Sheldon Whitehouse

President Obama scored a victory for his trade plan today when the U.S. Senate approved a measure that would give the president the authority to negotiate international deals, but he did it without help from Rhode Island two Democratic senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse.

Reed and Whitehouse were on the losing end of a 60 to 37 Senate vote. Both Rhode Islanders cited concerns that trade deals hurt American workers. Thirteen Democrats joined with 47 Republicans to push the trade pact to a final vote, which is likely to occur tomorrow.

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee / Webcast

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) says sharing electronic health records should be easier. But it isn’t. Most systems aren’t linked to one another and they don’t collect the same data. Whitehouse told a Senate committee today that Rhode Island’s system for sharing patient data, CurrentCare, and similar systems in other states, could help overcome some of those obstacles.

If U.S. senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrats both, are searching for a fine candidate for the opening on U.S. District Court in Providence, federal magistrate Patricia Sullivan whould get top consideration.

Sullivan has the legal, academic and community service qualifications necessary for a federal judge. Sources tell Rhode Island Public Radio that she has applied for the post, which is vacant due to the retirement of U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi.

So Lincoln Chafee has become the first Rhode Islander to seek a major party nomination for president. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on why Chafee must step up his game quickly to be a factor in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes.

Love him or hate him, you have to acknowledge that Chafee is a politician of conviction and deeply held views about what’s wrong with the country. Throughout his long career in Rhode Island politics, most honest voters would agree Chafee was on the right side of many issues.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Mea Culpa: Please see Number 1A (below). We're breaking from TGIF's usual format this week to look at key questions facing Rhode Island at the traditional start to summer. While the season of beaches and barbecues is generally a more relaxed time, a lot of significant outcomes hang in the balance. So thanks for stopping by. Feel free to share your thoughts and tips at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

RIPR File Photo

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse delivered his 100th climate address this week on the Senate floor. He’s inviting people to join him in a Google Hangout video conference tomorrow to mark the occasion.

    

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will join the president of the League of Conservation voters to talk about the threats climate change poses to the environment, public health, and economy. They’ll talk about some of the steps the United States is taking—and still needs to take—to combat climate change.

Courtesy of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Later today, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse delivers his 100th address on climate change. In what has become a weekly ritual, the Rhode Island democrat takes to the Senate floor to call for action on climate change. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza caught up with Whitehouse at the Volvo Ocean Race in Newport to talk about what motivates him and what he’s learned since he delivered his first speech three years ago.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s two U.S. Senators, Democrats Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, were both on the winning side as President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats derailed one of the president’s top priorities, voting to hold up so-called fast track trade authority unless other provisions designed to protect American jobs are included in the legislation.

US Senator Jack Reed and Representatives David Cicilline and Jim Langevin are among the Democrats planning to attend a controversial address Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is passing on the address.

“I’m interested in what the prime minister is going to say,” Reed said in a statement released by his office. “I think it’s already been made an unnecessarily complicated political issue, but there is still this need to learn as much as we can about the situation.”

Update: Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Rhode Island’s senior senator, issued this statement via spokesman Chip Unruh on the hiring of Rhode Island union construction workers at the Electric Boat expansion projects at Quonset:

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly read. Lots going on, so we'll get right to it. As always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot org) and to follow me on the twitters.

RIPR FILE

R.I. politicians love to talk about job-development plans. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why they aren’t  doing more to ensure that Rhode Islanders are hired for the Electric Boat expansion in Quonset.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss whether Democrats can be effective in the GOP-controlled Senate; the battle against ISIS; Governor Gina Raimondo's presentation on Rhode Island's economy; and more.

Hear more of our conversation with Senator Whitehouse in Bonus Q & A.

US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse joins Bonus Q+A to discuss partisan politics in Washington; how Rhode Island is being impacted by international trade; the outlook for criminal justice reform; and much more.

Hear more of our conversation with Senator Whitehouse on Political Roundtable.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators are offering lukewarm support of President Barack Obama’s request to use military force against Islamic State militants. The President has asked for military action, unbounded by national borders that could last up to three years.

Senator Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat in the Senate Armed Services Committee said President Obama’s plan for military intervention is overdue.  In a statement he calls the plan, a thoughtful proposal, but said Congress must  “refine” the President’s request. 

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