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


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Accountability Within the Nigerian Military

Mr. President, nearly a year ago when Muhammadu Buhari became the first Nigerian to defeat a sitting president through the ballot box I greeted the news with cautious optimism. For the most part, his message was and remains one that encourages greater cooperation between the United States and Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram and chart a brighter course for Africa's most populous nation. Recent attacks by Boko Haram have served as a sobering reminder of the challenges Nigeria continues to face, an… Continue Reading


Leahy, Cornyn Bill Strengthening FOIA Passes Senate Unanimously

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, released the following statements after the Senate passed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2015 to reform the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): "An open and transparent government is paramount to a healthy democracy, and today's vote sends a clear message that the American people have a fundamental right to know what their government is doing," said Sen. Cornyn. "This legislation will update and st… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Life of Berta Caceres

Mr. President, the woman in the photograph next to me is Berta Caceres, an indigenous Honduran environmental activist who was murdered in her home on March 3rd. Ms. Caceres was internationally admired, and in the 12 days since her death, and since my remarks on the morning after and on the day of her funeral on March 5th, there has been an outpouring of grief, outrage, remembrances, denunciations, and declarations from people in Honduras and around the world. Among the appalling facts that fe… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Final Passage of S. 337, The FOIA Improvement Act of 2015

Sunshine Week is a time to celebrate one of our nation's most basic values-the public's right to know. Our very democracy is built on the idea that our government should not operate in secret. James Madison, a staunch defender of open government and whose birthday we celebrate each year during Sunshine Week, wisely noted that for our democracy to succeed, people "must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives." It is only through transparency and access to information that the American pe… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), On GE Labeling, A Consumer’s Right To Know, And The Senate’s Own “Dark Act”

I want to set the record straight. Contrary to the remarks of the Senate Majority Leader yesterday, Vermont has not recently passed a GE food labeling law. Let's be clear and accurate in our words in this chamber. It was in May 2014 - nearly two years ago - that, after two years of debate and more than 50 committee hearings featuring testimony from more than 130 representatives on all sides of the issue, Vermont's Governor signed into law a disclosure requirement for genetically engineered in… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., Ranking Member, State Department And Foreign Operations Subcommittee) On Further Rules Changes To Facilitate Americans’ Travel To Cuba

"I applaud President Obama for his vision and resolve in widening opportunities for Americans to engage with Cuba. With these latest regulatory changes the U.S. government will finally stop requiring chaperones for American citizens who travel to Cuba, and financial transactions with U.S. dollars will be simplified. These reforms will benefit the people of both countries, and I know it will be welcomed by Vermonters who are eager to engage in a wide range of activities there, from educational … Continue Reading


Leahy Kicks Off Sunshine Week In Keynote Speech At National Archives

(Monday, March 14, 2016) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a longtime champion of the Freedom of Information Act, said Monday that the Senate must pass the FOIA Improvement Act as soon as this week. Kicking off Sunshine Week with a keynote address at the National Archives, Leahy called for the Senate to pass the bipartisan legislation which he successfully steered through the Senate last Congress. The bipartisan bill, coauthored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), requires Federal agencies to ope… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking and Opioid Addiction

I was disturbed to hear Senator McConnell's remarks on the floor last week questioning my commitment to supporting survivors of human trafficking. I think anyone who follows our efforts to stop this terrible crime knows the ridiculousness of that claim. I was particularly surprised to hear it coming from Senator McConnell who, along with Senator Grassley and other Republicans, voted against reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the Violence Against Women Act - two watershed … Continue Reading


From All Corners, Americans Are Calling On Republican Senators To Uphold Constitution and Consider SCOTUS Nominee

From All Corners, Americans Are Calling On Republican Senators To Uphold Constitution and Consider SCOTUS Nominee WASHINGTON (Friday, March 11, 2016) - Business leaders, legal scholars, bar associations, historians, and Americans from all corners are calling on Republican Senators to do their jobs when it comes to filling the Supreme Court vacancy. Despite the growing calls for the Senate to follow 100 years of bipartisan tradition and provide a public hearing and a vote on the president's Sup… Continue Reading


Leahy Hails Today’s Progress On Improving Cross-Border Travel Between Vermont and Canada As Prime Minster Trudeau Endorses Preclearance Agreement

(THURSDAY, March, 10, 2016) - During the first official visit by a sitting Canadian Prime Minister in nearly two decades, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday endorsed the U.S.-Canada preclearance agreement to expedite travel and strengthen trade and national security between the two countries. The endorsement signals support of U.S implementing legislation introduced last week by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), joined by chief Republican cosponsor Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Prime Min… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On Final Passage of S. 524, The Comprehensive Addiction And Recovery Act Of 2016

Eight years ago, I convened the first in a series of hearings in Vermont where the Senate Judiciary Committee examined the growing problem of drug addiction in rural communities. As we gathered in Rutland in March 2008, the mayor noted in his opening statement that there was a part of him that wished that the Committee did not have to be there in his city that day. He wished that his community was not facing the scourge of drug abuse and addiction that was creeping across rural America. But … Continue Reading


Senate Approves Leahy-Backed Comprehensive Legislation To Combat Opioid & Heroin Addiction

(THURSDAY, March 10, 2016) - The U.S. Senate Thursday overwhelmingly, in a vote of 94 to 1, approved major legislation backed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that addresses the opioid/heroin crisis that has gripped Vermont and states across the nation. Leahy on Thursday praised the Senate's passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a bill which aims to tackle opioid and heroin addiction through the same kind of community-based approach that has made significant improvements… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter To FDA Backing REAL Maple Syrup

(THURSDAY, March 10, 2016) - Continuing efforts to protect Vermont maple sugar producers and consumers' right to know what is in their food, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.), joined by 28 members of Congress, Thursday urged U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf to exercise his legal authority to investigate and take action against products that falsely claim to contain maple syrup. "Product after product … Continue Reading


Senate Republicans Block Consensus Judicial Nominees Pending On The Floor

(Wednesday, March 9, 2016) - Senate Republicans, who are refusing any Senate process for the next Supreme Court nominee, are also blocking lower court judges from being confirmed. On Tuesday, Republicans denied confirmation votes to long-pending nominees with Republican support. Republicans on Tuesday denied the confirmation of Waverly Crenshaw, an African-American nominee who would fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the district court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Crenshaw was unan… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Department of Justice Oversight Hearing

I want to welcome our Nation's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, back to the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of the core responsibilities of this Committee is to provide oversight of the Justice Department. It is critical that carrying out that responsibility include public hearings with the Attorney General so that the American people can watch as she responds to our questions. They deserve the opportunity to evaluate for themselves the work of the Department. I l… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the 51st Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March

Today marks the 51st anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Each year we commemorate the events of that fateful day, because it helped transform our Nation and proved to be a catalyst for the passage of the Voting Rights Act. For the last two years, this commemoration has been a sad reminder of what five justices did to that cornerstone civil rights law. In Shelby County v. Holder a narrow majority of the Court drove a stake through the heart of the Voting Rights Act when it struck down the coverage f… Continue Reading


Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy On Remembering Berta Caceres

I want to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to Berta Caceres' family, her friends, her organization COPINH, and her community who feel most directly the great sadness of losing her. Berta was a champion of the rights of indigenous people and of the natural environment. She risked her life for those causes, braving the threats and the fear, knowing that any day could be her last. For her courage and commitment she was admired around the world, including in the Congress of the United … Continue Reading


Palabras del Senador de Estados Unidos Patrick Leahy Recordando a Berta Cáceres

Palabras del Senador de Estados Unidos Patrick Leahy Recordando a Berta Cáceres 5 de marzo de 2016 Quiero expresar mi más profundo pésame y condolencias a la familia de Berta Cáceres, a sus amigos, a su organización COPINH, y a su comunidad, que sienten de manera más directa la gran tristeza de perderla. Berta era una campeona de la defensa de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y del medio ambiente. Arriesgó su vida por esas causas, … Continue Reading


Senator Patrick Leahy On Vermont’s 225th Birthday As A State

One constant through our history is our independent streak. We also have always prized our privacy. We held out for the Bill of Rights before joining the Union. We value our quality of life, which has led to conflicts with less stringent rules and practices at the federal level and in other states. For instance we have higher environmental standards than other states, but we have had to cope with downwind pollution from other states. We led the way toward marriage equality. This drive to m… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Berta Caceres

Mr. President, last night Honduras lost one of its most courageous, charismatic indigenous leaders, Berta Caceres. Ms. Caceres was the General Coordinator of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, and she was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca. According to initial reports, at least two people broke down the door of the house where she was staying for the evening, shot and killed her. Berta Caceres spent her life fighting in defense of i… Continue Reading

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