Sen. Patrick Leahy Profile picture
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3 Jun
Leahy Unveils Legislation To Defend Power Of The Purse…
Presidents of both parties – especially Pres. Trump -- have encroached on the Congress’ power of the purse, substituting their judgment for that of Congress. This is unacceptable.
President Trump diverts funding from military families to his wall, illegally withholds aid to our ally for his own political purposes, and denies Congress’ oversight authorities. This has to stop.
Read 3 tweets
15 May
Vermonters are receiving local products through the the federal Farmers to Families program that we pushed for, for the first time today at the Berlin Airport from 10AM-2PM.
Each household will receive: 2 gallons of milk, 2 boxes of meat, 1 box of fresh veggies, 1 box of @Cabot products and non-perishable food.
Thanks to the Abbey Group, the @VermontFoodbank, the @VTNationalGuard, the Healthy Roots Collaborative, Green Mountain Farm to School, Black River Produce, and local dairy processors including Cabot and Monument Farms for doing what you do best, taking care of Vermonters.
Read 6 tweets
29 Apr
The Founders believed that a strong, functioning postal service to bind the country together was so important that they saw fit to specifically include it in Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution. They were right. Thank you @USPS for binding us together
Some would have you believe that the Founders were wrong to enshrine @USPS in the Constitution and that the decline of first class mail renders it obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth, as proven by its critical role in the current emergency
The duty to protect and strengthen @USPS so that affordable, consistent mail delivery will be available today and into the future is one of the responsibilities of Congress. It is one I do not take lightly.
Read 3 tweets
24 Apr
Postal workers and @USPS are working long hours and putting themselves at risk to deliver letters and packages to Vermonters who cannot leave their homes because of social distancing. Thank yours!
In VT some of the most imp. community spaces in small towns are @USPS post offices. Rural carriers or postmasters are the only reps. of the fed. govt. they’ll see in a given month & everyone has a story about a great one. What are yours?
Postal workers are friends, neighbors and essential employees who work every day to keep Vermont and the nation connected. @USPS must continue to be consistent, affordable and available to every Vermonter, from Swanton to Canaan to Brattleboro to Pownal and everywhere in between.
Read 3 tweets
16 Apr
Pres Trump shamelessly blames #WHO at a time when he praised China and dismissed the virus as nothing to worry about. This is no time for hypocrisy, rewriting history, and evading responsibility. We need to work together to combat the greatest global health threat in a century.
On 1/24, Pres Trump said “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The U.S. greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well.” Now he cuts funds for #WHO for not criticizing China’s lack of transparency.
The White House criticized #WHO Dir Gen for praising China’s leadership on 1/22. On 1/24, Pres. Trump THANKED Pres Xi for his leadership.
Read 4 tweets
12 Mar
#TBT -- Yesterday I joined Senate Democrats to call on Pres Trump to invoke the #StaffordAct and consider disaster declarations that would free up funding to assist state & local governments in responding to this int’l #coronavirus health crisis.…
The #StaffordAct is named after the late Robert Stafford, a mentor of mine who was a giant of the Senate and a commanding figure in Vermont. Bob, a Republican, and Helen took Marcelle and me under their wings when I joined the Senate in 1974.
Bob and Helen and Marcelle and I became close friends, and Bob showed me that to do what is best for our country, we must set aside party labels and work together. Bob’s wisdom, calm demeanor, and ability to work across the aisle are sorely lacking in the Senate today.
Read 4 tweets
11 Mar
The American people are not looking for rhetoric when they are facing the reality of a pandemic. The new @senatedems proposal provides REAL solutions that prioritize people, not big corporations. #Coronavirus
This proposal prioritizes people, not corporations, and includes:
• Paid sick days so people can stay home;
• Help for small businesses and communities; and
• A safety net for those who may not be able to pay their rent or make their mortgage because of this health crisis.
We need to look to longer-term needs, and I hope we can pursue these policies in a bipartisan, bicameral way. A virus does not differentiate between red and blue, and how we respond should be free of politics. #Coronavirus
Read 5 tweets
10 Mar
1/ Yesterday, @SenMikeLee and I introduced two bipartisan bills to extend certain FISA surveillance authorities that expire later this week, March 15. These would keep Americans safe AND create new civil liberties protections.
2/ Our first bill – S. 3421 , USA FREEDOM of 2020 – includes broad reforms like revoking the NSA’s bulk collection program and increasing transparency and oversight of numerous surveillance authorities.
3/ Finding a reform bill that satisfies a majority of legislators can take time. That’s why we also introduced a short 3 month extension of the FISA authorities that is, critically, coupled with significant reform of the FISA amicus curiae process (S. 3420).
Read 4 tweets
6 Mar
THREAD: A glimpse into how President Trump’s relentless dishonesty trickles down in his administration, destroying its credibility and harming the nation. In four parts, ALL FROM THIS WEEK:
1/ Yesterday, a federal judge criticized AG Barr’s “lack of candor” and misrepresentations when he spun the Mueller report’s damning findings to benefit Trump. A federal Judge rebuking a sitting Attorney General like this is extraordinary.
1a/ Here’s 1 ex. of Barr’s spin, I asked after the report was released about his claim Trump “fully cooperated” w/Mueller when TRUMP TRIED TO SHUT DOWN THE INVESTIGATION. Note that Barr asks for the cite in the Mueller report, acting like it was new info.
Read 6 tweets
4 Mar
As we confront the #coronavirus, it’s important to remember that we are not Republicans or Democrats in dealing with this crisis. We are Americans. I have seen that when we come together, the Senate can be the conscience of the nation. Now is one of those times. #Appropriations
$7.8b package includes:
•$500m telehealth auth. (bringing total to $8.3 b);
•$2b to help response efforts, including $1b for state and local public health agencies;
•$3b to develop vaccines, therapeutics & diagnostics;
•$1.25b to address the virus’s spread abroad.
This is a comprehensive, bipartisan emergency #Appropriations bill designed to address the threat of the #coronavirus. I look forward to continuing to work closely with my friend @SenShelby to get this to the President’s desk as soon as possible.
Read 4 tweets
3 Mar
Berta Caceres lost her life for speaking out in defense of the natural resources her people depend on. Rather than defend her rights, the Honduran Government vilified her and other environmental activists. @WOLA_org @LAWGaction @hrw @amnesty
The Honduran Government pledged that all those responsible for the premeditated murder of Berta Caceres would be brought to justice. Four years later her family, the Honduran people, and the world are still waiting for justice.
Berta Caceres was one of many Honduran environmental activists who have been harassed, threatened, and killed. There is no better illustration of impunity than the failure of justice in these cases.
Read 6 tweets
2 Mar
With headlines changing every minute, it’s worth reflecting on just how damaging Friday’s DC Circuit ruling really is: If it stands (and it shouldn’t), given the admin’s bad faith & blanket defiance of subpoenas, it will effectively mark the end of Congressional oversight.
During impeachment, Trump’s lawyers repeatedly said Congress needs to “go to the courts to enforce a subpoena.” Now a divided court, in a flawed opinion, refused to resolve whether Congress can enforce its subpoenas, handing Trump a king’s power to silence those in his admin.
I hope and expect the full DC Circuit en banc to rehear this case and reverse it. A founding principle of this country is that no one is above the law. Never has that principle been so tested as it is today.
Read 3 tweets
14 Feb
1/3 It is hard to overstate just how dangerous this is. President Trump believes the “rule of law” = “rule of Trump.” He is lawless and presently unchecked by both his enablers in the Senate and the Attorney General.
2/3 And AG Barr’s choice of words is deceptive. He omits mention of DOJ intake or investigations (e.g., Giuliani disinfo & Durham probe). And omits Trump pressing DOJ to initiate criminal charges (too many examples to list). Barr must testify UNDER OATH.
3/3 I said during his confirmation that Barr’s long-held views on executive power would be weaponized by President Trump — a man who derides and rejects any limits on his authority. We are now seeing the fallout from this dangerous duo.
Read 3 tweets
11 Feb
Pleased to host the National Guard Caucus Bfast and talk about helping VTers home and abroad w/BG Knight (@VTNationalGuard), GEN McConville (@ArmyChiefStaff) and Gen Lengyel (@ChiefNGB)
Also with us were AF Sec Barrett (@SecAFOfficial), Gen Goldfein (@GenDaveGoldfein) and many senators. Because having our Guard ready to help on our worst days from weather, disaster or adversaries matters to everyone.
As Vice Chair of Approps and Co-Chair of the Senate Natl Guard Caucus I support the Guard bc I know that money for training and equipment makes a REAL DIFFERENCE to the families and communities large and small, across America.
Read 3 tweets
31 Jan
1/ Today I asked: what happens if we don't reject the Trump team’s BREATHTAKING argument that the Pres. can't be impeached for quid pro quos or abuses of power to help his re-election if he thinks his re-election is in the national interest? Our democracy wouldn't be the same.
2/ If the Senate endorses this, what would stop the President from illegally freezing millions of taxpayer dollars Congress appropriated to Flint, Mich., to fix its poisoned water system, until Flint’s Mayor agrees to endorse him in Michigan? NOTHING.
3/ What would stop the President from illegally freezing millions Congress appropriated to hurricane-hit Puerto Rico or farmers reeling from severe flooding in Iowa, Missouri & Nebraska, until the Gov. of PR or home state Senators agree to campaign with him. NOTHING.
Read 5 tweets
29 Jan
I just asked Managers about POTUS’ claim Ukraine ultimately got aid, so no harm/no foul. They said:
•Ukrainian allies continued to die facing Russian aggression
•Trump released aid so late that Congress had to re-approve $35M
•Undercut Ukraine’s ability to negotiate w/ Russia
The investigations-for-aid demand caused both harm & foul:
•Delayed aid jeopardized Ukraine’s defense against Russia
•That & withholding a WH meeting nearly compelled Ukraine to meddle in our elections
•Signaled to Russia that our support for Ukraine was not a priority
Trump has NOT treated Ukraine more favorably than his predecessors. Only he:
•Withheld aid for personal gain
•Removed the anti-corruption Ambassador
•Violated the Impoundment Control Act to keep the freeze secret
• Harmed Ukraine’s ability to withstand Russia
Read 3 tweets
28 Jan
Thx to Mr. Dershowitz, Senate Republicans are fundamentally misinformed about what grounds for impeachment the Constitution allows. Abuses of power ARE AT THE CORE of impeachable conduct, whether or not they constitute crimes. /1
No federal criminal laws EVEN EXISTED when the impeachment clause was adopted. Arguing that impeachment requires a violation of a non-existent body of laws is nonsensical. As Hamilton explained, impeachment was created for "the abuse or violation of some public trust."/2
SCOTUS made clear that impeachment is a vital safeguard against presidential “misconduct” or “abuses of office.” Even House Rs’ witness agrees a pres. “can be impeached for a noncriminal act.” And even AG Barr has written non-criminal "abuses of discretion" are impeachable. /3
Read 6 tweets
27 Jan
There’s a lot of talk about John Bolton and executive privilege. We should be absolutely clear about this: There is NO legal basis to block Bolton’s testimony. The law is clear: /1
• Executive privilege can’t be used to cover up wrongdoing. @USGAO already found the hold on Ukraine aid violated the law. /2
• Executive privilege can be overcome if the testimony would “contain important evidence” which “is not practically available from another source.” John Bolton’s testimony easily meets that standard. /3
Read 6 tweets
22 Jan
While Senate Rs voted to blindfold the Senate to key docs & witnesses that Trump blocked the House from considering, thanks to #FOIA, more damning bits & pieces of the truth emerged late LAST NIGHT about Trump’s ILLEGAL Ukraine aid freeze.
Despite RAMPANT abuse of FOIA exemptions & redactions (literal cover ups), the docs show WH staff laying the groundwork for the unlawful aid hold, the DAY BEFORE and EVEN DURING Trump's infamous call with Pres. Zelensky. Don’t Americans deserve the full story?
The FOIA'd docs also reveal that MULTIPLE Republican lawmakers reached out to the Trump admin concerned about the Ukraine aid hold. Where are those concerns from Republicans now?
Read 5 tweets
16 Jan
Our trading relationship with Canada is so important to #VT. In 2019 VT exported $1.3B to Canada — 43 percent of all our exports. Because it’s so important, I will support this agreement.…
New NAFTA will provide immediate benefits to Vermont’s struggling dairy farmers, expanding access to two critical export markets. The Administration’s disastrous trade war continues to cost the dairy sector billions, but the new NAFTA offers valuable relief.
The new NAFTA misses the chance to implement binding climate provisions, and we must continue fighting for green jobs and clean economy. We need an administration that that will meet the climate crisis with U.S. leadership.…
Read 3 tweets
14 Jan
Not all of the President’s more than 15,400 false and misleading claims are equal. This is a bald-faced lie.
What an insult to every American that he believes we’re gullible enough to believe his blatant lies. His actions speak louder than his empty words, and Trump and the GOP are **STILL** pushing to kill #ACA, including coverage of #PreExistingConditions.…
President Trump has repeatedly, consistently, and spitefully tried to strip protections for those with #PreExistingConditions. And he has no plan for what comes next.…
Read 3 tweets