The President’s Speech On Criminal Justice

"In the United States, we put too many people in prison for too long. Our wrongheaded approach to criminal justice is breaking the bank and making us less safe. Every year we spend more money funding the Bureau of Prisons than we do supporting crime victims and local law enforcement. It is also long past time to confront the painful truth that for many Americans our justice system is anything but just. Our commitment to equality demands that we take action. "The President, top officials at … Continue Reading


07.14.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy, On the SNDA amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act

This important debate about how to improve our schools is an opportunity to ensure that children have access to equal educational opportunities. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students often face pervasive harassment and bullying in our schools. We must ensure that all children can attend school in a safe and healthy environment. That is why I am proud to support the amendment offered by Senator Franken. Similar to his bill on this topic, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, this am… Continue Reading


07.14.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., Ranking Member, State Department And Foreign Operations Subcommittee) On The Announcement Of An Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program

"After many years of painstaking negotiations, I am very encouraged by President Obama's announcement this morning. Diplomacy is far preferable to war, and if this agreement can achieve its goal and in so doing prevent the United States from being drawn into another open-ended and potentially catastrophic war in the Middle East, that will be a monumental achievement. "It is unfortunate that some in Congress and elsewhere sought to derail this difficult and extraordinary diplomatic effort from … Continue Reading


07.13.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Pending Nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims

The United States Court of Federal Claims has been referred to as the "keeper of the nation's conscience" and "the People's Court." This court was created by Congress approximately 160 years ago and embodies the constitutional principle that individuals have rights against their government. As President Lincoln has said, "It is as much the duty of Government to render prompt justice against itself, in favor of citizens, as it is to administer the same between private individuals." That is wha… Continue Reading


07.13.15

Following Historic Win in Women’s World Cup, Leahy Unveils Senate Resolution Calling For Award Equity For Female Soccer Athletes

(Monday, July 13, 2015) - The 2015 Women's World Cup drew international attention and record-breaking audiences, yet the female athletes who competed this year were compensated far less than their male counterparts. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) spoke out against this pay inequity Monday, and unveiled a resolution calling on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to immediately eliminate gender discrimination between male and female athletes. "The United Sta… Continue Reading


07.13.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The President’s Decision to Commute the Sentences of 46 Individuals

[President Obama on Monday commuted the sentences of 46 individuals serving time for drug offenses. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long opposed mandatory minimums and advocated for comprehensive criminal justice reform. He is the coauthor of the Justice Safety Valve Act, a bipartisan bill that allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum sentence, and is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act to lower nonviolent drug mandator… Continue Reading


07.10.15

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On New Revelations Regarding The Shooting In Charleston, South Carolina

"It is heartbreaking to learn the tragedy that struck the members and families of Mother Emanuel Church and shook the entire nation possibly could have been prevented. We simply cannot have such failures in our background check system, and peoples' lives are at stake. Clearly, more oversight is needed. I expect the Senate Judiciary Committee will be looking further into this matter so we can make sure such a tragic mistake is never repeated." # # # # #… Continue Reading


07.10.15

Following Historic Win In Women’s World Cup, Leahy Calls For Pay Equity For Female Athletes

(Friday, July 10, 2015) - The 2015 Women's World Cup drew international attention and record-breaking audiences, yet the athletes who competed this year were compensated far less than their male counterparts. With soccer fans gathering in New York today to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team for its decisive victory over Japan earlier this week, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday that Americans should demand equal treatment for all athletes, regardless of their gender. "Equal pay for… Continue Reading

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