Let’s Shine a Light on Big Money in Politics

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

The American people are making it clear that they're fed up with a system that gives special treatment to special interests while middle-class families suffer. Everywhere they look, it's the same story: a tax system that allows multimillion-dollar earners to pay a lower tax rate than a truck driver or janitor; a banking system that allows credit card companies to ignore local laws and charge sky-high interest rates to consumers; and, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision,… Continue Reading


Closing the Doughnut Hole Provides Relief to Rhode Island Seniors

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

In this tough economy, with seniors hit particularly hard, I'm thankful that a boost to Social Security income starts in January. I'm also thankful that last year's health care reform law is providing some relief from the cost of prescription drugs, which continues to place a heavy burden on many retired Rhode Islanders. As I travel across the state, I have heard countless stories about Rhode Island seniors affected by the dreaded Medicare Part D "doughnut hole." This coverage gap leaves thousa… Continue Reading


Let’s have a straight deal for R.I. consumers of credit

by Sheldon Whitehouse

With the holiday shopping season upon us, Rhode Islanders deserve to know that they are getting a straight deal from their credit-card company - that they will be able to buy that special gift for a child or loved one without being slammed by unfair interest rates. Unfortunately, right now, too many of the big banks and their credit-card subsidiaries are taking advantage of middle-class families through a loophole that allows them to ignore the laws of consumers' home states and charge sky-high … Continue Reading


A plan to help R.I. businesses add jobs

by Sheldon Whitehouse

With unemployment still near 11 percent in Rhode Island, job creation remains my number one priority in the U.S. Senate. I know too many families in our state are hurting. I've heard from so many Rhode Islanders about how this tough economy has affected them: families struggling to keep their homes, unemployed workers struggling to find that next job, and small businesses who need to hire more workers but just aren't sure they can afford it. I hear you loud and clear, and I am fighting hard i… Continue Reading


Congress must keep promises to seniors

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Since the start of the recession, seniors in Rhode Island have struggled to keep up with rising costs at the pharmacy, grocery store and gas pump. Making matters worse, they haven't seen an increase in Social Security payments since 2009 - the longest such lack in decades. Seniors all over the state have told me that their dollar simply doesn't go as far as it used to, and many are worried about what the future will bring. I will continue to fight for our seniors and make sure that their voice… Continue Reading


Cybersecurity needs complete plan

by Sheldon Whitehouse

The Internet has nurtured a remarkable amount of innovation, commerce, freedom of expression and economic connectivity. But these great benefits are accompanied by an ever-growing number of serious cybersecurity threats. Cybercrime has put our country on the losing end of what could be the largest illicit transfer of wealth in world history. Whatever its form - copying source code, industrial espionage of military product designs, identity theft, online piracy or outright theft from banks - cyb… Continue Reading


Keeping Rhode Island Families in Their Homes

by Sheldon Whitehouse

This has been a hard winter for many Rhode Island families: heavy snow and freezing temperatures; the lingering effects of the recession in double digit unemployment and budget shortfalls; and perhaps most cruelly in these winter months, foreclosures which cost many families their homes and blight surrounding neighborhoods. Nearly more than one in twelve Rhode Island homes are currently either in foreclosure or have delinquent payments of at least 90 days. These are our friends and neighbors. … Continue Reading


Seeking a fair deal for R.I. manufacturers

by Sheldon Whitehouse

From the Old Slater Mill, in Pawtucket, to modern submarine production, at Quonset Point, the manufacturing sector has always been central to Rhode Island's economy. Simply put, in the Ocean State, a strong manufacturing sector means a strong economy. Now, as we face our 21st month of double-digit unemployment, we must do more to revitalize the state's proud manufacturing sector. Over and over, I've traveled around the state to meet with local manufacturers, listen to their frustrations and dis… Continue Reading


A plan to mend filibuster, not end it

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Many Americans remember Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," standing at his desk on the Senate floor, mounting a filibuster - reading from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bible. "Democracy's finest show," Frank Capra has one character say, "the right to talk your head off ... the American privilege of free speech in its most dramatic form ... one lone and single American holding the greatest floor in the land ... bleary-eyed, voice gone." Americans today … Continue Reading


Judicial activism

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Once again, the first Monday in October has brought another term at the U.S. Supreme Court. And once again, the Court has taken up questions of constitutional and statutory law that deeply affect the lives of all Americans. As the new term proceeds, it's a useful time to consider "judicial activism," and what this charge means. For years, we've heard about liberal judicial activism, a term leveled by conservatives so repeatedly that it is now in the common parlance, but without any clear meanin… Continue Reading


Why We Need a Foreclosure Moratorium

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Following an all-too-brief period of public scrutiny, Bank of America announced last week that it's back to business as usual, resuming 102,000 foreclosures in 23 states. Like several of the other large mortgage servicers, the bank had voluntarily frozen foreclosures earlier this month in light of revelations that its agents had not followed proper procedures in foreclosing on homeowners. With voluntary efforts to stem the foreclosure crisis falling short time and again, we now should consider a… Continue Reading


A foreclosure nightmare

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

The Wall Street Journal's projection this week that investment banks will pay out a record $144 billion in bonuses this season shows that Wall Street has recovered from the recession. The homeowners whose mortgages were securitized and used to fuel the Wall Street bubble, however, are not doing nearly as well. Foreclosures remain epidemic in harder-hit states like Florida, Nevada, and my home state of Rhode Island, and our economies are slow to recover as a result. Elected officials have heard … Continue Reading


Creating Jobs by Investing in Infrastructure

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

When President Obama took office, the economy was in a tailspin the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. Back in January of 2008, we were losing 700,000 jobs per month and things appeared to be getting worse. In response to this crisis, President Obama worked with Congress to pass the Recovery Act, which stemmed the bleeding by creating or supporting an estimated 3 million jobs to date, including 11,000 in Rhode Island. While we can never know exactly how bad things mig… Continue Reading


Cyber self-defense can help U.S. security

by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Barbara Mikulski, and Olympia Snowe

Recently, we completed an intensive, bipartisan six-month study on cybersecurity and presented it to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Although the nature of our study requires that most of it be classified, one of our key findings is entirely unclassified, and we hope it will change the way the country acts in cyberspace. Simply put, computer users must practice active cyber self-defense. This means that if users would allow automatic, and generally free, software updates and maint… Continue Reading


It’s crucial to extend jobless benefits

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Rhode Island businesses are working hard to recover from the Great Recession, but more than 71,000 people in the state remain unemployed through no fault of their own. Our unemployment rate now stands at 12.3 percent. It has been at more than 8 percent for nearly two years, at double digits for more than a year. I hear from constituents all the time who are eager to get back to work, but the jobs simply are not there. Through the recession and its aftermath, Congress has done the right thing a… Continue Reading


Jobs missing, not motivation

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

As America continues to recover from the Great Recession, millions of people remain out of work through no fault of their own - including more than 71,000 people in my home state of Rhode Island. Through the recession and its aftermath, Congress has done the right thing and extended unemployment benefits to ensure that families can make ends meet during unusually long job searches. Unfortunately, these emergency programs expired earlier this month, and Senate Republicans are obstructing further… Continue Reading


Climbing Out of the Doughnut Hole

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

This week marked the beginning of the end for the dreaded Medicare Part D "doughnut hole," which hurts an estimated 15,100 Rhode Islanders each year by stripping them of much needed prescription drug coverage. Starting on Thursday, the federal government began distributing checks for $250 to anyone currently in the doughnut hole and lacking prescription drug coverage. And, thanks to this year's health care reform legislation, the doughnut hole will be closed entirely by the year 2020. This is g… Continue Reading


Restore a historical safeguard

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

As the Senate completes debate on historic Wall Street reform legislation, it needs to address a problem that has caused severe stress for so many American families: runaway interest rates on credit cards. Credit card companies now charge rates that, until recently, would have been illegal in most states. Rates of up to 30 percent are not uncommon. Yet states are powerless to stop the practice. Currently pending before the Senate is a bipartisan amendment to the Wall Street reform bill that wo… Continue Reading


Closing the "doughnut hole"

by Sheldon Whitehouse

When I ran for the United States Senate in 2006 and during my travels around Rhode Island since then, I met countless seniors who are frustrated and confused by Medicare's prescription drug program, called "Medicare Part D." Specifically, Rhode Islanders are too often blindsided by the Part D coverage gap, or "doughnut hole," which exposes seniors to the full cost of prescription drugs after yearly drug expenses exceed $2,830. Drug coverage doesn't resume until they spend $6,440 for the year -… Continue Reading


We need to act on cybersecurity

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

There is an important debate unfolding across government and the private sector over a critical national security issue: how to secure America's information networks from cybersabotage, espionage and attacks. Cyberassault, from criminal organizations of unprecedented scale and sophistication, and from powerful nations and their proxies, is relentless against American strategic and commercial interests. As an example of the scale of the threat, one American company had 38 terabytes of sensitive … Continue Reading

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