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


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Transferring Detainees from the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay

"This week, the President reminded the nation that the power of our leadership as a nation 'depends on the power of our example.' I agree wholeheartedly. The indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo contradicts our most basic principles of justice, degrades our international standing, and harms our national security. Just the existence of this facility serves as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and it costs American taxpayers millions of dollars. "While Congress has hindered the ab… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy About The President’s Focus In His State Of The Union Message

I share the President's optimism about America's future. But as far as we've come from the depths of the Great Recession of 2008, much more needs to be done to open the doors of economic opportunity and help working families. We need steady, focused action to make the economy and government work for the middle class, and not just for the swelling ranks of the rich and the privileged. For our middle class we need policies that bubble up, not failed trickle down schemes. Making college availab… Continue Reading


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

Today, we will vote on the long-overdue confirmation of Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania. Judge Restrepo was nominated nearly 14 months ago and his nomination has been pending on the floor since last July after the Judiciary Committee voted out his nomination by voice vote. Judge Restrepo's nomination has overwhelming support, including the strong bipartisan support of his home state Senators, Sen… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch And Gov. Shumlin Announce $46 M. In USDA Guaranteed Loan For New Energy Efficiency Program

BURLINGTON, Vt. (FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2016) - Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Peter Shumlin and representatives of Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch were joined by United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Burlington Friday to announce a $46 million federal loan program to bolster investments in energy efficiency and renewable power projects across Vermont. Administered by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Systemic Problems With FOIA Compliance At The State Department

"FOIA is our premier law for ensuring openness and accountability in our federal government. FOIA compliance must be a priority, including for the department in charge of our nation's foreign policy. Unfortunately, today's report confirms what many FOIA practitioners have long known - that systemic problems within the State Department to respond to requests have existed for decades, spanning Democratic and Republican administrations, and have denied the public timely access to information. Th… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On The President’s Administrative Actions On Gun Violence

"I share the President's frustration that the Republican Leadership in Congress has blocked votes on commonsense measures to prevent gun violence. I moved through the Senate Judiciary Committee the earlier Senate bill to close the loopholes that allow criminals to evade background checks, but that bill and other commonsense reforms were blocked on the Senate Floor with Republican filibusters. As a responsible lifelong gun owner and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I know that closin… Continue Reading


Leahy, Local Advocates Announce Expansion of Charitable Deductions of Food Donations

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30, 2015) - Joined by local advocates to end hunger and food insecurity, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday announced at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington that a provision incentivizing donations of surplus food to local food pantries was recently signed into law, helping efforts to cut back on food waste and supporting communities help those in need across the country. During this congress, Leahy successfully led a bipartisan effort to e… Continue Reading


Leahy: Sharper Focus On America’s Middle Class Needed In The New Year

[Late Friday morning, the U.S. Senate approved legislation to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2016 and extend tax credits for millions of low- and middle-income class families. The final budget bill, which Leahy voted for and is expected to be signed by the President TODAY, includes a wide variety of funding investments that reflect Senator Patrick Leahy's priorities for Vermont. Leahy holds the most seniority on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which handled the S… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Need To Combat Straw Purchasing & Illegal Gun Trafficking

"We must do everything we can to ensure that deadly weapons - like the rifles used in the San Bernardino shootings - do not fall into the hands of terrorists, violent criminals, and drug traffickers. Law enforcement officials have complained for years that they lack effective tools necessary to investigate and deter straw purchasers and gun traffickers. Today's arrest of the individual who provided the rifles for the San Bernardino shooters is a reminder that we need to strengthen our laws to … Continue Reading


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

As we close the book on the first session of the 114th Congress, our attention is on the thousands of pages in the omnibus spending bill. But as the Republican leadership rushes to spin the press about what the Senate has accomplished in their twelve months in the majority, there is one Senate responsibility that should not get lost in the noise. That is our responsibility to equip our coequal branches of government, the Federal judiciary and the Executive branch, with the confirmed public ser… Continue Reading


Leahy: Expansion Of Charitable Deductions Of Food Included In Legislation Poised To Clear Congress By End Of This Week

(THURSDAY, Dec. 17, 2015) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) praises the inclusion of a provision aimed at fighting hunger by incentivizing donations of surplus food to local food shelves in a legislative package set to pass the U.S. Senate this week. Leahy has long been the leading advocate for the bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act, dating back to his time working with former Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). The soon-to-be enacted provision, which was the Ho… Continue Reading


A Look Back at the First Year of the U.S.-Cuba Relationship December 17, 2014 - Present

Key Actions and Accomplishments December 17, 2014: President Obama moves to normalize relations with Cuba. Decision follows 18 months of secret negotiations between U.S. and Cuba and the release of American aid contractor Alan Gross. Announcement of plans over the coming months to ease travel and financial restrictions on Cuba. Paves the way for U.S.-Cuba to restore diplomatic ties, reopen embassies, and potentially lift the embargo. January 16, 2015: Departments of Commerce and Treasur… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On The One Year Anniversary of the Release of Alan Gross

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Alan Gross from a Cuban prison where he spent five years. During that time he lost more than 100 pounds, lost five teeth, his mother died, his mother-in-law died, a brother-in-law died, and he missed his daughter's wedding. I worked for three years to help obtain Alan Gross' release and the return of the remaining members of the so-called Cuban Five who had served more than 15 years in U.S. prisons. Scott Gilb… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Republicans Must Prioritize Judicial Nominees In New Year

(Tuesday, December 15, 2015) -The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed just 11 judicial nominees this year, matching the fewest number of nominees confirmed by any Senate in more than half a century. But under a bipartisan agreement negotiated by Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the Senate next year will vote on five judicial nominees before the February recess. Four of these nominees are nominated to fill emergency vaca… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Lourdes Tiban

Mr. President, I want other Senators to be aware of information I received about Ecuadorian National Assembly member Lourdes Tiban, a prominent and respected leader of Ecuador's indigenous people. As an indigenous leader, Ms. Tiban has become one of the most outspoken advocates for freedom of expression, indigenous rights, and social rights in Ecuador. Not surprisingly, this has made her the target of verbal attacks by President Rafael Correa. Earlier this year, Ms. Tiban was beaten by unid… Continue Reading


Four Years After Irene, Renewal In Waterbury

This past August, we marked the four year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. Memories of communities besieged by flood waters, houses knocked from their foundations and families forever changed are still fresh for each of us, and for so many other Vermonters. But just as Vermont rebuilt from the historic 1927 floods, Vermonters have pulled together to build back stronger, smarter and better after Irene. This has required new and creative thinking, and significant collaboration between commun… Continue Reading


Leahy Welcomes Long-Delayed SEC Draft Rule On Oil And Mining Transparency

(FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2015) -- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday welcomed action by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to propose a rule on a long-delayed extractive industries transparency provision of the Wall Street reform law enacted in 2010. The transparency provision was authored by Leahy and became Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Leahy as a conferee worked closely with former Senator Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Senator Ben Cardin … Continue Reading



Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide federal funding to support the protection of the diverse plant, fish, and wildlife species in the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. In a letter to Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of the Interior, the senators urged the… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Adopts Leahy Amendment Confirming That The U.S. “Must Not Bar Individuals…Based On Their Religion”

(THURSDAY, December 10, 2015) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved an amendment authored by Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) confirming that "the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion." Leahy's amendment was adopted by a vote of 16-4. Consideration of his amendment came after some made demands earlier this week to shut the nation's borders to all Muslims. Leahy spoke out against this hateful rhetoric earlier th… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee On Consideration of the S.1318, Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act

Given recent events, Americans are concerned about protecting the country against terrorism. I am glad that the Committee was able to hear from the FBI Director yesterday, and I hope that Congress will ensure that law enforcement has the tools and resources necessary to fight terrorism. Unfortunately, the bill that we will be marking up today is not the answer. I agree with Chairman Grassley that we must protect against nuclear terrorism. That is why Senator Lee and I worked in a bicameral wa… Continue Reading

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