Sheldon Whitehouse

Whitehouse Office

The U.S. Senate passed a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline Thursday.  Rhode Island’s junior Senator Sheldon Whitehouse voted against the bill.

A vocal critic from the start, Whitehouse released a sharp statement following the bill’s passage.  He calls the $8 billion dollar project a “disaster” for health and the environment.   The Keystone project would construct a nearly 12-hundred mile pipeline to carry mainly oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Whitehouse says the project would encourage dependence of fossil fuels, which exacerbate climate change.

Whitehouse Office

Climate change is real, not a hoax. That’s according the U.S. Senate, which is now on record about the reality of climate change.  The Senate voted 98 to 1 on an amendment recognizing climate change in the Keystone Pipeline bill.  

U.S. Capitol

President Barack Obama delivered his sixth state of the Union address last night.  His main focus was the middle class, as the nation continues to recover from an economic downturn.  

Happy mid-January, dear readers. Bad news: winter is far from over. Good news: spring training isn't that far, and the political beat remains busy. So thanks for stopping by, freel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse calls a legislative package he unveiled Monday a way to make taxes fairer for middle-class Americans.

Whitehouse says the three bills in his package represent $310 billion dollars over 10 years -- and could help pay for other tax cuts sought by Republicans.

Fox News

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse traded jabs with Republican Strategist Karl Rove this weekend on Fox News.  

They tussled over so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, such as water boarding. Whitehouse says that constitutes as torture and did not aid in the capture of Osama Bin Laden. 

“If you look at the information we had on the courier that took us to Osama Bin Laden, we had four sources on that, and those four sources all provided all the information that the CIA needed to know to track this guy before they were exposed to enhanced information techniques.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says he hopes legislation to boost funding to treat addiction will move forward this week. Whitehouse and colleagues from both sides of the aisle hosted addiction experts on Capitol Hill this morning to learn more about the challenges that remain for addicts even in recovery.

U.S. Capitol

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is reacting to President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.  In a speech Thursday, the President outlined a plan that could protect some 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the new climate change deal between the U.S. and China is good news for Rhode Island.  

The U.S. is committing to reducing carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025.

Whitehouse sais though Rhode Island is not a major carbon polluting state, it’s already feeling the effects of climate change. “Particularly with rising sea levels, Narragansett Bay is 3 to 4 degrees warmer, the winter flounder catch has virtually collapsed,” said Whitehouse.

Tony Simon, deputy district director for US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, has signed on to serve as chief of staff for Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza, RIPR has learned.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), has introduced legislation that's designed to provide some incentives and resources for states to develop more addiction treatment and prevention programs. It's called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014, and here are a few of its provisions, according to a news release from the Senator's office:

RIPR FILE / Courtesy Whitehouse

Rhode Island senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse listened to stories from Rhode Islanders about struggling to pay off student loan debt.

A bill that will start moving in the Senate next week lowers the rate for many borrowers to 3.86 percent. Whitehouse said it faces strong resistance from Republicans in the Senate, but he believes that if any bill can gain traction it’s this one.

The website Politico reports President Barack Obama is scheduled to be in the resort town on August 29th. 

He's expected to be at a fundraising event in Newport for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

The site reports that though the president's approval rating remains rather low, he's still a big draw on the fundraising circuit.  As mid-term elections approach, Obama has attended 16 fundraisers this cycle.

RIPR FILE

Lawmakers are running out of time to shore up money for the Federal Highway Trust Fund. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is helping spearhead efforts.

Reactions are still coming in to today's U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby (that decision, that the company is not required to cover contraceptives as part of employees' health insurance, can be read here.). Here are a few so far. Keep in mind, more decisions related to this one are expected.

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