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Press Releases

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

08.05.15

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

We began this year with a new Republican majority in the Senate promising to govern responsibly. Unfortunately, this promise has so far proven hollow. Beginning with the shameful treatment of the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General, the Republican leadership has used excuse after excuse to keep the Senate from voting on those nominated to serve in our justice system. It took four months for the Republican majority to schedule a vote on a single judicial nomination. So far this… Continue Reading


08.05.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy Thoughts on the Iran Nuclear Agreement United States Senate Floor

This is not the first time nor will it be the last time I speak in this chamber about the Iran nuclear agreement. But after listening to some of the hearings on this subject in the House and Senate last week I want to provide a bit of my own perspective on the challenge before us. I remember during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when some of President Kennedy's top advisors as well as Members of Congress pushed for a military attack. A war between the two nuclear superpowers would have - at… Continue Reading


08.04.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Discrimination Against Dominicans of Haitian Descent

I have traveled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and am familiar with the history of racial tensions between the population of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent, and other citizens of the Dominican Republic. These problems are by no means unique to these two neighboring countries, nor are there easy solutions. In addition to race there is competition for land, social services, and jobs. But while this situation should not be oversimplified, the way the Dominican governmen… Continue Reading


08.04.15

Leahy Joins As Original Cosponsor On Bill To Halt Unfair Tax Handouts To Big Oil

(TUESDAY, Aug. 4, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has joined in introducing legislation to end taxpayer subsidies to the "Big 5" oil companies and to apply that $22 billion in savings toward reducing the federal deficit. Leahy said: "These subsidies, paid for by the American people, are senseless and unconscionable. They are an ancient holdover from the earliest days of the carbon economy. If these loopholes ever were justified, that time has long passed." Leahy noted that these five … Continue Reading


08.04.15

Lee & Leahy Press Senate to Protect Email Privacy

(Tuesday, August 4, 2015) - As the Senate prepares to take up sweeping cybersecurity information sharing legislation this week, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said lawmakers must also work to protect Americans' emails and other private information stored in the cloud. On Tuesday, Lee and Leahy filed the bipartisan Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2015 as an amendment to the information sharing bill. The Lee-Leahy ECPA bill updates a three-decade… Continue Reading


08.03.15

STATEMENT OF SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY ON S. 1881 TO PROHIBIT FEDERAL FUNDING TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD CENTERS

We are now seven months into the 114th Congress, and our Nation is faced with many challenges. Less than a year ago, the American people were promised that if Republicans took control of the Senate, our focus would be on committee-reported bills and promoting bipartisanship. Leader McConnell pledged not to fill the amendment tree and instead to allow for an open amendment process when bills were brought to the floor. These promises have already been broken and this week will likely see them b… Continue Reading


08.03.15

Leahy Hails President’s Clean Power Plan

[Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday praised President Obama for taking the most significant step yet to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases in order to address the causes of climate change. The Clean Power Plan sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants, requiring each state to create its own plan for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels, by 2030. Power plants are the nation's largest stationary source of … Continue Reading


07.30.15

Ahead Of 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Leahy Calls On Congress To Restore And Advance This Landmark Law

(THURSDAY, July 30, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), author of the Voting Rights Advancement Act and a longtime champion of voting rights, joined House Democrats on Thursday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to mark the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the original Voting Rights Act. The landmark law ushered in strong protections against racial discrimination in voting, and Congress has reauthorized the measure four times since it was enacted in 1965. … Continue Reading


07.30.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee On the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015

"The growing threat of cybercrime and cyberterrorism is very real, and it requires a thoughtful and bipartisan response from Congress. Senator Feinstein has worked across the aisle for years to address the many concerns I and other Senators have raised with the Intelligence Committee's information sharing bill. If the Majority Leader is serious about improving our nation's cybersecurity, he will listen to Senator Feinstein and others who have called for a meaningful amendment process. If he w… Continue Reading


07.30.15

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On Supporting The Highway Trust Fund

[In a vote of 65 to 34, the U.S. Senate Thursday afternoon approved a comprehensive six-year authorization for transportation programs and the Highway Trust Fund. The House has not yet drafted or acted on a long-term bill. Because the six-year bill is only partially funded, the House and Senate this week also are passing a short-term fix to replenish the Highway Trust Fund before its funding would have been depleted tomorrow at Midnight. Leahy, who has long pushed for long-term solutions for … Continue Reading


07.30.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy, On the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid,

Today we celebrate a true milestone in our Nation's history, and we mark this reminder that basic health insurance is not a privilege for the wealthy, but a right, for every American. On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law establishing the Medicare and Medicaid programs. For 50 years, these two programs have offered health care and economic security to millions of Americans and their families. The debate over the right to basic healt… Continue Reading


07.29.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On Partisan Efforts To Defund Health Services For Women

"Republican senators again are attacking women's health with a renewed effort to eliminate health centers that thousands of Vermonters rely on every day. Across the country, millions of low-income women depend on Planned Parenthood health centers for lifesaving preventive treatments and care including annual exams, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and HIV screenings and counseling. These clinics are the primary source of health services for many women. Eliminating federal funding to Pl… Continue Reading


07.28.15

Leahy: Vermont Nets $6.7 M. In Homeland Security Preparedness Grants

(TUESDAY, July 28, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday announced that the State of Vermont will receive $6.7 million in federal grants to develop prevention and preparedness programs to respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. The grants were awarded under a formula championed by Leahy to protect smaller states like Vermont and were made public by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Tuesday. Leahy said, "Vermonters understand that it is … Continue Reading


07.28.15

Congress Passes Bill Allowing Universities to Collaborate on Financial Aid Best Practices

(TUESDAY, July 28, 2015) -- The U.S. House of Representatives Monday night passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) to extend an expiring antitrust exemption that allows certain colleges and universities to continue to collaborate on issues of need-based financial aid. The legislation unanimously passed in the Senate on July 14 and cleared the House of Representatives by a… Continue Reading


07.27.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the NSA’s Announcement Regarding the End of the Bulk Records Collection Program Under Section 215 of FISA

[The National Security Agency announced Monday that it will purge metadata previously collected under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, pending ongoing litigation. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) authored the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 that ended this dragnet collection of Americans' phone records.] "Thanks to the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act, the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records will finally come to an end later this year. And the admi… Continue Reading


07.24.15

DURBIN, LEAHY, ELLISON, CICILLINE INTRODUCE BILL TO ENHANCE PROTECTIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN) and David Cicilline (D-RI) today introduced legislation to enhance protections for refugees and asylum seekers fleeing religious persecution, hold accountable the perpetrators of religious freedom violations, and reauthorize and reform the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). "Our country has a long tradition of promoting religious freedom around the globe," said Durb… Continue Reading


07.23.15

Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) To Nigerian President Buhari’s Mis-Directed Criticism Of The Leahy Law On Human Rights

"It is well documented by the State Department and by respected human rights organizations that Nigerian army personnel have, for many years, engaged in a pattern and practice of gross violations of human rights against the Nigerian people and others, including summary executions of prisoners, indiscriminate attacks against civilians, torture, forced disappearances and rape. Rarely have the perpetrators been prosecuted or punished. "This abusive conduct not only violates the laws of war, it cr… Continue Reading


07.23.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), On Supporting the Highway Trust Fund

Vermonters, like many Americans, are frustrated. They are frustrated with short term patches that don't make real investments in crumbling infrastructure. They are frustrated with seeing meaningful policy advance, while Congress bickers over how we pay for it - and at what expense to other critical programs. Passing a long-term authorization to make needed improvements to our aging infrastructure is a matter of common sense. It's a matter of safety. And quite frankly, for us in Congress, it'… Continue Reading


07.23.15

Leahy comment on House passage of bill to block states from mandating GMO labeling

[Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He opposes the Pompeo bill passed by the House and is a cosponsor of a separate bill introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, which would create a mandatory national labeling standard, doing at the national level what Vermont is trying achieve at the state level.] "Supporters of this bill warn of a patchwork of state regulations. The best way to avoid that is … Continue Reading


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

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