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Press Releases

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

03.26.15

Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy “Leahy Law” Workshop On Accountability And Prevention United States Institute of Peace

Thank you Nancy and Tom, and thanks to the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Department of State for sponsoring this discussion. Twenty-one years ago when I wrote what has since become known as the Leahy Law, I don't think anyone expected that it would attract so much attention - not just in this country but around the world. Back then, as many of you know, there were provisions in the Foreign Assistance Act that cut off aid to countries when there was a "consistent pattern of gross violation… Continue Reading


03.24.15

Leahy And Grassley Step Up Pressure On Justice Department For Details On Use of Cell Phone Tracking Technology

(TUESDAY, March 24, 2015) - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are stepping up their push for answers from top Obama administration officials on the use of cell-site simulators, which can sweep up the cell phone signals of innocent Americans without their knowledge. Their new letter is a continuation of their work together examining privacy implications and concerns raised by law enforcement agencies' use of new technologies. Grassley chairs the Senate Judiciary Committ… Continue Reading


03.24.15

Judiciary Committee THIS WEEK To Start Consideration Of Leahy Bill To Reauthorize Lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Grant Program

(TUESDAY, March 24, 2015) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday will take the first step to advance Senator Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) legislation to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, which has helped Vermont law enforcement officers purchase more than 4000 bulletproof vests. Leahy's bill would extend for five years the matching grant program that helps members of law enforcement purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests. The program has helped 13,000 state… Continue Reading


03.24.15

Jericho Elementary School

On March 24, 2015, Senator Leahy held an online chat with Jericho Elementary School's 4th grade. He was impressed by the youngsters' interest in how a bill becomes a law and about his process for identifying key priorities for Vermonters. He especially enjoyed talking to them about his inspiration to become a Senator and on tactics for remaining hopeful even during distressful political times.… Continue Reading


03.23.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Loretta Lynch to Serve as Attorney General of the United States

Loretta Lynch, the nominee to be our next Attorney General, has now been awaiting a vote on the Senate floor for 25 days. I have spoken many times about her historic nomination; her inspiring family; and her passion for the highest callings of public service. Last week, a distinguished group of bipartisan law enforcement officials came together to call for the confirmation of Loretta Lynch. These individuals have dedicated the better part of their careers to protecting the American people, a… Continue Reading


03.20.15

Leahy: Vermont Nets $9 M For Innovative Pilot Program Pairing SNAP With Jobs Training

(FRIDAY, March 20, 2015) -- Vermont will be among the first states in the country to pilot a program designed to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-eligible (3SquaresVT) participants find new jobs and develop new skills for the workforce, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday. The State of Vermont community partners across Vermont are being awarded $9 million in competitive federal grants to fund the pilot program and evaluate the results, so the best approaches can later b… Continue Reading


03.19.15

Feinstein, Leahy Introduce Bill To Ensure Consumers Are Informed About BPA In Food Packaging

C Feinstein, Leahy Introduce Bill To Ensure Consumers Are Informed About BPA In Food Packaging Washington-Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today introduced the BPA in Food Packaging Right to Know Act to ensure consumers know whether the chemical Bisphenol-A is used in food packaging. The bill would require food packaged with BPA to have a label that reads as follows: "This food packaging contains BPA, an endocrine-disrupting… Continue Reading


03.19.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Pending Trafficking Legislation

Earlier today, Senator Cornyn suggested that we make the funds collected from traffickers "subject" to the appropriations process to get around this impasse, but that does not solve the problem. The pending legislation came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, an authorizing committee that does not appropriate funds. We should be telling appropriators that we believe services to trafficking victims are important by authorizing funds. As the most senior member of that Appropriations Committee … Continue Reading


03.19.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Consideration of the Committee Reported Substitute to S. 178

An important debate occurred yesterday on the Senate floor between two of the cosponsors of the bill we are considering. It was what many would call a "C-SPAN Moment," a focused and memorable discussion of a significant issue now before the Senate. It was an honest discussion about what is at stake in the debate we are having right now. The core question is how we are going to support the survivors of what we all agree is a heinous and deplorable crime. Late yesterday, Senator Feinstein arti… Continue Reading


03.19.15

Leahy: The Senate Should Not Put Limits On What Health Services Trafficking Victims Can Seek

(Thursday, March 19, 2015) - Pending legislation in the Senate to combat human trafficking would impose limitations on the health services available to trafficking survivors, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) underscored Thursday. In a floor statement, he urged Senate Republicans to drop this restriction and work across the aisle to pass legislation to combat the scourge of human trafficking. "These are children who have been bought and sold like animals. They h… Continue Reading


03.19.15

Bellows Free Academy Middle School

On March 19, 2015, Senator Leahy held an online chat with the 8th graders of Bellows Free Academy Middle School. He was impressed by the classroom's engagement on the Constitution and its effect on building legislation in the U.S. Senate. He also enjoyed discussing how his experience as Vermont's State Attorney has helped him as a Senator serving Vermonters.… Continue Reading


03.18.15

As Senate Republicans Prolong Partisan Debate, Leahy Calls For Senators to Come Together & Support Survivors of Human Trafficking

(Wednesday, March 18, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged all Senators Wednesday to set aside partisan politics and pass meaningful legislation to combat human trafficking. "We must pay attention to what survivors tell us they need. We have not walked in their shoes. We are not here to second guess, or to assume we know best," Leahy said. "Our job is to listen and do all we can to support them as they rebuild their lives." Over the last week, dozens … Continue Reading


03.18.15

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

Each year Sunshine Week reminds us that we cannot take for granted our democratic system of government. Our Nation's founders understood that to maintain a true democracy, we must have an open government. Only an open government can be truly accountable to the people. But pulling back the curtain on the internal workings of government agencies is not always easy, and it is not always popular. In some cases, it generates great controversy, as was the case with Senator Feinstein's hard-fought… Continue Reading


03.18.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on “The Impact of Abusive Patent Litigation Practices on the American Economy”

America's patent system fuels our Nation's greatest innovations. It promotes investment in new products and designs that benefit us all. In recent years, however, some bad actors have abused the patent system in ways that detract from its purpose. Small businesses in Vermont have been threatened with patent suits simply for using office equipment they purchased off the shelf. Website owners have faced costly litigation for using basic software in e-commerce. Instead of using patents to driv… Continue Reading


03.17.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Assault on Press Freedom in Turkey Senate Floor

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I have spoken many times on the Senate floor in defense of press freedom because it is a fundamental cornerstone of a democratic society. Today I want to briefly draw the Senate's attention to the situation in Turkey, one of the many countries in the world where this basic right is under threat by officials in the government who seek to silence their critics. Recently, in the latest assault on press freedom, Turkish police arrested and detained nearly two dozen member… Continue Reading


03.17.15

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Hearing on “Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers”

Almost two years ago, the Senate came together to pass comprehensive legislation to reform our broken immigration system. The bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744) took meaningful steps to help U.S. businesses fill critical job needs, while ensuring protections remain in place to help and train American workers. Importantly, it did so while focusing on our broken immigration system as a whole. The Senate bill acknowledged that we can only … Continue Reading


03.17.15

Leahy: Victims Of Trafficking Deserve Our Attention

(Tuesday, March 17, 2015) - In a floor speech Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on lawmakers to listen to trafficking survivors and victims' advocates who are urging the Senate to take partisan politics out of pending legislation to combat human trafficking. At issue is language in the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act authored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and pending in the Senate that would restrict the access of victims of human traffic… Continue Reading


03.17.15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee On Voting in Opposition to Cloture on the Committee Reported Substitute to S. 178

One of the lessons that I have learned in my time as a Senator is that if you listen to the people you serve, really listen to them, you will almost always do the right thing. This morning, as some Senators are trying to shut off debate and end our efforts to provide a comprehensive, victim-centered response to the horrible crime of human trafficking, I ask that we stop and listen. Listen to the voices of the survivors. What they are saying is clear: Please stop playing politics with our lives. … Continue Reading


03.17.15

Sunshine Week Guest Column From Senator Patrick Leahy: Building A Stronger Democracy Through Government Transparency

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, 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." Transparency enables the American people to hold their government accountable.… Continue Reading


03.17.15

Victims’ Groups Continue Urging Senate Republicans To Take Politics Out Of Trafficking Debate

(Monday, March 16, 2015) - Organizations dedicated to providing vital services to victims of human trafficking are urgently calling on Senate Republicans to work across the aisle and pass meaningful legislation to address a critical issue affecting thousands of Americans. The call from groups representing children, trafficking victims, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence comes one day before the Senate casts a procedural vote on legislation containing controversial language authored b… Continue Reading

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