Sen. Whitehouse Remarks on the For the People Act

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I want to speak briefly this evening about S. 1, the Senate version of H.R. 1, the democracy reform bill that we are going to be considering moving to proceed to this week, and I hope we will be able to show a unified Democratic Caucus moving to proceed. It is often described as the voting rights bill, and it is described that way with good justification because there are some very, very important protections that are built into it to protect the voting rights o… Continue Reading


Gaspee Raid Speech

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I am here for one of my favorite days of the year on the Senate floor because today is the 249th anniversary of the Gaspee raid. I can only imagine what I am going to do next year when it is the 250th anniversary of the Gaspee raid. I may bring pyrotechnics onto the Senate floor, in violation of every rule. The Gaspee raid is what Rhode Island abolitionist and writer Frances Whipple McDougall called the ``first blood'' drawn in America's struggle for independence… Continue Reading


The Scheme 2: Powell on the Court

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, in my opening speech about the rightwing scheme to capture the Court, the Supreme Court, I described the secret strategy memo that Lewis Powell wrote on the eve of his appointment to the Court about how to deploy corporate political power. As a Justice of the Supreme Court, Powell had the chance to prove to the corporate world his secret memo's theory of what could be achieved by ``exploiting judicial action''--his phrase--particularly with, as he called it, ``a… Continue Reading


The Scheme 1: The Powell Memo

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, there is a scheme afoot, a scheme I will be talking about in weeks ahead - a long-running, right-wing scheme to capture the Supreme Court. Special interests are behind the scheme. They control it through dark money - hundreds of millions of dollars in anonymous hidden spending. We will dwell in later speeches on how the scheme operates. This first speech seeks its origins. The scheme is secret, and because of its secrecy, it is hard to know exactly where the sto… Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Remarks on Kristen Clarke and Voting Rights

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, here we go again. Just a few weeks ago, the Senate debated Vanita Gupta's nomination for Associate Attorney General, so let's review the bidding from that. Gupta was eminently qualified for her role. She had support from the foremost law enforcement leaders and groups in the country. She had proven herself handling high-level government responsibilities. But Republicans set their hair on fire trying to take Ms. Gupta down. They grasped for something, anything, to … Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Remarks on Kristen Clarke, Vanita Gupta, and Voting Rights

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I am here to express my support for the nomination of Vanita Gupta to serve as Associate Attorney General. It is a little strange here on the floor today because under normal circumstances I would talk about Ms. Gupta's exemplary record of service and how she will excel as the third in command of the Department of Justice and that she would be a consensus nominee. But the extraordinary effort to scuttle her nomination on a partisan basis in spite of her exemplary r… Continue Reading


Sen. Whitehouse Remarks on Dark Money and the DISCLOSE Act

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I pick up where Senator Van Hollen left off because, when he was fighting for the DISCLOSE Act in the House, I was the manager of that bill on the floor here in the Senate. It would do something very simple. If you are spending more than $10,000 in an election, we ought to know who you are. That is pretty easy. It is not going to rope in lots of small donors. It will get the big interests who are out there trying to control our democracy and hide who they are whil… Continue Reading


Nomination of Debra Anne Haaland

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I am here to say a few words on behalf of Deb Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior. There is something wonderfully beautiful and symmetrical about her appointment to this position because of the Department of the Interior's role supervising America's public lands. Well, of course, before America's public lands were America's public lands, they were Native American lands, and Deb Haaland will be the first Native American to serve in any President's Cabinet and… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up 279: Finale

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I am particularly glad to see the senior Senator from New Mexico presiding on what, for me, is a sentimental moment, because he has been such a terrific friend and colleague and advocate in the battle of climate change. I am here today because, at last, it is time to say farewell to my battered ``Time to Wake Up'' image board here and to a run of more than 275 weekly climate speeches. It has been one of the Senate's longer runs, I believe, but I think it is time t… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up 278: Save Our Seas Act 2.0 Colloquy

Madam President, while Senator Grassley is on the floor, I would thank him for his remarks about the First Step Act and let him know that on the Judiciary Committee, I look forward to working with him to continue to advance that. As the Senate knows, the Grassley-Durbin segment and the Cornyn- Whitehouse segment were the two key pieces of that bill, and it is terrific to hear the Senator and our chairman at the time chose support to continue that work. So I am grateful. What I would like to do… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up 277: Donors Trust

Mr. President, I mentioned recently in one of these speeches that an identity-laundering group called Donors Trust decided to do a letter to the editor of my home State paper asserting that they were just as innocent as newborn lambs. The Center for Media and Democracy has recently obtained the IRS form 990 for calendar 2019 for this little lamb, Donors Trust, and it has some fascinating findings. Donors Trust took in a total of $312 million in donations in 2019-- nearly a third of a billion d… Continue Reading


Time to Wake Up 276: Another Peek Into the Web of Denial

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, today is my 276th climate speech, and my increasingly battered graphic is showing its wear, but for the first time in a really, really long time, there is real hope for climate action in America. The light of science will shine in a Biden administration. Our U.S. Government will heed actual data. Agencies will act on facts. The White House will care about the harm carbon pollution does right now across the country. President Biden will restore the EPA to its role … Continue Reading


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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