Category Archives: U.S. Congress

Release: Sanders’ solar bill blocked by GOP

Senate Republicans today shot down a proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to help install up to 10 million solar power systems for homes and businesses in the coming decade.

Rebates for solar systems would have been authorized by a Sanders amendment to a Keystone XL oil pipeline bill now before the Senate.

“The scientific community tells us very clearly if we’re going to reverse climate change and the great dangers it poses for the planet we must move aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” Sanders said.

His amendment called for a 15 percent rebate to homeowners and businesses that install solar power. The new solar power generated would have been enough to replace one-fifth of the nation’s dirty, coal-fired power plants. The measure also would create new jobs.

“So if you’re interested in reversing the dangers of climate change and creating jobs, I would urge you to support this amendment,” Sanders said. The amendment got 40 votes. It needed 60 to pass.

Sanders’ proposal was supported by Vermont’s Green Mountain Power, a leading proponent of solar and other renewable sources of energy. “Green Mountain Power is finding new ways to help Vermonters save money and be more comfortable, while moving to cleaner local sources of energy,” said Mary Powell, the utility president. “We appreciate the efforts of leaders like Sen. Sanders and others who recognize the importance of ongoing investments in renewable energy.”

Release: Leahy questions DEA policy

 In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) questioned the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) use of a national database to track the movement of vehicles around the United States.

 News reports this week revealed that the DEA has expanded its license plate reader (LPR) surveillance program from the Southwest Border to include states across the country. The database now includes hundreds of millions of records about motorists, and it reportedly allows the DEA to track motorists in real-time.

 This is the third oversight letter the Senators have sent in recent weeks, raising privacy concerns about the use of emerging law enforcement technologies. Last week, they pressed the administration on the reported use of radar technology that may enable law enforcement agencies to track the movements of private citizens inside their homes. And last month, they questioned the use of cell-site simulators, which can indiscriminately sweep up the cell phone signals of innocent Americans.

 In their letter Wednesday, the Senators reiterated: “We remain concerned that government programs that track citizens’ movements, see inside homes, and collect data from the phones of innocent Americans raise serious privacy concerns.”

 “We also have questions about the way in which the DEA’s database is being used,” the Senators added.  “According to one document, the primary purpose of the program is to broaden the reach of the DEA’s civil asset forfeiture efforts.  Federal asset forfeiture programs have been the subject of recent controversy and we believe that greater transparency and oversight of civil asset forfeiture is needed.  Any program that is dedicated to expanding the Justice Department’s forfeiture efforts requires similar oversight and accountability.”

Release: Leahy testimony on Lynch

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member, Senate Judiciary Committee at the hearing on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve asAttorney General of the United States

It is a pleasure to welcome Loretta Lynch to this Committee.  Ms. Lynch is smart, tough, hard-working, and independent.  She is a true prosecutor’s prosecutor.  Her qualifications are beyond reproach, which is why she has been unanimously confirmed by the Senate twice before to serve as the top Federal prosecutor based in Brooklyn, New York.  I look forward to another swift confirmation process for Ms. Lynch.

 As the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ms. Lynch has brought terrorists and cyber-criminals to justice, obtained convictions against corrupt public officials from both political parties, and fought tirelessly against violent crime and financial fraud.  Ms. Lynch has remained determined to protect the rights of victims.  She has worked hard to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve – as evidenced by the fact that her nomination enjoys strong support from both.  She has prosecuted those who have committed crimes against police officers, as well as police officers who have committed crimes.  Her record shows that as Attorney General, Ms. Lynch will effectively, fairly, and independently enforce the law.

 Born in North Carolina, Ms. Lynch is the daughter of a Baptist preacher and a school librarian.  We are honored to have members of her family with us today.  I know she will be introducing them to us momentarily.  Ms. Lynch grew up hearing her family speak about living in the Jim Crow South, but she never lost faith that the way to obtain justice is through our legal system.  Her nomination is historic.  When confirmed as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States, she will be the first African American woman to lead the Department of Justice.  I can think of no one more deserving of that honor.

 Ms. Lynch will lead a Justice Department that faces complex challenges.  Nearly one-third of its budget goes to the Bureau of Prisons, draining vital resources from nearly all other public safety priorities.  A significant factor leading to this budget imbalance is the unnecessary creation of more and more mandatory minimum sentences.  Passing new mandatory minimum laws has become a convenient way for lawmakers to claim that they are tough on crime – even when there is no evidence that these sentences keep us safer. That policy fallacy is one of the reasons we have the largest prison population in the world.  And it is why I oppose all mandatory minimums.  We must work together on thoughtful solutions to address our mass incarceration problem.

 The Justice Department also needs strong leadership to keep up with the rapid development of technology.  We must stay ahead of the curve to prevent and fight threats to cybersecurity and data privacy.  The growing threat of cybercrime is very real but so is the specter of unchecked government intrusion into our private lives – particularly dragnet surveillance programs directed at American citizens.  The intelligence community faces a critical deadline this June when three sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are set to expire.  We must protect our national security and our civil liberties.  We must work together to reform our Nation’s surveillance laws so we can achieve both goals and restore the public’s trust.

 The next Attorney General will play an essential role in protecting all Americans on these issues and many others.

 The President’s selection for Attorney General—no matter the President—deserves to be considered swiftly, fairly, and on her own record.  A role this important cannot be used as yet another Washington political football.  I am confident that if we stay focused on Ms. Lynch’s impeccable qualifications and fierce independence, she will be quickly confirmed by the Senate.  Ms. Lynch deserves a fair, thoughtful, and respectful confirmation process – and the American people deserve an Attorney General like Ms. Lynch.

Ms. Lynch, I thank you for your years of public service, and I look forward to your testimony.

Release: Shumlin makes transportation push to Congress

Testifying before a U.S. Senate Committee today, Gov. Peter Shumlin urged Congress to act quickly to replenish the Federal Highway Trust Fund so Vermont and other states can get to work repairing crumbling infrastructure. The Governor warned that in Vermont, projects relying on federal money need to go out to bid next month in order to begin construction in the spring. Failure of Congress to act could put at risk those badly needed projects and the jobs that go with them.

 The Governor was joined by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley from Alabama in a bipartisan show of support for continued transportation infrastructure funding from Congress. Vermont alone relies on roughly $300 million each year in funding from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which will become insolvent in May if Congress fails to act.

 “Our nation’s economic prosperity depends upon a reliable transportation system to efficiently move people and goods,” Gov. Shumlin said in written testimony submitted to the Committee. “Governors across this nation understand that infrastructure is fundamental to our economic competitiveness and job growth.  We make that connection every day as we travel around our states and talk to our citizens and employers.”

 In his testimony, the Governor pointed to the negative effect transportation infrastructure disruptions can have on jobs and the economy, citing the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Irene, which damaged 500 miles of roads and bridges throughout the state, and the sudden emergency closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge in 2008, which caused serious transportation problems for Vermonters in that region.

 Federal funding has helped Vermont make significant progress improving its transportation infrastructure in the past few years. In 2008, Vermont ranked near the bottom of all states – 45th in the nation – for numbers of structurally deficient bridges. By 2013 the state ranked 28th. The overall percentage of structurally deficient bridges has declined from 19.7 percent in 2008 to just over 7 percent in 2014. And the percentage of pavement rated in very poor condition has declined from a high of 36 percent in 2008 to only 13 percent in 2014.

 The Governor testified before the before U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and was introduced by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders who sits on that committee. Sen. Sanders has been influential in pushing Congress to act to fund transportation infrastructure investments and recently introduced a bill to rebuild America’s crumbling network of roads, bridges, transit systems, and other infrastructure projects. The five-year plan would invest $1 trillion in the effort and create or maintain at least 13 million decent-paying jobs.

 “In Vermont and across our country we have roads and bridges that are in desperate need of repair,” Sen. Sanders said. “That is why I have introduced legislation to invest $1 trillion to modernize our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I look forward to working with Gov. Shumlin and my colleagues in Congress to pass legislation to rebuild our state and national infrastructure.”

Release: GMP praises Sanders’ solar amendment

Green Mountain Power today issued the following statement from Mary Powell, President and CEO, in support of Senator Sander’s Rooftop Solar Amendment:

 “Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s Energy Company of the Future, supports Senator Bernie Sanders’s amendment for its economic and environmental value. The proposal will support installation of solar power systems on top of 10 million homes and businesses within the next decade.  This plan aligns with GMP’s mission to deliver low-cost, low-carbon, and highly reliable power, which is critical to our energy future.

 “GMP is partnering with customers to accelerate the pace of change here in Vermont. We are finding new ways to help Vermonters save money and be more comfortable, while moving to cleaner local sources of energy – exemplified by our Energy Homes of the Future ‘e-Homes’ in Rutland and our goal to make Rutland the Energy City of the Future. Generating energy through microgrids empowers our customers to make more choices about how and when they use energy.  We are also partnering with NRG Energy Inc. to bring innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable energy solutions for Vermonters.

“While some national utilities and national utility organizations are reaching out to GMP to join in opposition to fight innovative clean energy solutions like this solar proposal from Senator Sanders, we are moving full steam ahead with our efforts to find new ways to benefit customers. We want to transform the distribution grid from a 100-year-old electric delivery model to a new system designed to create efficiencies and distributed energy solutions through renewable technologies and energy storage. This is the future, and we are so excited to be a part of how Vermont is leading the way.

“We appreciate the efforts of leaders like Senator Sanders and others who recognize the importance of ongoing investments in renewable energy.”

Shumlin heads to D.C. seeking federal highway funds

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin is heading to Washington Wednesday to provide testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works about the need for funding in the Highway Trust Fund.

Vermont and other states rely on the federal fund to complete road, bridge and other infrastructure repairs and projects. But the fund, which is replenished through the federal gas tax, has solvency issues as that revenue source plummets.

The fund is supported with a federal gas tax of 18.3 cents per gallon, and a tax of 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. But Americans are driving less and the fund is not keeping pace with infrastructure needs across the country.

Shumlin said his testimony will focus on “the desperate need to refill the transportation trust fund so Vermont and the other 49 states can rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin speaks to reporters during a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 27.

Gov. Peter Shumlin speaks to reporters during a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 27.

“I understand there’s tremendous difficulty getting anything done in Congress, but it seems to me the one thing that Republicans, Democrats, independents can agree on, if we let our roads and bridges crumble, we lose our quality of life and we lose our ability to grow jobs and economic opportunity,” Shumlin said at a news conference Tuesday.

Shumlin, who was invited to testify by Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to his aides, will be joined by Republican Gov. Robert Brentley of Alabama, and South Dakota Secretary of Transportation Darin Bergquist. Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy canceled his appearance to oversee winter storm cleanup.

Shumlin said he was asked by the National Governor’s Association to present the states’ perspective to Congress.

“As I talk to both Republican and Democratic governors, we’re united on this one. The National Governor’s Association feels very strongly that Congress must come up with a solution by May to refill the transportation trust fund or we will lose jobs and we’ll lose our infrastructure, and it’s really critical,” he said.

States need to begin lining up contractors for the summer construction season but cannot commit to projects unless funding is secured.

“We just can’t be constantly in a situation where we say, ‘Hey, we have bridges that are falling apart, we have roads that are crumbling, but we can’t go out there and line up contractors because we just don’t know if the feds are going to get their act together to get us the money that we need to do it,’” Shumlin said.

The governor said he will not tell Congress how to address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, but would support moving to a tax that is assessed on the number of miles driven rather based on the gallons of fuel purchased.

“I would love to see us move to a vehicle miles traveled tax, but I understand that can’t get done by May. The point is we have both a long-term need to move to a fairer way of raising revenue, because obviously electric cars need to contribute to, but the real challenge we face right now is if we don’t get money in that fund by May, all 50 states will lose the battle against crumbling roads and bridges and I just don’t think there’s an American who believes that’s a good idea,” Shumlin said.

neal.goswami@timesargus.com

Release: Leahy tackles homelessness

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday reintroduced bipartisan legislation to curb youth homelessness, which affects 1.6 million teens throughout the country who are among the most likely to become victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) joined as original bill cosponsors.

 Leahy noted that the winter snowstorms in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions currently threatening the safety of thousands of Americans spotlight the importance of passing this bipartisan bill to ensure that homeless children are not left to face such challenges alone.

 Leahy said:  “Homelessness is on the rise for youths and young adults.  Too many young people in Vermont and around the country find themselves without safe places to sleep at night.  These programs, offering outreach and early intervention for runaway and homeless teens, are the last line of defense for teens in crisis.  Youth homelessness also can be a pipeline to chronic homelessness, victimization, sexual exploitation and trafficking in urban and rural communities.  It’s our job in Congress to do what we can to counter this tragic reality, this scandal in the shadows.  I am proud to say that last year, 95 percent of teens receiving services from the Vermont Coalition for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs were able to exit to safe living situations.”

 Thirty-nine percent of the homeless population is under the age of 18, and the average age at which a teen becomes homeless is 14.7 years old.  A 2013 study by the Convenant House offers startling details about the connection between youth homelessness and human trafficking.  The Leahy-Collins Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act reauthorizes programs that help youth obtain housing, education and job training.  The bill includes training for service providers to identify victims of trafficking, and it includes a new provision that prohibits grantees from denying services based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

 Leahy and Collins introduced similar legislation last year, which earned bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee but stalled in the Senate.  Leahy has long been a champion of youth services provided by the original Runaway and Homeless Youth Protection Act and fought for its reauthorization in 1998 and again in 2003.  He has also worked for years to counter the tragedy of human trafficking, most recently by including a reauthorization of the bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Act as part of his Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in 2013, and by supporting increased appropriations for trafficking victims under last year’s Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

 Collins said:  “As Chairman of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, one of my goals is to address chronic homelessness.  We must make sure our nation’s homeless youth have the same opportunity to succeed as other youth.  The programs reauthorized by this bill are critical in helping homeless youth stay off the street and find stable, sustainable housing.”

 

The bill is supported by the National Network for Youth, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, the True Colors Fund, the Center for American Progress, and the Human Rights Campaign, among many others. 

 

Release: Sanders introduces infrastructure bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced far-reaching legislation to rebuild America’s crumbling network of roads, bridges and transit systems and other infrastructure projects. The five-year plan would invest $1 trillion and create or maintain at least 13 million decent-paying jobs, said Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee ranking member.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the ranking member of the appropriations committee, and it is backed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the AFL-CIO and others.

“For too many years, we’ve underfunded our nation’s physical infrastructure. We have to change that and that’s what the Rebuild America Act is all about. We must modernize our infrastructure and create millions of new jobs that will put people back to work and help the economy,” Sanders said.

“My legislation puts 13 million people to work repairing the backlog of infrastructure projects all across this country. These projects require equipment, supplies and services, and the hard-earned salaries from these jobs will be spent in countless restaurants, shops and other local businesses. It’s no surprise that groups across the political spectrum – from organized labor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – agree that investing in infrastructure will pay dividends for future generations.”

Sanders’ bill makes targeted investments in roads, bridges, transit, passenger and freight rail, water infrastructure, marine ports and inland waterways, national parks, municipal broadband and the electric grid. A short summary of the bill can be found here and the text of the bill itself is here.

Tom Trotter, legislative representative for the AFL-CIO, said Sanders proposal will “raise the profile about the serious needs of our nation’s infrastructure. This proposal provides a stark blueprint of what needs to be accomplished and provides an opportunity to create millions of new jobs.”

Casey Dinges, senior managing director at the society of engineers, said: “Senator Sanders’ initiative to invest $1 trillion over five years through his Rebuild America Act will have a far-reaching impact on restoring and modernizing our nation’s aging infrastructure.”

And Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania and a leader of the Building America’s Future initiative, said: “America’s infrastructure is falling apart. It is time to get serious about modernizing our infrastructure as the consequences of further inaction are unconscionable.”

Release: Welch stands up for privacy with GPS Act

Rep. Peter Welch, joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Jon Conyers Jr. (D-MI), reintroduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act) last week.  The legislation creates clear rules about when law enforcement agencies can access and track Americans’ electronic location data.

 “Cell phones are in the pockets and purses of most Americans,” said Welch. “While tracking technology has transformed our lives in many positive ways, it also poses a risk to privacy through potential misuse of tracking data.  The time has come to modernize our statutes to reflect the technology of our age.  This bipartisan legislation protects Americans’ right to privacy while ensuring law enforcement officials are able do their important jobs.”

 “Buying a smartphone shouldn’t be interpreted as giving the government a free pass to track your movements,” said Wyden. “GPS data can be a valuable tool for law enforcement, but our laws need to keep up with technology and set out exactly when and how the government can collect Americans’ electronic location data.”

 “As technology makes tracking people’s movements easier and less expensive, we need to update our laws to protect privacy and respect individual rights,” said Chaffetz. “In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States vJones, which was certainly a step in the right direction, we need clarification specific to the use of GPS technology. This law will settle the controversy and provide specific and clear guidelines to ensure this valuable and effective technology is not abused.”

 “Smartphones make our lives easier, but the privacy of the individual and due process are fundamental to the American way of life,” said Kirk. “Law enforcement can greatly benefit from information obtained from smartphones and GPS devices – but only if it’s obtained legally.”

 “We must enact the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act to require the government to obtain a warrant based on probable cause to compel companies such as cell phone service providers to disclose the geolocation information of their customers,” said Conyers. “Geolocation tracking, whether information about where we have been or where we are going, strikes at the heart of personal privacy interests.  The pattern of our movements reveals much about ourselves.  When individuals are tracked in this way, the government is able to generate a profile of a person’s public movements that includes details about a person’s familial, political, professional, religious, and other intimate associations.  That is why we need this legislation to provide a strong and clear legal standard to protect this information.”

 Courts have issued conflicting opinions about whether the government needs a warrant to track Americans through their cell phones and other GPS devices. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2012’s U.S. vs. Jones case that attaching a GPS tracking device to a vehicle requires a warrant, but it did not address other digital location tracking, including through cell phones, OnStar systems and consumer electronics devices.

 The GPS Act applies to all domestic law enforcement acquisitions of the geolocation information of individual Americans without their knowledge, including acquisitions from private companies and direct acquisitions through the use of ‘Stingrays’ and other devices.  It would also combat high-tech stalking by creating criminal penalties for surreptitiously using an electronic device to track a person’s movements, and it would prohibit commercial service providers from sharing customers’ geolocation information with outside entities without customer consent.

Video: Welch presser on travel and tourism

Congressional members ask for FairPoint assessment

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Members of Congress from Vermont and New Hampshire have called on the Federal Communications Commission to assess the ability of FairPoint Communications to operate emergency communications networks in both states following outages last year.

There was a six-hour outage of Vermont’s 911 system in November and a four-hour outage of Portsmouth, New Hampshire 911 services in December.

With about 1,800 FairPoint workers on strike in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont since October, the lawmakers said in their letter Wednesday that FairPoint’s networks and equipment have failed with increasing frequency and customer complaints have soared.

A FairPoint spokeswoman says the utility is making progress daily to reduce load trouble caused by the strike and “incredibly bad” weather over the past three months.

Vermont Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch; and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster sent the letter.

Leahy leads delegation to Cuba

WASHINGTON (AP) — A delegation of congressional Democrats began a three-day visit to Cuba on Saturday to discuss expectations for the normalization of relations between the United States and the island nation.

The delegation’s leader, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said in a statement Saturday that the lawmakers want to explore opportunities for greater cooperation and to encourage Cuban officials to address issues of concern to Americans and their representatives in Congress.

Traveling with Leahy were Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and congressmen Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Peter Welch of Vermont.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning a trade mission to Cuba to promote the state, spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa said Saturday. Details were not announced.

Last month, President Barack Obama announced plans for renewed economic ties and other administration-led initiatives aimed at re-establishing relations with Cuba. Many congressional Republicans have been cool to the effort.

Sanders proposes moratorium on Postal Service cuts

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed legislation to impose a two-year ban on the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to cut up to 15,000 jobs, close more mail-sorting plants and stop overnight delivery of first-class mail and periodicals.

Sanders, an independent, filed the proposal Friday as an amendment to a bill pending in the full Senate.

Sanders said the Postal Service has closed 141 mail-processing plants since 2012 and wants to close as many as 82 facilities. He says unless Congress acts, the cuts could affect thousands of workers in 37 states.

His proposal was co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy and other Democratic senators from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin.

As Syria vote nears, Welch asks for input from constituents

Vermont Congressman Peter WelchStill undecided on the issue of whether or not to approve military strikes in Syria, Rep. Peter Welch is asking constituents to aid later this evening in his deliberations.

Welch tonight will hold a “telephone town hall” in which Vermonters can register their opinions on the President’s plan to launch air strikes in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“Should we, as the President proposes, strike the Assad regime to deter a reoccurrence of the abomination of raining poison gas on innocent people — and in doing so risk the real potential of being pulled into another Middle East war?” Welch said in a Facebook post announcing the event. “Or should we not attack to avoid that risk when inaction may well be seen by Assad and others as a green light for the use of chemical weapons?”

Welch said “both paths will likely have negative and unintended consequences.”

Welch has said his decision will be influenced significantly by information he’ll receive in a classified briefing, a briefing his staff said the Democratic congressman will be receiving later this afternoon.

To participate in the telephone town hall, call toll-free (877) 229-8493 at 7:30 p.m., and enter the PIN: 13785

Leahy ‘straw purchase’ gun bill advances out of Judiciary Committee

By Edward Donga | For the Rutland Herald and Times Argus

WASHINGTON — Breaking down largely along party lines, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-7 Thursday to approve a bill, sponsored by Chairman Patrick Leahy, that would outlaw the so-called straw purchase of firearms.

The committee’s action paves the way for the legislation to come before the full Senate for debate.

A straw purchase involves someone buying a firearm for another individual — such as a convicted felon — who would otherwise be unable to purchase it because he or she cannot pass the required background check.

“The practice of straw purchasing firearms is undertaken for one reason: to get a gun into the hands of someone who is prohibited from having one,” said Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont. “We know that many of the guns used in criminal activities are acquired through straw purchases.”
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