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


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


Sens. Leahy and McCain and Reps. Lance and Quigley Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill To Open Taxpayer-Funded Congressional Research Reports To The Public

(THURSDAY, March 3, 2016) - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Representatives Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) on Thursday introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to make reports prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) - Congress's research arm - freely available to the American public. A legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS issues or updates more than 3000 reports each year on topics ranging from the structur… Continue Reading


Reaction of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee On The State Department And Foreign Operations) On The Assassination Of Berta Caceres In Honduras

"Berta Caceres spent her life fighting for indigenous rights, and this horrific crime demonstrates that no one, not even an internationally known social activist, is safe in Honduras if they speak out against corruption or abuse of authority. "Ms. Caceres was an inspiration to people around the world, and her death is a great loss for all the people of Honduras. The immediate question is what President Hernandez and his government -- which has too often ignored or passively condoned attacks … Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch Announce $1.4M In Affordable Housing Grants

(THURSDAY, March 3, 2016) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday announced more than $1.4 million in NeighborWorks America grants to revitalize communities and support access to affordable housing across Vermont. NeighborWorks America is a public nonprofit established by Congress to invest in revitalizing communities and preserving affordable housing across the country. In Vermont, five NeighborWorks affiliate organizatio… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Shaheen’s Emergency Supplemental Amendment

The American people sent all of us here to solve problems. To strengthen and support our Nation and its people, and to help make ours a more perfect union. They expect us to govern responsibly, and to work together to improve our communities. This week we are considering the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA. Few problems in our country have had as devastating an impact on American families as opioid addiction. From Vermont, to Kentucky, to Ohio, communities across the count… Continue Reading


Leahy Calls For Open Debate In Judiciary Committee On SCOTUS

(THURSDAY, March 3, 2016) - The Senate Judiciary Committee has not had a business meeting since the untimely death of Justice Scalia. Instead, Committee Republicans have canceled regularly scheduled markups and instead met behind closed doors to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy. In a floor statement, Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called for a transparent debate with all Judiciary Committee members present to discuss filling the Supreme Court vacancy. "The American people deserve to he… Continue Reading


Merkley, Leahy, Tester, Feinstein Introduce GMO Food Labeling Legislation

(WEDNESDAY, March 2, 2016) -- Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Wednesday introduced legislation that would ensure that consumers can find GMO ingredient labeling on food packaging while ensuring that food producers are not subject to confusing or conflicting labeling requirements in different locations. The senators' legislation presents an alternative to a Senate Agriculture Committee bill that would hide ingredient… Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Facilitate U.S. Preclearance Operations In Canada, Paving The Way For Expedited Air, Rail, Marine And Overland Travel

(TUESDAY, March 1, 2016) - Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy on Tuesday led a bipartisan coalition of Senate and House legislators in introducing long-awaited legislation to facilitate travel and commerce between the United States and Canada, the largest U.S. trading partner. The Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National Security Act paves the way for expansion of preclearance facilities, operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, at land, rail, marine and air ports of departure in Canada. The… Continue Reading


Opening Remarks Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Senate Agriculture Committee Business Meeting To Consider Draft GE Labeling Preemption Bill

It comes as no surprise, I am sure, that I will not support this bill. This legislation undermines the public's right to know and preempts mandatory labels in states, replacing them with a paltry voluntary standard that already exists today under guidance from the FDA. Not only would this legislation preempt Vermont's Act 120 GE disclosure requirement, but it would block other state laws like Alaska's requirement to label all products containing genetically engineered fish and shell fish, and … Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Must Direct More Resources To Combat Opioid & Heroin Addiction

(MONDAY, Feb. 29, 2016) - The Senate is poised this week to consider the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a bipartisan bill to promote a community-based response to addiction to heroin and other opioids. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a leading supporter of the bill who has long championed efforts to treat addiction, said the Senate must embrace an approach that includes more resources and a greater focus on preventive methods. "Addiction is a disease. And our tools for combat… Continue Reading


Leahy And Sanders Oppose Bill, Set For Senate Markup Tuesday, That Would Block Vermont’s GE Labeling Law

(MONDAY, Feb. 29, 2016) - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Monday issued the following joint statement ahead of the Senate Agriculture Committee's Tuesday markup of legislation introduced by Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) that would block Vermont and other states from requiring labels on foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients or seeds that are genetically engineered. Leahy is a leader and former chairman of the Agriculture Commi… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Justice Department’s Expanded Review of Forensic Evidence

[The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it is expanding its review of the FBI's flawed hair-analysis unit to other forensic disciplines. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former prosecutor, has pressed the Department to examine and update their forensic evidence standards in all disciplines. He has also led oversight efforts to push the FBI and DOJ to review all cases where errors by the hair analysis unit may have been made and promptly notify i… Continue Reading


Senator Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The SCOTUS Vacancy And Continuing Efforts To De-Legitimize President Obama’s Authority

"Let's be blunt: Some of the pressure on the Senate to ignore its duty to fairly consider a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy comes from the unending campaign outside the Senate to de-legitimize this President's authority. "Even before President Obama took office, and ever since then, there has been an unrelenting and cynical campaign by some hyper-partisans to de-legitimize this president's authority. There were the birthers, and there have been and still are spurious slurs of all kin… Continue Reading


A Bad Effort in Congress to Thwart States on Food Labels

The Senate could soon join the House to try to make it harder for consumers to know what is in their food by prohibiting state governments from requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods. This is a bad idea that lawmakers and the Obama administration should oppose. In July, Vermont will become the first state to require the labeling of genetically modified food. Many food companies and farm groups say such laws are problematic because they could dissuade consumers from buying foods th… Continue Reading

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