Sheldon Whitehouse

Welcome back to my weekly column. As always, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's get to the list.

US Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island
courtesy of Jack Reed

Senator Jack Reed says Chuck Hagel  will provide outstanding leadership heading up the Pentagon. Reed says this is a critical moment for the US with national security threats and a continuing presence in Afghanistan.

National Program of Cancer Registries / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has helped pass a new cancer research law that targets pancreatic and other hard-to-treat cancers. Whitehouse lost his own mother to pancreatic cancer several years ago. The legislation aims to boost early detection and treatment.

Conservation Group Ranks RI Delegation "Green"

Feb 21, 2013

Rhode Island’s entire congressional delegation gets top scores in the League of Conservation Voters’ 2012 National Environmental Scorecard. The ranking is based on 35 votes taken by the House and 14 by the Senate.
Both Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse scored 100 percent.  Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin scored 94 percent.   The average Senate score is 56 percent. The average House score is 42 percent.
    

With a wave of departures in the US Senate, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are positioned to expand their seniority -- a potent coin of the realm in Congress.

Aaron Blake reports at The Fix on the turnover:

Currently, 24 senators have called it quits between 2010 and today — just three less than the previous high of 27 retirements between 1992 and 1996.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse got a crowd of thousands chanting and cheering Sunday at a rally on the National Mall in Washington focused on climate change.

Whitehouse says there are only two ways to move climate change legislation: show Congress how out of step it is with the American public, and encourage the president to get serious on the issue.

When Whitehouse told the crowd that special interest owned Washington and it was up to the people to take it back, the crowd went wild. That’s something Whitehouse says is easier done than revving up his fellow members of Congress.

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Jim Langevin are asking the Federal Labor Department to reverse an enrollment freeze at Job Corps, a technical training and GED program with sites around the country, including Exeter, Rhode Island.

In a letter, a group of 17 senators say the freeze will have an adverse effect on thousands of young people.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

(Providence, RI) All four members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation gathered today to announce their commitment to pushing for stronger gun control laws.

Rhode Island senator Sheldon Whitehouse was sworn in Thursday by Vice President Joe Biden, marking the start of the 113th Congress.

Congress is greeting the holidays with visions of the fiscal cliff dancing in its collective psyche. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some Cliff Notes as we kick off our week-long series on how spending cuts and tax hikes would affect the Ocean State should Congress fail to reach an agreement.

Americans love to lampoon our lawmakers. From Mark Twain to Jon Stewart, senators and representatives have been juicy targets for pundits and satirists. What student of history can forget Twain’s famous dictum that Congress is the nation’s only native criminal class.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
RIPR File

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) published an op-ed on Politico Tuesday urging President Obama not to agree to any Medicare cuts in the fiscal cliff negotiations. The reason: reforming the health care system, including the way we deliver and pay for health care, will add up to all the savings we need.

Whitehouse writes:

Mindy Myers, chief of staff to RI Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, is leaving the Whitehouse office to become chief of staff in Washington for Massachusetts Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren.

Myers, 36, has proven in the last several election cycles that she is one of the Democratic Party’s top young political operatives. (The next Mary Beth Cahill?) Myers was campaign manager for Whitehouse in his 2006 upset of then-Republican incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee. In 2008, she was head of President Obama’s New Hampshire campaign.

Q: What does James Diossa, a rising political star from hardscrabble Central Falls, have in common with one of Rhode Island’s members in Washington, DC’s “Millionaires Club“?

A. They both act like incumbents when it suits their political interests.

Politico assesses the emerging peer group of Rhode Island’s junior senator:

The Senate is about to become a liberal lion’s den.

After a long, strange trip, Election 2012 is in the books. It’s been a long week, so sit back and relax with my latest edition of TGIF. Your comments are welcome, as always, at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.

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