Op-Eds

12.02.15

Why Republicans Continue to Deny Climate Science

by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail are digging themselves into quite a hole. Climate change is both a critical issue for our world's security and sustainability, and a key political issue that could help decide who wins the White House in 2016. And yet Republicans continue to deny climate science, dismiss the urgency of action, or exaggerate the costs of the President's plans to address it. To read the full article, click here.… Continue Reading


09.28.15

The Many Sins of ‘Citizens United’

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Our politics is awash in cash. Super PACs supporting presidential candidates have banked more than $250 million through June 30-nearly 10 times more than at this point in the 2012 cycle. "Dark money" from anonymous donors is also surging (dark to us, of course; you can bet the candidates know). The political network of Charles and David Koch has said that it plans to spend as much as $900 million in the 2016 election cycle, raised mostly from undisclosed donors. "For that kind of money, you cou… Continue Reading


07.30.15

Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse: Medicare, Medicaid Mark 50 Years of Success

by Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Social Security Act Amendments of 1965, creating a new nationwide health-care program for American seniors: Medicare. Today, Medicare continues to cover doctor's visits and hospital care for older Americans in their time of need, and has been adjusted over the years to increase access to many types of preventive care and prescription drugs. The amendments also established the Medicaid program, a joint federal-state program to p… Continue Reading


07.20.15

Whitehouse and Cardin: America must lead the climate change fight or our leadership record is toast

by Ben Cardin and Sheldon Whitehouse

The atmosphere is warming. Ice is melting. Droughts are worsening; seas are warming, rising and acidifying. We're past theory and well into measurement on those points. Pope Francis recently observed that "[n]ever have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years." The matter of climate change is urgent, and it commands a moral dimension. The United States has an especially strong responsibility to respond to this, the moral issue of our age. We have long been view… Continue Reading


07.07.15

'Laudato Si'': A Call to Action for Congress

by Sheldon Whitehouse

As international pressure continues to mount for serious action on climate change, we should all be thankful for the thoughtful and inspiring words by Pope Francis in his recently published encyclical on the environment, "Luadato Si'." Giving voice to the moral urgency of this issue, the pope has bolstered the arguments of those who labor to wake up our nation and our world to the threats around us. The scientific community has been sounding the alarm for decades. Our most respected scientific … Continue Reading


07.06.15

Time to crack down on 'dark money'

by Sheldon Whitehouse

With an election season looming that promises to feature upwards of 20 candidates spending untold sums of cash as they vie for the White House, it's time again to take a serious look at how we can improve our broken campaign-finance system. Without serious reforms, and with so many candidates drawing support from powerful special interests, the stage is being set for a campaign that caters to the needs of everyone but the American people. How did we get to this point? Simple: Citizens United. T… Continue Reading


05.29.15

The fossil-fuel industry’s campaign to mislead the American people

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution. Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco's denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise. The Big Tobacco playbook looked something like this: (1) pay scientists to produce studies defending your pr… Continue Reading


05.19.15

For better justice, three steps

by Sheldon Whitehouse

On the heels of the tragic events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Baltimore, and too many other communities, Americans are engaged in a renewed debate about our nation's criminal justice system. Have decades of "tough on crime" policies gone too far? Is it time to stop locking up minor offenders for extended periods of time? How can we improve trust between the police and poor, often minority, communities? These are questions worth asking. And there are clear policy responses to some of them. For i… Continue Reading


04.13.15

Right-Wing Groups Get Overheated on Climate Questions

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In late February, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Ed Markey, and I sent a letter to 100 companies, trade groups, and other organizations affiliated with the fossil fuel industry asking whether they spent money to support climate research. That letter provoked a torrent of criticism from conservative groups and publications mischaracterizing our motives and muddling our message. I'd like to set the record straight. So why did we do this? Because we know that financial incentives can affect behavior. Th… Continue Reading


03.26.15

The GOP Budget: Every Tax Loophole Is Sacred

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Every tax loophole is sacred. That's the prime guiding principle of the budget Republicans are trying to push through the Senate. Republicans claim to be concerned with reducing the federal deficit, which their Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) described as a "dangerous financial crisis." But are they willing to sacrifice a single tax loophole to solve the problem? No. And that's telling about their real priorities. The Republican roadmap for the coming decade would cut governmen… Continue Reading


03.13.15

Senator Harry Reid and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: GOP in denial on climate change

by Harry Reid and Sheldon Whitehouse

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recently condemned President Obama's proposed standards to limit carbon pollution from big power plants - pollution that is now totally unregulated. Conspicuously missing from the majority leader's argument was one simple, yet extraordinarily important phrase: "climate change." Republicans in Congress have no plan to address climate change and cannot even bear to utter the words. Even worse, the majority leader wants to impose on states his irrespon… Continue Reading


12.22.13

Celebrating 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

In Rhode Island, our way of life has always been tied to the sea. The ocean provides food for our table, attracts tourists to our shores and gives us an appreciation for the wonders of our planet. Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound support jobs in trade, fishing, boat and ship building, and soon, we hope, offshore wind energy. New England's coasts are home to North Atlantic right whales, which migrate along our coastline, as do humpback and fin whales. Hawksbill, Kemp's ridley and leatherb… Continue Reading


07.02.13

Let's Have the President's Back on Climate Change

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Every week that the Senate is in session -- 37 times and counting -- I speak out about the need for Congress to wake up and address climate change. I urge my colleagues to take action to protect our planet and future generations, and I try to show the abundant evidence that if we fail to act, the consequences will be dire. And yet, Congress continues to sleepwalk -- refusing to act, or to even have a serious debate about the most significant long-term threat facing our world. A barricade of spe… Continue Reading


04.22.13

This Is Real: Climate Change Not Only Hurts the Planet, It’s Already Hurting You

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Today, as we celebrate Earth Day, we are faced with an important choice: will we let the big polluters continue to poison our air and water, and mislead the American public about the damage done by carbon pollution? Or will we rise to the challenge of our time and break through the barricade of special interests that blocks action on climate change in Washington? Big polluters and deniers continue to manufacture doubt about whether climate change is real. They insist that if we just keep our he… Continue Reading


04.09.13

Protecting against cyber-attacks

by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham

Last year, Congress failed to forge a workable framework for cybersecurity to protect the United States against a fast-growing national security and economic threat. Our cyber-networks remain dangerously vulnerable to outside attack and are the repeated targets of foreign governments intent on stealing the fruits of our intellectual and business efforts. Congress must address this crucial issue. The threat to our critical infrastructure, national security and economic prosperity was laid out in… Continue Reading


12.05.12

Health care savings without Medicare cuts

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

As President Barack Obama and congressional leaders continue discussions to avert the so-called fiscal cliff - the mix of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect automatically in January - we hear a troubling but familiar refrain in Washington: To fix our deficit, we must cut Medicare benefits. That is flat-out wrong. The fact is, we have a systemwide health care cost problem in America. Health care expenditures are nearly 18 percent of our gross domestic product. The next least-effi… Continue Reading


09.11.12

Health Information Technology: Paving the Way to Improved Patient Care

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

In the 1950s, President Eisenhower started an interstate highway system to link our country, from Rhode Island to California. To this day, the interstate system remains the heart of our country's road infrastructure, supporting travel, commerce and transportation. This public investment paid off in long-term social and economic benefits for all Americans. Health care offers a new opportunity to build a lasting national infrastructure that will -- like our interstate highway system -- connect in… Continue Reading


07.16.12

Secret spending threatens democracy

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

A conservative organization backed by Karl Rove, American Crossroads, is planning to spend over $300 million in this year's elections - and he's not planning on telling anyone where most of that money is coming from. In fact, there will be over a billion dollars spent this year by Super PACs (political action committees) and other groups - and much of it is shrouded in secrecy. It's a direct threat to our democracy - and it's a direct threat to the interests of ordinary, hardworking Americans.… Continue Reading


05.04.12

State lawmakers must act to fight domestic violence

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, landmark legislation that vastly improved the way our nation responded to incidences of domestic violence. As Rhode Island's attorney general, I saw first-hand how VAWA bolstered our own state's ability to protect and assist victims of domestic violence, and I am committed to protecting this important program. The law expired last year and needs to be reauthorized. The Senate voted 68-31 last week to do just that. The House of Representati… Continue Reading


04.15.12

Make the rich pay their fair share

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

In this time of tight budgets and tough choices, and with income-tax-filing day this Tueday, too many Rhode Islanders are feeling squeezed. To make matters worse, they're hearing about people making over $1 million a year who are actually paying a lower total federal tax rate than they are. That's just wrong. Americans deserve a straight deal, but when it comes to taxes, they're not getting one. Just look at Warren Buffett, a billionaire investor who has famously revealed that he pays a lower f… Continue Reading

Showing page   of 7