Speeches

11.18.20

Time to Wake Up 275: Georgia on My Mind

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, it is timely that I should be giving my ``Time to Wake Up'' speech with the distinguished Senator from Louisiana presiding because I am going to be talking about sea level rise, and seeing him in the chair reminds me of a recent report on what sea level rise is doing to the great State of Louisiana, ``the sportsman's paradise,'' in which a scientist from Tulane University--a Tulane University geologist--was asked about the report about what the State had to look fo… Continue Reading


11.10.20

TIme to Wake Up 274: Glimmer of Light

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, as I begin my remarks, let me thank my friend Senator Lankford for his eloquent comments about our veterans and those who have served and given their lives for us. I am here with my trusty and battered "Time to Wake up" graphic because, after 4 dark years on climate, there is at last a glimmer of light on the horizon. President-Elect Biden has promised to redirect the executive branch to address climate change in the clear light of real science, out of the dark… Continue Reading


10.22.20

Sen. Whitehouse Remarks in the Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting to Nominate Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court

Mr. Chairman, I'll try to be brief. Let me first say how surprised I am that Senator Kennedy finds us all interesting, because I have operated under the principle for many years that everybody from Louisiana is more interesting than I am. I would like to associate myself, just for the sake of time particularly, with the remarks of Senator Blumenthal, who spoke in a way that I thought was very true and eloquent and does not need my repetition. I do want to suggest to colleagues that the rule of… Continue Reading


10.14.20

Sen. Whitehouse Remarks on Day 3 of Judge Barrett's Confirmation Hearing

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you, Chairman. Judge Barrett. BARRETT: Senator. WHITEHOUSE: First, if I may, Chairman, let me ask unanimous consent that an essay I wrote for the Harvard Journal of Legislation called Dark Money and U.S. Courts be admitted to the record. GRAHAM: Without objection. WHITEHOUSE: That a report that some Democrats prepared called Captured Courts be admitted to the record, and that an article by Christopher Leonard of the New York Times called Charles Koch's Big Bet on Barrett, d… Continue Reading


10.13.20

Sen. Whitehouse Questioning on Day 2 of Judge Barrett's Confirmation Hearing

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you, Chairman. Judge Barrett, you can take a bit of a breather on your return to the committee because what I want to do is go through, with the people who are watching this now, the conversation that you and I had when we spoke on the telephone. You were kind enough to hear out a presentation that I made, and I intend to ask some questions in that area, but it doesn't make sense to ask questions if I haven't laid the predicate, particularly for viewers who are watching this. … Continue Reading


09.29.20

Time to Wake Up 273: Change the Chamber

Mr. President, I am back again, thee and me once again together, to discuss climate change as unprecedented wildfires scorch the west coast and a deadly hurricane season turns in the Atlantic and Americans cry out for action. Powerful players outside this Chamber hear that cry, including, recently, over 200 CEOs of major American corporations who form the Business Roundtable. Here are some of the 200 companies represented by those CEOs. As I discussed last week, the Business Roundtable just ea… Continue Reading


09.22.20

Time to Wake Up: Business Roundtable vs. Corporate Inaction

Mr. President, this is a ``Time to Wake Up'' good news-bad news speech. The good news from last week is on business community support for carbon pricing. What is carbon pricing? Well, remember that IMF--the International Monetary Fund--pegs the fossil fuel subsidy in the United States at more than $600 billion per year, so the energy market is dramatically tilted to favor fossil fuels. Carbon pricing helps set that right, helps make an even playing field. It is economics 101. And carbon pricing… Continue Reading


09.15.20

Time to Wake Up: Recent Reports

Mr./Mdm. President, I rise for the 271st time to call this chamber's attention to two reports on the defining issue of our generation. As I speak, wildfires devour the American West, and consume American lives: in East of Salem, Oregon, two people dead in a scorched vehicle; in Butte County, California, three dead, overrun by a fast-moving fire; in Ashland, a 1-year-old boy; almost the entire town of Malden, Washington burned down. Half a million Oregonians evacuated due to fire; one out of ten… Continue Reading


09.09.20

Time to Wake Up: Ocean Warnings

Mr./Mdm. President, I rise today for the 270th time to call this chamber to action on the issue of climate change. The world is in the clutches of a pandemic disease that touches, directly or indirectly, virtually every human being on the face of the earth. It is costing us in lives, money, and immeasurable human pain. It didn't have to be this way. We could have been better prepared. President Trump was left a detailed playbook from his predecessor, but he ignored it. Trump did away with key … Continue Reading


09.09.20

Sen. Whitehouse Condemns Pres. Trump's Disrespectful Comments About Veterans

Mr. President, I am honored to join Senator Duckworth in supporting this proposal. It gives me great pride to serve in the Senate with her. She is the living embodiment of the kind of sacrifice that our President does not understand. There are two things here, though, that are very wrong. One is a President who thinks that the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have laid down their lives for this country are ``suckers'' and ``losers'' and that it is OK to say that about them. It is beyo… Continue Reading


08.05.20

Sen. Whitehouse on the Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act

Mr. President, I am grateful to have the chance to follow my friend from Pennsylvania, who has shown such great leadership with respect to healthcare and particularly with respect to the nursing home population. I am delighted to join him to discuss what COVID is doing to the elder Americans who are in our nursing homes and long-term care facilities, because this illness has swept like a savage scythe through those facilities. In my small State of Rhode Island, 750 residents of long-term care f… Continue Reading


08.04.20

Time to Wake Up: Same Crew

Mr. President, I am here today for a different topic. I am here for the 269th time with my increasingly battered ``Time to Wake Up'' poster to try to alert this Chamber to the threat of climate change--something, obviously, Louisiana knows very well--and to the forces that are blocking action on climate. In these climate speeches, I have talked often about the insidious encroachment on American Government of special interest power, which is what is behind all this climate denial and obstruction… Continue Reading


03.11.20

Time to Wake Up: Blaring Economic Alarms

Mr./Mdm. President, I rise today, for number 268, to urge colleagues here in the Senate: wake up, and see the looming danger we face from climate change. Look at recent climate effects in our Southern Hemisphere. The most devastating wildfires anyone can remember have ripped across Australia, burned more than a fifth of Australia's forests, destroying thousands of homes, killing an estimated 1 billion animals, and making a day of breathing air in Sydney like smoking 37 cigarettes. In the oce… Continue Reading


03.03.20

Time to Wake Up: The Chamber Knew

Mr./Mdm. President, I am here today for the 267th time to call this chamber to wake up to the threat of climate change. Let me dive right in with a report from over 30 years ago that was presented to a major conference here in Washington, D.C. On the first page, it reads: Increases in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other key gases . . . that are opaque to portions of the infrared spectrum result in the "greenhouse effect" or global warming. When short wavelength infrare… Continue Reading


02.25.20

Time to Wake Up: Dwindling Catches

Mr./Mdm. President, I come to again raise an alarm about the massive carbon pollution we are dumping into our natural world, and to tell the stories of two ocean creatures suffering from that pollution. We may mock or ignore these creatures, these lesser creatures so far down the food chain from us, but we are fools to ignore the message of what is happening to them. Matthew 25:41 admonishes, "as you did it to one of the least of these . . . , you did it to me." So we ought not mock and igno… Continue Reading


02.11.20

Time to Wake Up: Bad Ads

Mr./Mdm. President, I am here again as the Senate returns to its regular business, to call us to respond to the threat of climate change. Here on the floor today, things seem back to normal. The floor is empty. The quorum calls descend between speakers. Our new pages are figuring out the routine. Mr./Mdm. President, things are anything but normal. The threat of climate change worsens by the minute. Carbon emissions continue to rise globally. We hurtle toward calamity. And yet we do not act. … Continue Reading


01.14.20

Time to Wake Up: 7 Charts

Mr./Mdm. President, Grist did an article recently about climate change, with images. I grabbed a few, and added a few. They give a pretty good overview of the mess we're in on climate change. The most devastating wildfires anyone can remember are ripping across Australia. Those fires have destroyed thousands of homes; killed an estimated 1 billion animals; and made a day of breathing air in Sydney the equivalent of smoking 37 cigarettes. Why? According to the Australian Bureau of Meteoro… Continue Reading


01.07.20

Time to Wake Up: 2019 in Review

Mr./Mdm. President, here we are in 2020 and I am still coming to the floor to try to wake this chamber up to the perils of climate change. Pathetic. Why do I have to be doing another of these speeches? Why don't we heed the warnings of our foremost scientists, of our military, of top financial institutions, of our own home-state universities? What does it take to get our attention here? Why is the fossil fuel industry's unlimited dark money still flooding our politics? Why are the biggest lob… Continue Reading


12.18.19

Time to Wake Up: Methane and the Captured EPA

We're rapidly running out of time to protect our future, and that of our children and grandchildren, from worsening climate upheaval. America ought to be taking every measure available to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, from legislative action, to legal action, to diplomatic action, to regulatory action. But we're not, because of corruption. Regulatory action means enforcing the laws on the books. We have a Clean Air Act that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to stop dangerous p… Continue Reading


12.11.19

Time to Wake Up: No COP Out

Mr./Mdm. President, I rise to again call this chamber to wake up to the threat of climate change - and to say about Paris, in chorus with millions of Americans, "we're still in." And in truth, America is still in The Paris Agreement. When you look at the states that are still in; when you look at the cities that are still in; when you look at the companies and universities that are still in; it's the vast majority of the American economy. Despite President Trump's fossil fuel nonsense, we rea… Continue Reading

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