Speeches

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


01.30.09

Whitehouse Slams Lavish Executive Compensation

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Thank you, Mr. President. I have a different topic today. This speech is about a stove, a jet, and $40 billion. The stove belonged to Margarita Fuentes, and a local deputy sheriff in Florida repossessed it for the finance company. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and became the famous case of Fuentes v. Shevin, which every first year law student has to read. The Court held that you couldn't take away Ms. Fuentes' stove, not without giving her a hearing; that s… Continue Reading


01.21.09

Whitehouse: As We Look Forward We Must Also Look Back

I rise as we celebrate a new President, a new administration, a new mode of governing, and a new future for America. Even in the gloom of our present predicaments, Americans' hearts are strong and confident because we see a brighter future ahead. President Obama looks to that future. Given the depth and severity of those predicaments, we need all his energy to look forward to lead us to that brighter day; forward to what Winston Churchill in Britain's dark days called those "broad and sunlit … Continue Reading


01.12.09

Whitehouse Supports Holder Nomination on Senate Floor

MR. WHITEHOUSE: Thank you, Mr. President. I rise to speak on President-elect Obama's nomination of Eric Holder to be the attorney general of the United States. It is nothing new in Washington for it to be said of a nominee that he or she is the best person for a job. That happens all the time. We've all heard it. And it will surprise no one in this room or elsewhere in Washington to know that it isn't always the case. But in this case, for this appointment at this time, I believe that it is true… Continue Reading


01.08.09

Whitehouse Shares Stories of Rhode Islanders Affected by Our Broken Health Care System

MR. WHITEHOUSE: Today Senator Daschle has come before the as come before the HELP Committee for his confirmation hearing as our Secretary-designate of Health and Human services. I know that all of our colleagues and friends in the Senate found it moving and wonderful to see the distinguished chairman of that committee, Senator Kennedy, back in his chair, leading that hearing. We are all delighted to see him back at work here in the Senate and we are delighted to see Senator Daschle back with us … Continue Reading


11.13.08

Remarks of Sheldon Whitehouse to the Providence Business News 2008 Business Excellence Awards Program

Thank you, Frank, and congratulations to this year's award recipients: President Machtley; Cox Communications; Gates, Leighton & Associates; South County Hospital Healthcare System; International Institute of Rhode Island; and Saint John Stone. I am so pleased to be here today to celebrate your achievements. We are coming together at a time of deepening recession that has left millions of Americans struggling to hold onto their retirement savings, their homes, and their livelihoods. Nearl… Continue Reading


11.06.08

Remarks of Sheldon Whitehouse to the American Bar Association's 18th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been lots of different kinds of lawyer in my life, but nothing quite matches standing up in court to say: "Your Honor, I represent the United States of America." As a United States Attorney, I saw first-hand the devotion of the men and women of the Department to their mission, and how deeply ingrained are Justice Sutherland's words: that while a prosecutor "may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones." I experienced the esprit de corps that came… Continue Reading


10.04.08

Remarks at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been lots of different kinds of lawyer in my life, but nothing quite matches standing up in court to say: "Your Honor, I represent the United States of America." As United States Attorneys, we all saw first-hand the devotion of the men and women of the Department to their mission, and how deeply ingrained are Justice Sutherland's words: that while a prosecutor "may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones." We each experienced the esprit de corps… Continue Reading


09.30.08

Whitehouse Criticizes Attorney General Over Unanswered Questions in DOJ Report

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I'm particularly gratified to be speaking about this now because you, the distinguished Senator from Colorado, were formerly the Attorney General of Colorado, at a time when I was the former Attorney General of Rhode Island. And I just want to make one quick point. We all recall the very unfortunate tragedy, really, that befell the Department of Justice as a result of extremely unfortunate decisions made at the management level that culminated in the forced retir… Continue Reading

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