Speeches

04.08.14

Climate Change and National Security

Thank you very much. I'm now here for the sixty-fourth time to ask my colleagues to wake up to the threat of climate change. It was actually, Madam President, almost exactly two years ago-April of 2012-that I began speaking here every week on the Floor that the Senate is in session. I have tried to make a compelling case for my colleagues. First and foremost, I have relied on the overwhelming scientific evidence and the near unanimity of the scientific community. Ninety-seven percent of c… Continue Reading


03.26.14

Climate Change in the Heartland

Thank you very much Madam President. I'm now here for the sixty-second weekly effort to have my colleagues wake up to the threats of climate change. Congress continues to remain sound asleep, I suspect aestheticized by the narcotic drip of polluter money into our veins, but the signs of change around us continue. [Mauna Loa Monthly Carbon Dioxide Concentrations] This is the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide concentrations monthly, and we have just passed again, 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide… Continue Reading


03.04.14

Glacial Snowpack and Climate Change

Thank you, Mr. President. I'm here now for the sixtieth time to ask my colleagues to wake up to the threats of climate change. To see the damage that is being caused by our shifting climate, we need look no further than the Winter Olympics. The most recent Winter Olympics concluded last month. Over 200 countries broadcast the event to an estimated 3.8 billion people worldwide. In Rhode Island, we rooted for our very own Marissa Castelli, who brought home a bronze medal in pairs figure skating… Continue Reading


02.26.14

Citizens United, Congressional Gridlock, and Climate Change

Mr. President, let me thank the distinguished chairman of the Veterans Committee for his remarks and for the relentlessness, the enthusiasm and the passion with which he has pursued putting together this extraordinarily strong bill for our veterans. I look forward to supporting it and I commend him for his excellent work. I'm here because every week that the Senate is in session, now for 59 weeks, I give my climate speech, hoping that someday spark will hit tinder. I could give a whole separa… Continue Reading


02.12.14

The Wilderness Warrior

Mr. President, this marks the fifty-eighth consecutive week we've been in session that I've come to the floor to seek to wake up this Congress to the threat of climate change. Carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is altering the climate; the consensus around this fact within the scientific community-and in fact, the reality-based community, at this point-is overwhelming. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have dumped 2 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air and … Continue Reading


01.29.14

Effects of Climate-Related Sea Level and Erosion

Mr. President, this is the fifty-sixth time, the fifty-sixth consecutive week that we have been in session in the Senate that I have come to the floor to sound an alarm about carbon pollution and the harm that it is causing to our oceans and to our coastal communities. The fifty-sixth time. And frankly, I'm getting a little sick of it. I'm getting sick of the Republican Party being completely the tool of the polluters. I'm sick of the phony denial, and of not getting anything done. And I'm … Continue Reading


01.15.14

American Corporations are Taking Climate Change Seriously

Mr. President, I am back now for the fifty-fifth time that the Senate has been in session each week, to urge my colleagues to wake up to the toll that carbon pollution is taking on our atmosphere, on our oceans, and on our people. While climate change deniers continue to gin up phony doubt to mislead the public, top American businesses and corporations recognize the risks posed by climate change. They are preparing for the economic fallout. Members of Congress bury their heads in the sand, li… Continue Reading


01.07.14

Climate Change is Harming our Oceans

Madam President, I'm back again today, now for the fifty-fourth time, to urge my colleagues to wake up to what carbon pollution is doing to Earth's climate and oceans. Facts that we see all around us, but can't seem to penetrate the politics of Congress. We in this body are willfully ignoring changes that we've never seen before; changes that threaten our planet and its rich array of plant and animal life; our homes, farms, and factories; and our very health and wellbeing. Carbon-driven clima… Continue Reading


10.29.13

Time to Wake Up: The Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Mr. President, this is my forty-eighth trip to the floor to remind Congress it is time to wake up to the threat of climate change. I'm joined here by Senators Blumenthal and Schumer, because one year ago today, Hurricane Sandy struck our states with frightening force. Now, a year later, communities across the Northeast have dug out and are rebuilding, but Sandy left a permanent mark on our coasts and on our consciousness. To be sure, we cannot say that this devastating storm was specificall… Continue Reading


05.14.13

Blue Vision Summit - Opening Session Remarks

Thank you for inviting me here this morning to speak with all of you. As you all know well, our oceans face an unprecedented set of challenges from climate change, pollution, energy extraction, and more: Far north, Arctic ice is melting. Last summer, sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean hit a record low. To our south, live coral coverage on Caribbean reefs has plummeted from nearly 50 percent in the 1970s to less than 10 percent today. At the top of the food chain, marine mammals are … Continue Reading


02.22.13

William & Mary Law Review Symposium: "The Civil Jury as a Political Institution"

Thank you for that kind introduction and for the chance to be with you today at the nation's oldest law school - dating back to 1780, when Governor Thomas Jefferson prompted the College's Board of Visitors to let his mentor, George Wythe, begin teaching law at the College. Among his first students was the future Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall. To the current students let me just say this: no pressure. This law school, although the nation's oldest, is still young compared to… Continue Reading


12.19.12

Climate Change: Recapping 2012

MADAM PRESIDENT, in every corner of the globe-from pole to pole and from the top of our atmosphere to the depths of our oceans-we see evidence of the fundamental changes that are taking place across our Earth. In 2012, North America experienced a number of unusually severe events and passed several ominous milestones. These episodes have driven a shift in attitude, a realization, really, among Americans. As we head home for the holidays this year, each of us is likely to find back in our home s… Continue Reading


03.01.12

Death of Marie Colvin

Madam President, Marie Colvin died last week, Wednesday, in Syria. As I speak, her body is still in Homs because the Assad regime refuses to honor the centuries-old tradition of human decency that even in war you are allowed to recover your dead. An American official in a position to know about the circumstances of her death has used with me the word "murder," and this is not an official who uses such words loosely. News reports have suggested Marie was targeted using her cell phone signals. Wh… Continue Reading


03.07.11

Whitehouse Highlights the Potential Cost Savings in the Health Care Delivery System Reform

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I am here to speak about a report that was released by the Centers for Disease Control, which I think is instructive for the American health care system. We are currently in a process of change in health care. Changing the way health care is delivered in our country is going to take years of hard work, of experimentation, and of learning. There are stakeholders on both the Federal and State level who are out there right now, working to implement models of care that… Continue Reading


04.28.10

Whitehouse: We Must Elevate the Profile of Cybersecurity to Reduce our Vulnerabilities

Many thanks to Leslie Harris and the Center for Democracy and Technology for inviting me to speak tonight. I'm very, very proud to be with you. It is truly a privilege to join in CDT's anniversary celebration. It is sort of the tech prom, and it is quite a who's who that is here. I will share with you one of the glories and blessings of serving in the United States Senate: you get to spend a lot of time on a lot of different issues surrounded by people who know more, are better informed, and ar… Continue Reading


11.03.09

Whitehouse Speaks at American University Conference on Torture Memos

Thank you very much for that warm introduction, and thank you for inviting me to speak on "The Torture Memos: Lawyers, Ethics, and the Rule of Law." To evaluate the importance of this subject, let me offer two beliefs about America which I hold very firmly, for you to reflect on as we consider this topic: One: Beyond our borders, America is a beacon of light in a shadowed world. Two: Within our borders, America is an ongoing education of a people in democracy and freedom. A beacon of light, … Continue Reading


10.21.09

Whitehouse Supports Measure to Repeal Antitrust Exemption for Health Insurers

Mr. President, I come to the floor to speak in strong support of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, introduced by the senior Senator from Vermont, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy. I believe this bill is an important part of health reform, and I am hopeful that it can be included in the final reform bill as it makes its way through this body. Our antitrust laws embody the proud American idea that democracy shapes capitalism, and not vice-versa; t… Continue Reading


06.18.09

Remarks at the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy National Convention

Thank you very much, Travis [Rodgers], for that warm introduction, and thank you to the American Constitution Society for inviting me to speak here today on a topic that is crucial to our democracy and the rule of law: "Keeping Faith with the Constitution." I applaud your commitment to the spirit of our Constitution and its promises to all Americans: to establish justice, and secure the blessings of liberty. As members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, my colleagues and I have the opportunity… Continue Reading


03.24.09

Sheldon's Opening Statement for Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Credit Cards and Bankruptcy

The hearing will come to order. With the economy deep in recession, unemployment rates climbing, and teaser rates on home mortgages expiring and triggering higher mortgage payments, American consumers are relying more than ever on credit cards to make ends meet each month. At the same time, banks losing money in mortgages and their other areas of business are attempting to squeeze more and more profit out of their credit card customers. The standard credit card agreement gives the lender the … Continue Reading


02.04.09

Whitehouse Urges Investment in Health Information Technology

Mr. WHITEHOUSE: Mr. President, I rise today to discuss a feature of the economic recovery legislation that will both create jobs in the short term and help us confront the long-term economic challenges that are facing us. Clearly, creating jobs is a paramount goal of this legislation. In this time of deepening recession, one in ten Rhode Islanders is looking for a job. At 10%, our unemployment rate is the highest in New England and the second highest across this entire nation. As I've traveled … Continue Reading

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