Op-Eds

12.30.18

Taxing Carbon Emissions

by Sheldon Whitehouse

To the Editor: I must respectfully disagree with my friend John Barrasso's Op-Ed article ("Cut Carbon Through Innovation, Not Regulation," nytimes.com, Dec. 18). First, the referendum result in Washington State looked like more relentless campaigning by the fossil fuel industry against climate action; without that industry onslaught, the carbon tax referendum there would probably have passed. Second, a carbon tax is not "expensive," except maybe for fossil fuel interests, as in our proposals … Continue Reading


12.19.18

Mergers should protect R.I. patients

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Jane Hayward

We both remember when Rhode Island's major banks were headquartered here in Rhode Island. They kept management decision-making and high-paying jobs in the state while supporting local law firms, accountants, and other service providers. Bank executives provided a strong core of local civic leadership. When the banks merged out of state, it weakened the economic ecosystem. One of the best-known buildings in downtown Providence is a vacant former bank building. The same thing could happen in heal… Continue Reading


12.19.18

Stop Losing: A Senator’s Battle Plan for Beating the Right

by Sheldon Whitehouse

World War II gave us flamboyant American heroes like George Patton and Douglas MacArthur, but Winston Churchill's favorite American general was the quiet, wise, efficient George C. Marshall, whom he called the "organizer of victory." Victory has traits. Victory must be organized. Organization requires strategy, preparation, tactics, training, and teamwork. Brave and able troops have been slaughtered throughout history in failures of organization. Losing has traits, too. As Democrats, we offer … Continue Reading


04.05.18

Bipartisan bill addresses opioid concerns

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Every 25 minutes, a baby is born suffering from withdrawal because the mother is grappling with addiction. These children are heartbreaking victims of an opioid crisis that has taken brutal hold of communities across the country. Rhode Island hospitals, like Women & Infants in Providence, saw the number of babies born into opioid withdrawal nearly triple between 2006 and 2015. That's why one of the key provisions of my new bill to address this public health crisis would increase support for… Continue Reading


03.28.18

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/380495-the-supreme-court-must-step-in-both-major-parties-are-testing

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Trevor Potter

In his final months in office, President Ronald Reagan spoke out about the dangers to American democracy of partisan gerrymandering, calling it on one occasion "a great conflict of interest to ask men holding office, elected from districts, to change the lines of that district to fit the new population changes." Today, nearly 30 years later, it's looking increasingly like this is the year the Supreme Court will finally rein in a gerrymandering practice that undermines a fundamental principle … Continue Reading


03.16.18

The peculiarities of the US financial system make it ideal for money laundering

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Chuck Grassley

The lifeblood of criminal enterprises all over the world is revenue. Money fuels terrorists, transnational criminal organizations, and crooked kleptocrats. These criminals need to launder their ill-gotten gains. Although this dirty money often comes from the most corrupt, unstable countries in the world, it often ends up-ironically-in the United States. Why? Partly because we have the most stable financial system in the world, and these malefactors seek rule-of-law protection for their ill-gott… Continue Reading


02.26.18

Dark Money Union Busters

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Over the last decade, the five-justice Republican-appointed majority on the Supreme Court has forged a glaring pattern of 5-4 decisions that benefit Republicans at the polls and big corporations pretty much everywhere. In election-related rulings involving issues like gerrymandering and suppression of Democratic-leaning voters; in rulings where it's corporations versus humans; and, of course, in letting corporate interests to flood our elections with money, it's been a 5-4 rout in an unmistakabl… Continue Reading


02.22.18

Both Sides of the Aisle Want Better Roads and Ports

by James Inhofe and Sheldon Whitehouse

During his State of the Union address, President Trump called for a broad bipartisan infrastructure package, pledging to improve the nation's infrastructure and invest in the future. If you believe the news reports on partisan bickering in Washington, this bipartisan approach might seem impossible. But we know that it can, and will, happen. We serve on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over most infrastructure bills. Its members include staunch conserva… Continue Reading


02.21.18

Trump is in the back pocket of billionaires

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said, "We have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission -- to make America great again for all Americans." However, behind the scenes, President Trump is not calling all of the shots. While he golfs and tweets and watches cable news, several disturbingly powerful billionaires are pulling the levers and winning special treatment. So, who is behind the curtain? Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor, was brought in as "spec… Continue Reading


02.20.18

Right-wing dirty trick hurts us all

by Sheldon Whitehouse

As the president's and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's recent actions underscore, there is a concerted effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections and possible obstruction of justice. The FBI and the Justice Department have become targets of dirty tricks. The unfair charges are gutter politics: trashing American institutions to protect a president from the due course of the law. I have served as Rhode Island's U.… Continue Reading


02.17.18

Memo on FBI spying a dirty trick

by Sheldon Whitehouse

As the president's and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's recent actions underscore, there is a concerted effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections and possible obstruction of justice. The FBI and the Justice Department have become targets of dirty tricks. The unfair charges are gutter politics: trashing American institutions to protect a president from the due course of the law. I have served as Rhode Island's U.… Continue Reading


02.07.18

The Nunes memo is just one dirty trick in the far right’s smear campaign

by Sheldon Whitehouse

As the president's and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's recent actions underscore, there is a concerted effort to undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections and possible obstruction of justice. The FBI and the Justice Department have become targets of dirty tricks. The unfair charges are gutter politics: trashing American institutions to protect a president from the due course of the law. I have served as Rhode Isla… Continue Reading


12.26.17

How to Keep the Supreme Court From Partisanship

by Sheldon Whitehouse

I share the same concern as Ilya Shapiro in his op-ed "Another Escalation in the Judicial War" (Dec. 18) that "Americans will follow the politicians' lead and think of judges in increasingly partisan terms," and I agree that it's "not healthy for an independent judiciary." One obvious solution is for the Supreme Court to render fewer 5-4 partisan decisions that so obviously confer electoral and financial benefit on the GOP and its corporate benefactors, and so often violate judicial norms to del… Continue Reading


12.15.17

The EPA tries to turn a blind eye to carbon emissions. The courts can stop it.

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In the recent Frontline documentary, War on the EPA, the CEO of the Murray Energy Corporation - the largest coal mining company in the United States - brags that he had given the Trump administration a three-page action plan on rolling back environmental regulations. Less than a year into his term, the president and his officials had already completed the first page, Murray Energy Corporation's Bob Murray says in the film. Indeed, the administration has gone straight to work undoing environment… Continue Reading


12.14.17

Time To Root Out Political Interference With The DOJ

by Sheldon Whitehouse

President Trump was at it again recently, taking to Twitter to besmirch the U.S. Department of Justice, and doubling down on his demand for a DOJ investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. "No justice!" Trump complained, claiming the reputation of the FBI was "in Tatters - worst in History!" This latest outburst comes on the heels of his comments in a radio appearancelast month, lamenting: "The saddest thing is that because I'm the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involv… Continue Reading


12.06.17

UPS and Pfizer’s dirty little secret

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Elizabeth Warren

The blandly named American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is one of the most powerful groups you may have never heard of. ALEC describes itself as the "largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism." In reality, it is an almost entirely corporate-funded front group looking to roll back environmental, consumer and workplace protections in state legislatures across the country. When AL… Continue Reading


11.20.17

Alex Azar must commit to ‘righting the ship’ for health care payments

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In the Affordable Care Act and other subsequent reforms, Congress directed the Department of Health and Human Services to test new ways to pay for health care, challenging health care providers, hospitals, and private insurers to provide better care for less money. Under President Trump and former HHS Secretary Tom Price, that work slowed and, in some cases, stopped altogether. With Price out the door1, the nominee to replace him, Alex Azar2, should commit to righting the ship. Congress passed … Continue Reading


11.10.17

The Paradise Papers are a wake-up call: now Congress must act on tax havens

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Appleby Global Group Services Limited is a very old law firm with a very old mission - helping wealthy people and corporations avoid scrutiny. Beginning on Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists began releasing findings from a trove of 13.4m documents from Appleby and its subsidiaries. The media has dubbed these the "Paradise Papers", and they are deeply troubling. To carry out its mission for its elite clients, Appleby plays a complicated shell game with carefully cr… Continue Reading


10.23.17

Let’s support all those walking the hard but noble path to recovery

by Sheldon Whitehouse

THE OPIOID ADDICTION gripping the U.S. has hit my home state of Rhode Island hard. In 2015, Rhode Island had the fourth highest rate of deaths by opioid overdose in the country, according to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That year, the town of Burrillville, population 16,000, lost six residents to drug overdoses in just the first three months. From 2011 to 2016, overdose deaths in our state increased by more than 90%. We are, of course, far from alone. Virtually every community… Continue Reading


10.06.17

The Auto Industry Needs To Keep Its Word On Fuel Economy Standards

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In 2012, the major automakers told Americans that they had agreed with the Obama administration on new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. Under this agreement, which the automakers enthusiastically endorsed at the time, vehicles will average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard, or CAFE standard, will reduce U.S. oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day and greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons. It will also save Ame… Continue Reading

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