- 1 Background
- 2 "Leaker Leahy"
- 3 Opposed covert aid to Nicaraguan "Contras"
- 4 Anti-anti communist
- 5 Supported by Council for a Livable World
- 6 The Permanent Partners Immigration Act
- 7 Soros funding
- 8 Opposed the Iraq War
- 9 Supporting "Veteran's fast for life"
- 10 Nicaragua/Central America
- 11 Latin American trip
- 12 Protecting FARC
- 13 Senate
- 14 Cuba visits
- 15 Cuba 2015
- 16 Irish connection
- 17 Equal Opportunity for All Act
- 18 Honduras letter
- 19 Cuba's removal from terrorism list
- 20 Secret negotiations
- 21 Cuban Embassy soiree
- 22 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015
- 23 Meeting Castro
- 24 The "Jihad" Caucus
- 25 Refugee rally
- 26 Agent Orange Bill
- 27 JStreet
- 28 Single Payer Bill
- 29 External links
- 30 References
Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is the senior-most member of the Appropriations Committee and of the Agriculture Committee. Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. He ranks first in seniority in the Senate.
Active on human rights issues, Leahy is the leading U.S. officeholder in the international campaign against the production, export and use of anti-personnel landmines. In 1992, Leahy wrote the first law by any government to ban the export of these weapons. He led efforts in Congress to aid mine victims by creating a special fund in the foreign aid budget, and the Leahy War Victims Fund now provides up to $14 million of relief to these victims each year. He was instrumental in establishing programs to support humanitarian demining and played a key role in pushing for an international treaty banning anti-personnel mines. He also wrote and enacted civilian war victims relief programs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Leahy headed the Senate's negotiations on the 2001 anti-terrorism bill, the USA PATRIOT Act. He added checks and balances to the bill to protect civil liberties, provisions to triple staffing along the U.S.-Canada border, to authorize domestic preparedness grants to states, and to facilitate the hiring of new FBI translators.
Patrick Leahy of Middlesex was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and remains the only Democrat elected to this office from Vermont. At 34, he was the youngest U.S. Senator ever to be elected from the Green Mountain State. 
Leahy was born in Montpelier and grew up across from the Statehouse. A graduate of Saint Michael's College in Colchester (1961), he received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1964). He served for eight years as State's Attorney in Chittenden County. He gained a national reputation for his law enforcement activities and was selected (1974) as one of three outstanding prosecutors in the United States.
Senator Pat Leahy was annoyed with the Reagan administration's war on terrorism in the 1980s. At the time he was vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Therefore, "Leaky Leahy," threatened to sabotage classified strategies he didn't like.
Leahy "inadvertently" disclosed a top-secret communications intercept during a 1985 television interview. The intercept had made possible the capture of the Arab terrorists who had hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered American citizen. But Leahy's leak cost the life of at least one Egyptian "asset" involved in the operation.
In July 1987, it was reported that Leahy leaked secret information about a 1986 covert operation planned by the Reagan administration to topple Libya's Moammar Gaddhafi. US intelligence officials stated that Leahy sent a written threat to expose the operation directly to then-CIA Director William Casey. Weeks later, news of the secret plan turned up in the Washington Post, causing it to be aborted.
A year later, as the Senate was preparing to hold hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal, Leahy had to resign his Intelligence Committee post after he was caught leaking secret information to a reporter. The Vermont Democrat's Iran-Contra leak was considered to be one of the most serious breaches of secrecy in the committee's 28-year history. After Leahy's resignation, the Senate Intelligence Committee decided to restrict access to committee documents to a security-enhanced meeting room.
Opposed covert aid to Nicaraguan "Contras"
Nov. 3, 1983, the US Senate, by voice vote, approved continued aid for covert operations in Nicaragua.
The action would provide only $19 million of the $50 million that the Administration sought for covert operations in Central America, mostly in Nicaragua. Those funds are expected to run out in less than six months, and the Central Intelligence Agency would have to give an accounting of the goals and risks of specific covert projects as it sought the rest of the money.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, told the Senate that I'm a political realist, adding, I can also count.
He said he held no brief whatever for the Sandinista regime, which he said had in many ways betrayed its own revolution. But that regime, he said, was the internationally recognized Government of a sovereign nation.
Nicaragua is yet another example of Administration substitution of covert action and military force for a sophisticated foreign policy, Mr. Leahy said.
The Senator added that covert United States operations had strengthened the regime, undermined regional stability and violated the charter of the Organization of American States and the Rio Treaty.
In the 1980s Leahy traveled to Nicaragua and openly opposed U.S. military support for the Contras in their fight against the Marxist, Soviet-sponsored Sandinistas. In 1990 Leahy joined with Senator Robert Byrd in spearheading the fight to cut $500 million out of an emergency aid package that President George H.W. Bush had requested for anti-communist initiatives in Panama and Nicaragua. In addition, Leahy and Senator Chris Dodd co-sponsored legislation to cut U.S. aid to the government of El Salvador, which was at war against Marxist-Leninist militias backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union.
Supported by Council for a Livable World
The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Patrick Leahy in his successful Senate run as candidate for Vermont.
The Permanent Partners Immigration Act
In 2004, the United States Student Association and college students nationwide are calling their legislators Wednesday to garner support fora bill that would make immigration easier for the samesex partners of U.S. citizens. The Permanent Partners Immigration Act would allow U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are in a permanent samesex partnership to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes. The University of California at Los Angeles is a member campus of USSA and helps fund the organization through a portion of its student fees. Currently, there is no legal recognition for same-sex couples under immigration law, and many couples are separated when one partner moves to the United States. The legislation has been co-sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Nadler said in a statement, "My bill only demands that those people in same-sex partnerships receive equal treatment to those who can get legally married." Nadler first introduced the bill in 2000 and has reintroduced it several times since then, sometimes timing it with Valentine's Day.
In addition to PPIA's positive effects for college students in bi-national same-sex relationships, PPIA would improve the quality of education for all U.S. college students by allowing more college faculty and staff to remain in the U.S. with their partners," USSA President Rebecca Wasserman said in a statement. Nicholas Sakurai, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Student Empowerment Project at USSA Foundation, said the act would allow international students to obtain visas regardless of same-sex partnership. Currently, more than a dozen other countries allow the sponsoring of a same-sex partner for immigration. Matt Kaczmarek, external vice president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, said the PPIA is just one part of a strategy to make it easier for students regardless of race, sexual orientation or other factors, to access higher education. He added that if the law were enacted, it would make higher education institutions more accessible to students wishing to study abroad and to bring a partner. Kian Boloori, chair of the UCLA Queer Alliance, said, "The queer alliance is definitely for the PPIA. ... Immigration is another field that shows the discrepancy between what married couples get and what same sex-couples are afforded. ... This act is a step toward equality for same-sex couples."
By 2008, Barack Obama was one of only a handful of candidates to get a personal contribution from George Soros. The others include Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, and former Vermont governor Howard Dean.
Opposed the Iraq War
The following is a list of the 23 U.S. Senators voting "Nay" on the Iraq War resolution in October 2002. The vote was 77-23 in favor of the resolution.
Daniel Akaka (D - Hawaii), Jeff Bingaman (D - N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D - Calif.), Robert Byrd (D - W. Va.), Lincoln Chafee (R - R.I.), Kent Conrad (D - N.D.), Jon Corzine (D - N.J.), Mark Dayton (D - Minn.), Dick Durbin (D - Ill.), Russ Feingold (D - Wis.), Bob Graham (D - Fla.) [Retired, 2004], Daniel Inouye (D - Hawaii), Jim Jeffords (I - Vt.), Ted Kennedy (D - Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D - Vt.), Carl Levin (D - Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D - Md.), Patty Murray (D - Wash.), Jack Reed (D - R.I.), Paul Sarbanes (D - Md.), Debbie Stabenow (D - Mich.), Paul Wellstone (D - Minn.) [Dec. 2002] and Ron Wyden (D - Ore.).
Supporting "Veteran's fast for life"
On September 1st, 1986, four veterans began a water-only "fast for life" on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C. They wanted to to draw attention to, and to protest, President Reagan's "illegal and extraordinarily vicious wars against the poor of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala."
The veterans were;
- George Mizo, U.S. Army, 1963-1970,Vietnam;
- Brian Willson, U.S. Air Force, 1966-1970, Vietnam;
- Duncan Murphy, U.S. Army, 1942-1945, ambulance driver, WWII;
- Charles Litekey, U.S. Army, 1966-1971, Vietnam, 2 tours;
- The veterans believed that the President's explicit policy of directing the contra terrorists in Nicaragua to commit wanton murder and destruction, enabled by appropriations passed by a majority of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, amounted to grotesque, unconscionable violent behavior in violation of both U.S. Constitutional and international law, and the egregious breach of the human rights of virtually all Nicaraguan citizens. The veterans believed that the President was clearly vulnerable to Constitutional impeachment, and that all members of the Senate and House of Representatives should have been subjected to criminal prosecution under international law as well, whether they were re-elected or not.
On October 7 several U.S Congressmen and Senators spoke at a press conference in support of the faster's cause. They included Senator Charles Mathias (R-MD), Claiborne Pell (D-RI), Don Edwards (D-CA), Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Leon Panetta (D-CA), Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), David Bonior (D-MI), Lane Evans (D-Illinois), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
From remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy at The Organization Of American States Commemoration Of A Mine-Free Central America, December 8, 2010.
- Twenty- two years ago, my wife Marcelle and I walked into a small field hospital in Honduras a short distance from the Nicaraguan border.
- It was during the Contra war – a war I did not support – and we had traveled there to meet some of the people who had been wounded.
- We met a young campesino boy who had lost one of his legs from a landmine, and who appeared to be living at the hospital.
- I asked him who had put the mine on one of the trails near his home in the jungle. He had no idea, nor did he know what the fighting was about. But he did know that his life was changed forever.
Latin American trip
From December 6 to 9, 1993, Leahy traveled to Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in his capacity as chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee. The purpose of the trip was to discuss with local and U.S. officials the implications of the decline in U.S. foreign assistance to these countries, as well as issues specific to each country such as the elections and increase in violence in El Salvador and the proposed release of $40 million in economic assistance to Nicaragua.
Prominent Democrats like Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), successfully blocked help to the Colombian military by charging human rights violations—as defined by HRW and Amnesty—and forced the separation between anti-drug and anti-insurgency support to Colombia. The fact that by the end of the 1990s FARC had become the world’s largest single cocaine supplier (and the United States’ largest heroin supplier) was pushed under the carpet.
Cutting off aid to Colombia
On January 21, 2010, three U.S. senators on committees with jurisdiction over U.S. aid to Colombia sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter called for the United States to "reevaluate U.S. assistance to Colombia," and notes that despite allocating nearly $7 billion in aid to Colombia from fiscal year 2000 to 2009, "the amount of cocaine entering the United States ... has not changed appreciably... Moreover, progress in other priority areas - human rights and the strengthening of democratic institutions - is lacking." Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) chairs the Senate Appropriations/Foreign Operations Subcommittee. The letter expressed concern over various trends in Colombia, including:
- The "false positives" scandal, "in which Colombian soldiers killed hundreds of civilians and dressed them in guerrilla clothing in order to inflate body counts;"Colombian military leaders' continued denial of "the scope of the executions" and opposition to "civilian court jurisdiction in many cases involving abuses of human rights;" and
The "particularly troubling" abuses of the presidential intelligence agency, the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), in which the "DAS was systematically conducting illegal surveillance of human rights groups, journalists, opposition politicians, Supreme Court judges, trade unionists, and international human rights organizations."
Senators Feingold, Dodd, and Leahy added that "a possible third term for the current president threatens to further erode the checks and balances that help protect Colombia's fragile democracy." The three senators call for President Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget request to Congress to reflect new priorities and a new approach toward Colombia. This new approach would include:
- Reducing coca cultivation and cocaine production through "greater emphasis on farmer-led programs with voluntary eradication coupled with effective alternative development programs;"Strengthening judicial and law enforcement programs "to dismantle criminal networks, combat the money laundering that enables the narcotics trade, and reduce impunity for corruption and human rights abuses;"Reducing "military aid while continuing judicial and law enforcement, development and humanitarian assistance; and "Explor[ing] more vigorously the possibilities for peace in Colombia."
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Leahy headed the Senate's negotiations on the 2001 anti-terrorism bill, the USA PATRIOT Act. He added checks and balances to the bill to protect civil liberties, as well as provisions which he authored to triple staffing along the U.S.-Canada border, to authorize domestic preparedness grants to states, and to facilitate the hiring of new FBI translators.
Leahy's Judiciary Committee investigation into the mass firings of U.S. Attorneys and of White House attempts to exert political influence over the Justice Department led in 2008 to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Department's entire top rank of political appointees.
Leahy is the chief sponsor of the Innocence Protection Act, which addresses flaws in the administration of capital punishment. Parts of Leahy's death penalty reform package, which were enacted in 2004, will reduce the risks that innocent people are executed by providing for post-conviction DNA testing and better access to competent legal counsel.
Anti Landmines work
Active on human rights issues, Leahy also has been the leading U.S. officeholder in the international campaign against the production, export and use of anti-personnel landmines. In 1992 Leahy wrote the first law by any government to ban the export of these weapons. He led efforts in Congress to aid mine victims by creating a special fund in the foreign aid budget, and the Leahy War Victims Fund now provides up to $14 million of relief to these victims each year. He was instrumental in establishing programs to support humanitarian demining and played a key role in pushing for an international treaty banning anti-personnel mines. He also wrote and enacted civilian war victims relief programs that are underway in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At the headquarters of the National Press Club in downtown Washington D.C., a consortium of organizations announced a new push to get Cuba taken off the State Department's "State Sponsors of Terrorism" list in early March 2013.
The event, in the form of a panel discussion, was sponsored by the Center for International Policy, the Latin American Working Group , and the Washington Office on Latin America. The MC was Wayne Smith, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, who was the head of the U.S. Interests Section (instead of embassy) in Havana from 1979 to 1982, having been appointed by Jimmy Carter. Other participants were Congressman James P. McGovern, D-Massachusetts, former ambassador Anthony Quainton who is now "Diplomat in Residence" at American University, Robert Muse of Muse and Associates, and Adam Isacson of WOLA.
Congressman McGovern, who has followed U.S. Cuba policy closely, just got back from a visit to Cuba with a bipartisan delegation headed by Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. McGovern participated in a two hour meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro. He and the other speakers pushed for an overall change in U.S.-Cuba policy, of which removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism would be a useful first step.
2018 Cuba visit
February 2018 Cuban President Raul Castro received a bicameral delegation of US lawmakers.
"During the meeting they discussed matters of interest to both countries," the Cuban government said in a statement.
The delegation, led by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont,comprised of Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Michigan's Gary Peters, along with representatives Kathy Castor of Florida, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Susan Davis of California.
Leahy has been one of the most active politicians inside the Capitol in advocating the improvement of US-Cuba relations, which defrosted somewhat in 2014 under Barack Obama after half a century of tension.
2017 Cuba visit
A delegation of four senators and one representative of the United States Congress traveled to Cuba on Sunday, exactly a month after the arrival of a new president to the White House. One of the senators is a strong ally of President Trump.
Republican Thad Cochran, from Mississippi, who has decisively endorsed Trump’s initial decisions in the Senate, is among the delegation. The legislators are led by one of the main proponents of normalized relations with Cuba, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy (Vermont), notes the Cuban-US Economic and Trade Council.
Except for Cochran and Bennet, the remaining legislators have visited the island on previous occasions.
The program for their visit to Cuba was not disclosed. The group is scheduled to leave the island on Wednesday, February 22nd 2017.
Cochran, the only Republican in the group, is a co-sponsor in the Senate of a bill providing for the Expansion of Agricultural Exports to Cuba. The legislation would eliminate the prohibition of granting private credit to finance agricultural sales to the island and thus seek greater access by US farmers to the Cuban market.
Cochran chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and has voted in favor of all those nominated by the president to his cabinet.
2016 Cuba visit
Obama will be the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, and the trip is a symbolic next chapter in his attempts to normalize relations with the country.
The House members will attend along with several senators who previously announced they will make the trip.
The House delegation includes Reps. Karen Bass, Cheri Bustos, Sam Farr, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Alan Lowenthal, Jim McGovern and Lucille Roybal-Allard. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California will also travel to Cuba along with Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Udall of New Mexico are slated to join the trip. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been a leading advocate for normalizing relations with Cuba, will also attend. Additional House Republicans may also join.
Pelosi previously led the first official House delegation trip to the country after Obama announced the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in 2014.
Three visiting U.S. senators said on June 27, 2015, they hoped Congress would support President Barack Obama's opening toward Cuba, including lifting a ban on U.S. citizens traveling to the Communist-run island.
Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ben Cardin of Maryland joined Republican Dean Heller of Nevada on a trip to Cuba where they met First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and ordinary Cubans.
"We think that can be achieved this year and we can make additional progress next year," Cardin told a news conference. "We're optimistic this path that President Obama and President (Raul) Castro started will be continued."
Heller, one of a few Republican senators to side with Obama on Cuba, encouraged members of Congress to visit Cuba and engage with ordinary Cubans. "I think the Senate can move the House, but the Senate's going to have to act first," Heller told Reuters after the news conference.
Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand January 20, 2015:
CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTER RECEIVES U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, received Senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Dick Durbin (Illinois), Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan), and Representatives Chris Van Hollen (Maryland) and Peter Welch (Vermont), all members of the Democratic Party.
Topics of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting, with the participation of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations’ director general for the United States, Josefina Vidal, and the country’s chief diplomat at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, Jose Ramon Cabanas.
The delegation of American lawmakers led by Senator Patrick Leahy arrived in Cuba on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, in order to gauge the island's economic changes and to lobby on behalf of Alan Gross, an American whose detention has chilled relations between the two countries. The trip was the first to the Communist-run island by high-level US politicians since President Barack Obama's re-election in November.
Cuban President Raul Castro met on Tuesday 19 with a group of US senators and representatives visiting the island, among other things, to see US agent Alan Gross, imprisoned in Cuba since 2009, reported DPA news.
The Cuban president and the US legislators “discussed matters of interest to both countries”, stated the Cuban TV news without going into any details.
The overall goal of the congressional visit appears to be seeking out a path to improved US-Cuba relations, marked by over a half century of hostility.
The trip was viewed in the Cuban press as laying the groundwork that could lead to reestablishing diplomatic relations and bilateral trade is the far greater challenge to the Obama and Castro administrations.
“Every one of us has an interest in Cuba,” Leahy told the foreign press upon his arrival to Havana on Monday. “We all want to see relations improve and both sides take steps in that direction,” he added.
The delegation also included, Republican senator Jeff Flake, the Democrat senators Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow and Sheldon Whitehouse and the Democratic congressmen James McGovern (Massachusetts) and Chris Van Hollen from Maryland, Gross's home state.
In 2012, another group of legislators led by Leahy, went to Cuba and met President Raul Castro. They also visited Alan Gross, who was jailed in 2009 for illegally distributing communications equipment on the island while on a US-funded democracy-building program.
Senior senators met February 2012 in Havana with President Raúl Castro of Cuba and with an imprisoned American aid worker, but they reported no immediate breakthrough on Friday on winning the American’s freedom. Related
Senators Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, and Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, met with Mr. Castro for more than two hours, the first high-level meeting between the two countries in nearly two years. The senators offered to take the aid worker, Alan Gross, home with them.
“I said if he’d like us to take this issue off his hand, we’d be happy to take Mr. Gross on the plane when we left,” Mr. Leahy said in a phone interview from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. “He basically said, ‘Nice try.’ ”
The senators are part of a group of six lawmakers traveling to Cuba, Haiti and Colombia to widen agricultural trade with Cuba, inspect recovery efforts from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and discuss antidrug efforts in South America. Also in the group were Senator Kent Conrad, of North Dakota, and Representatives Xavier Becerra, of California, and Peter Welch, of Vermont.
Mr. Leahy said he told Mr. Castro that neither country should let one issue stand in the way of progress because that would let political elements on either side thwart warming ties.”
In 1999 Leahy traveled to Cuba, where he dined with Fidel Castro. Although the senator criticized the communist dictator for his regime's oppressive policies, he also took the occasion to complain about the longstanding U.S. policy banning travel to Cuba. 
Senator Leahy has a long connection with Irish politics.
"Friends of Ireland"
March 16 1981, twenty-four American political figures, most of them of Irish ancestry, urged an end to the fear and the terrorism and the bigotry in Northern Ireland and proposed that the Reagan Administration find a way to promote a peaceful settlement of the Ulster conflict.
In a joint St. Patrick's Day statement, the 24 - including Governor Carey, Governor Byrne, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts -announced the creation of an organization seeking to facilitate greater understanding of the positive role America can play resolving this tragic conflict.
They stressed that the organization, known as the Friends of Ireland, will seek the unification of the six counties of Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic but that the goal can be reached only with the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, and with full safeguards for the rights of both sections of the community.
It was the fourth consecutive year that the group had issued a statement on St. Patrick's Day calling for an end to violence in Ulster, but it was the first time it had sought to define a role for the United States. The group was set up to counter a vocal lobby for the Irish Republican Army.
Two-thirds of the people of Northern Ireland are Protestants, while the Irish Republic is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. Efforts to resolve the violent conflict between Protestants and Catholics, and work out a settlement aimed at erasing the border, have been thwarted by terrorists on both sides.
The statement urged the Administration to play a constructive role in Northern Ireland and support a policy that helps bring terrorism to an end, that demands respect for the human rights of all the people of Northern Ireland, that recognizes the legitimate aspirations of both the Protestant and Catholic communities, and that strengthens the ties between two of America's closest friends - Ireland and Great Britain.
The Irish Government promptly applauded the creation of the group. In a statement released by the Irish Embassy here, Prime Minister Charles Haughey said that the links between the Irish and American peoples, which are of such long standing, will be even further strengthened by the setting up of this group.
In their statement, the political figures said that the Friends of Ireland will be open to all members of Congress and will strive to inform Congress and the country fully about all aspects of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
It will emphasize our concern, the statement said, for both the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Ireland. Besides Governors Carey and Byrne and Senators Moynihan and Kennedy, the following officials signed the statement: The Speaker of the House, Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy of Rhode Island Senator Joe Biden, Democrat of Delaware, Senator Alan Cranston, Democrat of California Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, Senator Thomas Eagleton, Democrat of Missouri Senator Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii Senator, Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont Senator George Mitchell, Democrat of Maine Senator Claiborne Pell, Democrat of Rhode Island, Senator William Proxmire, Democrat of Wisconsin Representative Edward Boland, Democrat of Massachusetts, Representative Charles Dougherty, Republican of Pennsylvania Representative Thomas Foley, Democrat of Washington Representative James Howard, Democrat of New Jersey, Representative Paul N. McCloskey, Jr., Republican of California Representative Joseph McDade, Republican of Pennsylvania Representative Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts. Representative James Shannon, Democrat of Massachusetts, Representative Pat Williams, Democrat of Montana.
Visa for Adams
In 1994 US President Bill Clinton found himself in a” political bind over Northern Ireland, caught between powerful Irish-Americans in Congress and the British Government over whether to grant a visa to an Irish Republican Army wing leader.”
On one side are Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and 38 other members of Congress who are strenuously urging the President to grant a visa to Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, the I.R.A. political wing. The British wanted the visa denied.
In convincing Clinton to grant Adams's visa, Senator Kennedy recruited key Senate Democrats, including Chris Dodd of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont. By promising to help pass the President’s healthcare bill Friends of Ireland were able to convince a reluctant Clinton to grant Gerry Adams a two day visa. 
"Peace and Reconciliation"
British to face US pressure on Cory
The British government come under intense pressure at St Patrick's Day gatherings in Washington DC March 2004 to publish the Cory reports in full.
Prominent US senators, including Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, wrote to British prime minister Tony Blair calling for the speedy and complete publication of Canadian judge Peter Cory's reports into four killings where security force collusion is suspected.
Nationalists and republicans do not believe that Blair will publish the entire reports, despite his assurances last week that the reports would be made public before Easter.
Blair's government had since the reports since the previous October, but they remained unpublished. The Irish government published its two reports in December.
Cory had recommended public inquiries into the deaths of Catholic solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill and Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright.
``Despite the fact that Judge Cory submitted his report nearly six months ago, the Cory report has not yet been published, no target date for publication has been given and there has been no clear confirmation that public inquiries will be held into all cases where Judge Cory has recommended them, said the letters.
Meeting Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein lobbying
In March 2013, Sinn Fein lobbyist Rita O’Hare showed her wide reach of connections, meeting with a New York City Council staffer from Christine Quinn’s office on March 11, and then meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department the morning of March 18. That same afternoon, she met with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt..
Equal Opportunity for All Act
Job-hunters are increasingly being asked to agree to allow potential employers to view their personal credit information, a development that Sen. Elizabeth Warren says is unfairly keeping people out of the job market who've had financial setbacks or have reports that contain inaccurate information.
December 17, 2013 Warren introduced The Equal Opportunity for All Act in Congress, which would outlaw such credit checks in many cases except in areas such as national security. Warren told reporters in a conference call sponsored by the Demos Foundation, a liberal think-tank, that the legislation was long overdue.
"This is about basic fairness," said the first-term legislator, adding that many people have had their credit records tarnished during the recent economic downturn. "There is little to no evidence of any correlation between job performance and a credit score."
On Thursday, May 23, 2013, U.S. Senator Cardin (D-MD) circulated a Senate sign-on "Dear Colleague" letter to Secretary of State John Kerry addressing deepening concerns about Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras.
The letter states that violence and impunity for state security forces in Honduras has reached intolerable levels and cites concerns related to extrajudicial killings, linkages to death squads, and increasing militarization of civilian law enforcement. The letter also raises the concern that State Department certifications intended to ensure that U.S. foreign aid supports the rule of law in Honduras may contradict the reality on the ground.
The letter asks State Department to:
- provide Congress with a detailed assessment of the efficacy of current Honduran government efforts to address this issue as mandated by FY12 Appropriations language;
- conduct a detailed review of specific State Department actions to help ensure that no U.S. funds are being used to support police implicated in human rights violations; and
- make every reasonable effort to help ensure that Honduras' upcoming November 2013 elections are free, fair and peaceful.
In addition to Cardin, the letter was cosigned by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
Cuba's removal from terrorism list
Sen. Patricky Leahy: Cuba’s Removal Is “Another Long-Overdue And Courageous Step Toward Ending A Failed Policy.” "The President’s action is another long-overdue and courageous step toward ending a failed policy and normalizing relations with Cuba. We have many differences with the Cuban government. But it makes no sense, and it devalues the list of state sponsors of international terrorism, to include a country that hundreds of thousands of Americans visit annually, whose government our friends and allies engage with regularly to their benefit, and that poses no threat to the United States." [Leahy Press Release, “Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) To The President’s Decision – Acting On The State Department’s Recommendation -- To Remove Cuba From 'State Sponsors Of Terrorism' List,” 4/14/15]
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont also attended the July 2015 opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. He played a pivotal role in the secret negotiations between the United States and Cuba, and helped with the release of the Cuban Five. Leahy made headlines in 2014 when it was revealed that Leahy helped the wife of one of the members of the Cuban Five become pregnant. Gerardo Hernández, the baby’s father, is one of the three former Cuban intelligence agents released in December as part of a prisoner swap amidst thawing ties with Cuba. While he was not allowed conjugal visits, Hernández was able to impregnate his wife by having his frozen sperm transferred to her in Panama, a process authorized by U.S. officials, funded by the Cuban government and facilitated by a staffer for Leahy.
Cuban Embassy soiree
It was remarkable how many non-Cubans knew the Cuban national anthem well enough to sing along July 2015 as the flag was raised over the newly re-established embassy on 16th Street NW. Then they joined in the delirious shouts of "Viva Cuba!"
"It's an amazing moment," said Phyllis Bennis, a fellow with the progressive think-tank, Institute for Policy Studies. "In the decades-long effort to normalise relations with Cuba, to stop the US attacks and hostility toward Cuba, we have not had so many victories. Suddenly we have a victory. The flag going up - that's huge."
“Hemingway would be proud,” said Scott Gilbert, an attorney who represented jailed American contractor Alan Gross, by way of compliment to the bartenders mixing the concoctions in a room named after the famed American ex-pat writer. “There’s a feeling today of joy, but also of disbelief,” Gilbert said. “So many people here thought this would never happen.”
Guests included Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.); plus administration types including deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell slipped through the phalanx of protesters, camera crews, and folks celebrating just outside the gates.
“I’m excited,” said Danny Glover, who in addition to his “Lethal Weapon” roles has been part of numerous cultural delegations to Cuba. “This is the beginning of another narrative….What’s happened in the last 54 years is an insult to our intelligence as human beings and [American] citizens.”
AMY GOODMAN: I also spoke with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who was with a congressional delegation who was honoring the opening of the embassy and the raising of the Cuban flag. Senator Leahy has played a pivotal role in secret negotiations between the United States and Cuba for years and helped release the Cuban Five, including Gerardo Hernández. I asked Senator Leahy about the significance of the day.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Well, I find it quite emotional. You know, I think one of my first trips to Cuba, 15 or so years ago, I went to a baseball game, a U.S. team playing in Havana. They played the Cuban national anthem and the U.S. national anthem. Everybody in there stood at attention and cheered both national anthems, including Fidel Castro. And it was very emotional. This morning, you’re standing in this—now on Cuban soil in this embassy. And to see the American flag, the Cuban flag flying side by side, to hear both our national anthems, I found it very emotional and very satisfying.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you have been instrumental in achieving this moment. You have been involved in the secret negotiations with Cuba to get to this point, to normalize relations. Can you tell us what you did?
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Well, I had many, many meetings down there and some meetings in Washington, but a lot of meetings in New York. Bruno Rodríguez and others could come to there.
AMY GOODMAN: The foreign minister.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: The foreign minister, I’m sorry. The foreign minister could come to the Cuban U.N. Mission without getting permission, in New York. So I’d meet him there. Raúl Castro joked with me, knew I showed up one day on crutches because I had damaged my leg hiking in Vermont the day before. But then we had others who would go to Canada. And the Canadians deserve a great deal of credit, because they set a venue where Cubans and U.S. negotiators could meet secretly in Canada and negotiate.
Then, I sent a letter to the pope before he met with the president. The president thought he heard some of my talking points. The pope sends a letter back to Cardinal Ortega in Havana, who brings it to the president in the White House, tells a great story of walking in a room. A man walks up to him and says, "Hello, Cardinal, I’m Barack Obama." He said, "I knew who he was." But these are all step-by-steps.
One of the most important, the so-called accidental handshake between President Obama and President Castro at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. There was no accident. President was criticized for it. I said, "Nelson Mandela, if he had been at a world leader’s funeral, he would have shook hands even with enemies." And then the meeting they had in Panama, both got along very well.
And finally, everything came together. It was a thrill. I took the president’s plane, went down, picked up Alan Gross on December 17th. Another plane brought the remaining members of the Cuban Five down. Third one picked—went down to another airfield, picked up a CIA asset that the Cubans had held for years and years. We’re all on the ground 31 minutes, took off, flew back. It was a new day.
AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of the Cuban Five, they’re all now released.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: They’re all now in Cuba. You were also, shall we say, seminal, your office, in the birth of the child of one of the Cuban Five. Can you talk—
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: You want to make sure you explain that carefully, because one reporter said, "What about this Cuban woman you helped get pregnant?" I said, "Well, no. I mean, what happened, the wife of one of them had come to my wife."
AMY GOODMAN: Gerardo Hernández.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: And I said—she was reaching an age where she might not have children anymore. She loved her husband. Was there some way they could arrange for her to become pregnant by her husband? We worked with the Bureau of Prisons. We had—we actually had times this had been done. The Cubans paid for it all. She was impregnated in Panama.
AMY GOODMAN: Where was Gerardo imprisoned?
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: He was imprisoned out West in the United States. His sperm was given to her; she was impregnated. They have a beautiful little girl. They named her—well, the English word is "Gem." And it is amazing. But I give my wife as much credit for that, and Eric Holder, who worked with me in the Bureau of Prisons to make it happen.
AMY GOODMAN: The embargo hasn’t been lifted.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: No, but it will be. If the American public—if it was put to a vote of all the American public, it would be lifted tomorrow.
AMY GOODMAN: And could a next president, if it was a Republican president, reverse all this, close the embassy?
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: No, nobody is going to. It’s too popular with the American people.
MARCELLE LEAHY: I’m Marcelle Leahy.
AMY GOODMAN: Your thoughts on this day? You are here with your husband, Senator Patrick Leahy.
MARCELLE LEAHY: My husband and I have been traveling to Cuba for a little over 15 years. And we are just overwhelmed with the thought that now we’re going to begin the normalization of relations. This is, unfortunately, not the end; it’s the beginning of a lot more hard work. And it’s long overdue. 
Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015
By May 20, it had accumulated 33 co-sponsors, mostly Democrats, but including 5 Republicans, and two Independents. 
Heitkamp was one of two senators and a handful of representatives to meet Friday in New York with Castro, the first Cuban leader to visit the United States in 15 years.
The Democratic senator says it might be difficult to find enough support to lift a trade embargo against Cuba, but she is pushing a bill that would finance agricultural exports. Cuba has a high demand for North Dakota crops like dry beans, peas and lentils.
Heitkamp visited Cuba in February 2014 but did not have a chance to meet Castro. She says the Cuban leader has invited her to return to his country.
The meeting at the request of the Cuban Embassy lasted about an hour and a half, and included Sens. Heitkamp and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., as well as about eight congressmen, including Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., of Minnesota's Sixth District.
Heitkamp said Leahy, who has a long history of working to restore relations, mentioned the need for Cuba to improve human rights, which could get "more members interested" in expanding economic relationships.
The North Dakota senator said she was impressed with Castro's openness and willingness to "listen, and hear some things" that he doesn't like. She said Castro reiterated earlier statements that he intends to step down after another two years in the post.
Heitkamp said it was one of Castro's first meetings with American lawmakers since the U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic ties. Heitkamp has worked in many ways to expand exports of U.S. agricultural commodities to Cuba, a country with high demand for North Dakota crops like dry beans, peas and lentils.
The "Jihad" Caucus
In May 2015, a group of 14 U.S. senators, led by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to allow 65,000 Syrians into the United States as refugees. This would require a dramatic expansion of the refugee program, and virtually guarantee that a sizable number of ISIS fighters would slip in among them. Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy called these Senators the "Jihad Caucus" because practically speaking, Jihad is what this request will bring.
The 14 senators demanding this massive influx of Syrians were: Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Robert Menendez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Coons, Tim Kaine, Ed Markey, Sherrod Brown, and Mazie Hirono.
These same 14 had sent another letter in April Demanding action on the Syrians.
Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk for Presbyterian Church U.S.A., spoke during a news conference with senators and national religious leaders to respond to attempts at vilifying refugees and to call on lawmakers to engage in policymaking and not 'fear-mongering' at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2015 in Washington, DC. Following last week's mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calinfornia, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called on Monday for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country.
MC Rev, Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea.
Agent Orange Bill
For two weeks December 2015, the leadership of the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) visited New York City and Washington, DC. They had a very busy schedule that included colleagues and friends, Senators, legislative aides, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) to thank them all for their continuing support for the victims of the US spraying of chemical herbicides during the American War in Vietnam. Mr. Rinh, President of VAVA, expressed his appreciation to Congresswoman Lee for sponsoring HR 2114, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2015, that would provide services for those harmed in Vietnam from this poison, as well as clean up land and ecosystems that remain contaminated and continue to destroy the food and the people.
The VAVA delegation was joined by the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC) — supported by VVAW, IVAW, Veterans for Peace (VFP), and the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance (COVVHA). Heather Bowser, co-founder of COVVHA, was born missing her right leg and with webbed fingers and toes. She is the daughter of an American serviceman who was in Vietnam during the use of Agent Orange. Heather explained that this legislation would bring parity of services to the children of both the women and men in the US military who served in Vietnam. Currently, the VA recognizes only the children born with birth defects of American servicewomen, and, with the recently released Institute of Medicine Report, has downgraded recognition for even spina bifida for the children of American servicemen.
The delegation had an extensive meeting with Tim Reiser, foreign policy aide to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and one of the most influential behind-the-scene forces in Washington, DC. He works as a Democratic clerk for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and for the past several years has managed to obtain several millions of dollars for the clean-up of Danang Airport (formerly a US base), and for provision of some services for disabled children in Vietnam. Tim noted that in his 25 years of working in the Senate, this was the first time that a group of Americans and Vietnamese had come together to talk with him about the needs of both groups. 
JStreet endorsed Leahy in 2016.
- Leahy actively supports the United States’ playing a role in the achievement of peace in the Middle East and a two-state solution noting that the lack of a Palestinian state puts Israel at risk, and that settlements in the West Bank must stop. J Street is proud to endorse Senator Leahy in his 2016 re-election bid.
Single Payer Bill
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled Wednesday September 13, 2017 a new version of his plan to give everybody government-run health insurance, potentially opening a new chapter in the ongoing debate over how to make health care in the U.S. more affordable and available.
The plan calls for an overhaul of American health insurance with a souped-up, more generous version of Medicare replacing nearly all private health insurance ― and government exerting far more control over the cost of medical care. It would arguably be the most ambitious social welfare initiative in U.S. history, but Sanders told HuffPost in an interview Tuesday that he believes America is ready for it.
“The American people are catching on to where the Republicans are coming from, they see the limitations of the Affordable Care Act and they’re looking at the alternatives,” Sanders said. “And this is a rational alternative.”
That roster of co-sponsors includes a who’s-who list of potential Democratic presidential candidates for 2020, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Also backing the bill are Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Al Franken of Minnesota, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
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- Groups fight to remove Cuba from “terrorism sponsors” list, by: Emile Schepers March 11 2013
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- [http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/27/us-cuba-usa-idUSKBN0P70UJ20150627 Reuters, Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:21pm EDT Related: POLITICS, CUBA U.S. senators visit Cuba, hope Congress will ease restrictions HAVANA | BY DANIEL TROTTA]
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- [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-single-payer-bill-major-support-senate_us_59b87dc1e4b02da0e13d465f HuffPo09/13/2017 08:00 am ET Updated 2 days ago Bernie Sanders Announces Single-Payer Bill With Major Support In Senate By Daniel Marans , Jonathan Cohn]