Sheldon Whitehouse

Democrats Notching Key Legislative Victories Ahead of Elections
Members hope achievements can drive support among voters in rural states

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, is one of several moderate Democrats in the chamber who have notched key legislative victories under President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018 are racking up a number of key legislative victories in advance of what is expected to be a bitter midterm election cycle.

The successes, on bills ranging from veterans’ issues to bank regulation and tax credits for so-called clean coal technology, are the kind that can drive support among voters in the rural states that many of these members call home.

Photos of the Week: Waiting for Spring in Washington
The week of March 12 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Evelyn Black, two-and-a half, of Capitol Hill, walks through about 7,000 pairs of shoes displayed on the East Lawn of the Capitol on Tuesday to represent the approximately 7,000 children who were killed by guns since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whitehouse Preps 200th Climate Speech, Hoping Senate Will Stir
“It is an indicator of the extent [to] which the fossil fuel industry owns the joint”

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks with Roll Call in his office on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every week of every Senate session for the last six years, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has taken to the floor to urge his colleagues to “wake up” to the dire consequences of their inaction on climate change.

But the slumbering chamber keeps hitting the snooze button.

Senators Target Physicians, Drugmakers in Opioid Bill
Bipartisan group hopes to make headway on drug crisis

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., right, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., were among the senators introducing legislation to address the opioid crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would waive limits on physicians treating addiction patients and place restrictions on how long a provider could initially prescribe opioids to patients.

The bill, known as CARA 2.0, would address the opioid epidemic from several angles, including both health care providers and drugmakers. It aims to build on earlier opioid legislation, which cleared in 2016 as part of a broader health care measure that included mental health changes and aimed to spur new medical treatments.

Senate Democrats Picked for Select Budget, Pension Committees

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer picked his choices for the bipartisan committees looking for solutions to budget and pension issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday named eight senators to the select committees tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process as well as providing recommendations for restoring the solvency of multiemployer pension plans.

The New York Democrat selected Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono, both of Hawaii, for the budget panel.

Senators Warn Union Case Risks Supreme Court’s Reputation
Conservative high court majority appears likely to rule against unions

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer speaks at a rally outside the Supreme Court on Jan. 11, 2015, as the court heard arguments in a case involving 10 California teachers who said they had a First Amendment right not to pay fees to a union. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court appears set to overturn a decades-old precedent and deal a financial blow to Democratic-aligned unions that represent teachers and other public-sector employees in a major case with blatant political overtones.

Ahead of oral arguments Monday, two Democratic senators sent the justices this message: The Supreme Court’s reputation is at stake, and overturning the 1977 ruling will further erode the public’s confidence that the federal courts are neutral and above politics.

Senators Ponder How to Break Criminal Justice Logjam
With Trump not on board with bipartisan bill, “we’re stuck,” Grassley says

Chairman Charles E. Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee will mark up a bipartisan criminal justice bill next week, but the White House supports only one piece of it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Committee members grappled Thursday with the best strategy to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system, since the leading bill has broad bipartisan support but the White House apparently backs only one part of it.

Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa set a markup next week for a bill that represents a hard-negotiated compromise — first struck in 2015 — that backers say would pass the Senate with a bipartisan supermajority if brought to the floor. It is expected to easily advance from the committee and could be a signature legislative accomplishment for the Senate.

Holds on Energy and Environment Nominees Pile Up — Again
Procedural roadblocks reflect concerns about Trump administration policies

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the process for environment-related nominees has become “a little more complicated this year.”

A series of energy- and environment-related nominees are stuck in limbo as procedural roadblocks, or “holds,” pile up over concerns by Republican and Democratic lawmakers about policy implementations by the Trump administration.

The holdups — five announced last week — have almost become a rite of passage for Trump nominees looking to take positions within the Energy Department, Interior Department and the EPA.

EPA Ends Media Research Deal With GOP-Tied Firm Amid Complaints
Whitehouse: ‘Powerful odor’ surrounds contract

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is raising questions about a media services company with ties to political action committee America Rising. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A $120,000 no-bid contract the EPA awarded to a Republican-affiliated group to provide media monitoring services has been terminated after reports it was seeking emails of agency employees.

The group awarded the contract, Definers Public Affairs, has employees previously or currently affiliated with America Rising, a prominent political action committee that performs opposition research for Republican candidates.