Op-Eds

11.21.19

Climate change and dark money

by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

The earth is spinning toward climate catastrophe. The international community has about a decade to take the steps necessary to avoid breaching the 1.5 degrees Celsius safety zone that the scientific community has established. It will take American leadership to achieve that goal, which means not only bold action in Congress, but meaningful leadership from the president, our allies around the globe, and leadership from powerful forces like major corporations. Unfortunately, much of corporate Am… Continue Reading


11.05.19

The unglamorous job of federal budgeting

by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Mike Enzi (R-WY)

OPINION - It is no secret that a vast majority of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Too often our political debates are characterized by hyperpartisanship, rather than achieving meaningful outcomes for the American people. Nowhere is this problem more acute than when it comes to our inability to address our country's unsustainable fiscal course. Our current budget process is broken, as evidenced by mounting debt and deficits, a patchwork of temporary spending bills, government … Continue Reading


10.02.19

R.I. hospitals should coordinate, not split themselves apart

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Once the hard feelings of the recent failed hospital merger abate, we need to get back to work improving health-care delivery in Rhode Island. Competition works in much of the economy, but not so well in health care; not when you're brought to the emergency room unconscious; not for complicated illnesses; not for people managing multiple conditions. Rhode Island has invested a lot of effort into building the elements of a smart, coordinated system to serve patients, especially in the areas of d… Continue Reading


09.20.19

On Kavanaugh and the FBI, time to investigate the investigation: Sen. Whitehouse

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

When I was a U.S. attorney, I worked closely with the FBI. When the FBI investigators were looking at something, what they wanted was information. The FBI is a machine for the acquisition and retention of information on cases. When the FBI began repelling and deflecting information in its investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's alleged history of sexual misconduct last year, that was unusual - a warning flag. Because of my position on the Senate Judiciary Committee, people reached out to my of… Continue Reading


09.06.19

The Supreme Court has become just another arm of the GOP

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, represents Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate. Politics is a team sport. We battle, and our courts are supposed to referee our disputes. But what if one team spent years and millions of dollars to capture the referees, so the refs could declare that team the winner whenever they fell short on the field? If you were on the other team, you'd cry foul. You'd ask: "Hey, when did the law become a team sport, too?'' A few weeks ago, several Senate co… Continue Reading


07.01.19

'Knick'-Picking: Why a Recent SCOTUS Ruling Signals a New Day

by Sheldon Whitehouse

For years, back to when I argued the U.S. Supreme Court case Palazzolo v. Rhode Island as Rhode Island's attorney general, big-money developers and regulated industries and the lawyer groups that front for them have been trying to turn the Constitution's takings clause into a weapon against the government. The court's decision in Knick v. Township of Scott just gave them a big prize-and showed how much control those interests now have. At first glance, the facts in Knick are unremarkable: a par… Continue Reading


06.07.19

Saving the oceans — one place where Congress can agree

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Francis Rooney

Human beings have not always been good stewards of our oceans. We have overexploited their natural gifts, polluted their waves with garbage, acidified them with carbon dioxide, and threatened their shores with offshore drilling. Thankfully, there is bipartisan support in Washington to take action. We come from different regions, backgrounds, and political parties. Yet we are united by our passion for keeping our coasts and oceans healthy. In New England, our fishing heritage has long been tied… Continue Reading


05.26.19

The Green New Deal vote shows Republicans would rather mock climate change than challenge big lobbying groups

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Jared Huffman

We are from opposite coasts, serve on opposite sides of the Capitol and one of us is in the majority party while the other is in the minority, but we share one thing as members of Congress: The political experience of having a relentless adversary, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to any and all meaningful legislative solutions on climate change. We also share the experience of working with our local chambers of commerce, which represent the business community in our home states in positive, honor… Continue Reading


05.26.19

US must ‘reassert global leadership’ in nuclear energy or lose out to Russia and China

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Mike Crapo

As partisan gridlock on a few high-profile issues dominates headlines, it is easy to lose sight of goals members of both parties share. For us, one bipartisan goal is protecting America's longstanding leadership on nuclear energy. Our bipartisan work comes as American nuclear energy leadership faces stiff headwinds. Nuclear plants are shuttering nationwide due to competition from cheap natural gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reportedtwelve U.S. reactors with a combined ca… Continue Reading


05.02.19

We Asked William Barr Straight Questions. He Gave Crooked Answers.

by Sheldon Whitehouse

I have served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for twelve years. I have never witnessed a performance like Attorney General William Barr's on Wednesday. Here is what I saw. First, his testimony was an astonishing exercise in dissembling. Barr gave a head-spinning explanation of why he did not disclose in House testimony the letter in which Robert Mueller forcefully pushed back on Barr's initial summary of the Mueller report. He quarreled over whether his summary was a "summary." He said Specia… Continue Reading


04.26.19

The Supreme Court’s Anti-Worker Rulings Are So Routine Now That We Hardly Notice Them. Big Mistake.

by Sheldon Whitehouse

The Supreme Court's conservative bloc delivered yet another 5-4 decision helping corporate interests this week. You may not have heard about it, as these 5-4 pro-corporate rulings are now issued like clockwork. A distinct pattern has emerged among the court's "partisan" rulings, where the Roberts Five render a 5-4 decision attracting no support from the more liberal justices. This one comes at the expense of American workers. This latest partisan 5-4 decision-which came in the case of Lamps Plu… Continue Reading


03.18.19

Why I am supporting the Medicare for All Act

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Our health care system has come a long way under the Affordable Care Act. Rhode Island's health insurance exchange is a national model and our uninsured rate is among the lowest in the country. Nonetheless, many Rhode Island families and small business owners spend far too much on health care. This challenge isn't unique to Rhode Island. America's health care system is dizzyingly complex and inefficient. One consequence of that complexity is that the United States spends far more on health care… Continue Reading


03.08.19

Putin and other authoritarians’ corruption is a weapon — and a weakness

by David Petraeus and Sheldon Whitehouse

Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, the world is once again polarized between two competing visions for how to organize society. On one side are countries such as the United States, which are founded on respect for the inviolable rights of the individual and governed by rule of law. On the other side are countries where state power is concentrated in the hands of a single person or clique, accountable only to itself and oiled by corruption. Alarmingly, while Washington has grown ambival… Continue Reading


01.29.19

The Real Reason John Roberts Just Offered a Low-Stakes Win to Workers

by Sheldon Whitehouse

You'd be forgiven if, like me, you did a double-take when the Supreme Court handed down an exceedingly rare victory for workers over corporate interests this month. In an 8-0 ruling (Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate), the court affirmed a lower-court decision holding that independent contractors who work in transportation may not be forced into mandatory arbitration contracts. As the unanimous result in New Prime v. Oliveira suggests, and as I argued in my amicus brief to the court, t… Continue Reading


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

The Supreme Court must step in: Both major parties are testing American democracy by gerrymandering

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

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