- 1 Background
- 2 Senate committees
- 3 "Caring Across Generations"
- 4 Hi IPS rating
- 5 Corporate Accountability
- 6 Planned Parenthood
- 7 Cuba trip
- 8 CDA connection
- 9 2012 CLW Senate victories
- 10 "Forward on Climate" rally
- 11 PDA contact
- 12 RIARA connections
- 13 ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
- 14 Capitol Hill Climate Action Rally
- 15 JStreet endorsement, 2012
- 16 Honduras letter
- 17 2014 Vietnam trip
- 18 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015
- 19 The "Jihad" Caucus
- 20 2016 Cuba trip
- 21 Single Payer Bill
- 22 External links
- 23 References
A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Sen. Whitehouse served as a policy advisor and counsel to the Governor of Rhode Island and as the state’s Director of Business Regulation before being nominated by President Bill Clinton to be Rhode Island's United States Attorney in 1994. He was elected State Attorney General in 1998, a position in which he served from 1999-2003.
Whitehouse serves on the Budget Committee, the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Special Committee on Aging. He chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
"Caring Across Generations"
In July 2011, Jessica Cutcliffe, of Break The Chain Campaign, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, was involved in a conference of the Caring Across Generations campaign, in the ballroom of the Washington Hilton. According to Cutliffe "we shouted our words and stood with our hands entwined, linked together by our common vision for transforming the culture of care. The circle marked the end of the Care Congress and the beginning of a movement".
As the more than 700 person crowd divided into “tracks,” for the afternoon, the erupting fervor did not dissipate. A highly energized ACTION group proceeded to Capitol Hill to testify on the importance of protecting Medicare and Medicaid and to hear from Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on these issues.
Hi IPS rating
In 2012 “Congressional Report Card for the 99 Percent" , the Institute for Policy Studies examined 40 different legislation actions in the House and Senate—votes and legislation introduced—to ascertain the real allegiances of sitting members of Congress. These include votes to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, levy a Wall Street speculation tax, invest in infrastructure, and protect workers and student financial aid.
The Report Card also graded politicians for their commitment to reducing inequality and boosting the 99 percent. The report’s “Honor Roll” gave an A-plus grade to 5 members of the U.S. Senate, including Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (VT-I), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
The Corporate Accountability Coalition is an alliance of organizations whose work includes a focus on issues of corporate accountability and transparency, abuse of power by corporations, responsible business practices, and the rights of people.
Organizations include leftist groups the Center for Corporate Policy , the Institute for Policy Studies , CorpWatch, Corporate Accountability International , the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, and EarthRights International
- The report card is based on 17 actions (9 in the House and 8 in the Senate) that form a good litmus test of whether lawmakers are working for the narrow interests of large corporations or for all of us.
According to the Coalitions first-ever Congressional Report Card on Corporate Accountability issued in 2013, only two Representatives and four Senators scored higher than 87 percent. The top scores went to former Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) in the House and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Whitehouse received $1,000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.
A delegation of American lawmakers led by Senator Patrick Leahy arrived in Cuba on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, in order to gauge the island's economic changes and to lobby on behalf of Alan Gross, an American whose detention has chilled relations between the two countries. The trip was the first to the Communist-run island by high-level US politicians since President Barack Obama's re-election in November.
The delegation also included, Republican senator Jeff Flake, the Democrat senators Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow and Sheldon Whitehouse and the Democratic congressmen James McGovern (Massachusetts) and Chris Van Hollen from Maryland, Gross's home state.
2012 CLW Senate victories
2012 CLW Senate Victories were;Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chris Murphy (D-CT) Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
The CLW wrote of Whitehouse when endorsing him in 2012;
- One of the brighter lights elected to the Senate five years ago is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island.
- During his first term as Senator, Whitehouse hasn’t shied away from promoting progressive issues and has scored a perfect 100% on Council for a Livable World’s voting scorecard. Now Senator Whitehouse is facing his first re-election challenge, and his leadership, intelligence and votes deserve your support.
- Armed with his legal expertise he has been a leader in the fight in Congress to ban torture interrogations. He has also strongly criticized the Supreme Court’s evisceration of campaign finance limits with the decision in the Citizens United case.
- Whitehouse was an active supporter of the New START nuclear reductions treaty and advocates an increase in U.S.-Russian cooperation.
- He signed a letter circulated by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) urging President Obama “to begin a sizable and sustained drawdown of troops in Afghanistan” and supports the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of this year.
- On the Council for a Livable World scorecard, he has scored 95% over his first four years in office.
"Forward on Climate" rally
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 the nation's capital hosted what was billed as the largest climate rally in U.S. history.
Thousands of environmentalists, farmers and workers of all kinds gathered in the shadow of the Washington Monument for a "Forward on Climate" demonstration to shout their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking, Big Oil, and nuclear power.
The Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, who emceed the event, introduced a list of speakers which included: Bill McKibben, president of 350.org; Van Jones, president of Rebuild the Dream; Maria Cordones, founder of Latinovations; Indigenous Peoples representatives including Chief Jacqueline Thomas from the Saik'uz First Nation and Crystal Lameman from the Beaver Lake Cree First Nations; Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director and Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island. Present, too, were celebrities like Evangeline Lilly and Rosario Dawson.
Bold.org, one of the event organizers, predicted that 20,000 people would participate, but Rev. Yearwood announced that the actual number there, 40,000, doubled expectations. Supplementing the massive action in D.C. were some 20 solidarity rallies in 16 states, from the four corners of the country-- Los Angeles, Palm City, Seattle, Portland, Maine-- and points in between. They included rallies in Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and five in Montana alone.
Social Security & Medicare Hero
Senator Whitehouse was thanked, acknowledged and awarded a 'Social Security & Medicare Hero.' by Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, June 3, 2011.
ARA endorsement, 2012
ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
Capitol Hill Climate Action Rally
JStreet endorsement, 2012
In 2012, the the JStreet PAC endorsed seven Senatorial candidates, all of whom emerged victorious. The Senate slate, which has more than doubled in size since 2010, included pro-Israel leaders Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI). The PAC also backed winning candidates in some of the most competitive Senate races in the country, raising more than $100,000 each for Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI), Governor Tim Kaine (VA) and Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM).
JStreet endorsed Whitehouse in 2016.
- Whitehouse's father and grandfather were senior officials in the State Department and CIA, lending him a unique perspective on Middle East affairs. Whitehouse strongly supports the US-Israel relationship and efforts to achieve a two-state solution.
On Thursday, May 23, 2013, U.S. Senator Cardin (D-MD) circulated a Senate sign-on "Dear Colleague" letter to Secretary of State John Kerry addressing deepening concerns about Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras.
The letter states that violence and impunity for state security forces in Honduras has reached intolerable levels and cites concerns related to extrajudicial killings, linkages to death squads, and increasing militarization of civilian law enforcement. The letter also raises the concern that State Department certifications intended to ensure that U.S. foreign aid supports the rule of law in Honduras may contradict the reality on the ground.
The letter asks State Department to:
- provide Congress with a detailed assessment of the efficacy of current Honduran government efforts to address this issue as mandated by FY12 Appropriations language;
- conduct a detailed review of specific State Department actions to help ensure that no U.S. funds are being used to support police implicated in human rights violations; and
- make every reasonable effort to help ensure that Honduras' upcoming November 2013 elections are free, fair and peaceful.
In addition to Cardin, the letter was cosigned by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
2014 Vietnam trip
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made the statement while receiving Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse in Hanoi on August 9, 2014.
He spoke highly of effective cooperation in the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership as well as both sides’ effort in boosting bilateral relations in recent times. He proposed that the US support Vietnam in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations, taking into account the country’s development levels. He said successful negotiations and the signing of the trade pact will significantly benefit the two countries.
The PM expressed Vietnam’s desire to increase cooperation with the US in national defence and security, and therefore, he proposed the US support Vietnam in improving its capacity to defend national sovereignty.
He also asked for US assistance in overcoming the consequences of the past war, especially addressing unexploded ordnance and dioxin issues.
Stressing the importance of internet security, the PM said Vietnam is ready to cooperate with the US in this field.
Regarding human rights issues, Dung said Vietnam is making every effort to better guarantee fundamental human rights, as human rights are the legitimate goal and requirement of Vietnamese people. He told his guests that the human rights situation in Vietnam has improved significantly in recent years and Vietnam is willing to conduct frank dialogue on human rights with the US.
Senators McCain and Whitehouse said their visit aimed to strengthen US-Vietnam cooperation in various areas.
They said that peace, stability and security in Asia, and South East Asia in particular, are being threatened by unjustifiable territorial claims, including China’s nine-dotted line claim, which are the root cause of instability in the region.
General Phung Quang Thanh received Senator John McCain, who said after the visit he would ask the US Congress to soon lift the ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam.
General Thanh, in turn, acknowledged the US’s effective cooperation with Vietnam, including in search and rescue work at sea, emergency relief, bomb and mine clearance, and dioxin remediation, while sharing its experience in joining the UN peacekeeping operations.
At the meeting, Thanh and McCain said the two countries should promote cooperation in maritime security and safety, staff training, and exchange of delegations.
In the face of global complications and security threats, Vietnam and the US should increase bilateral cooperation, especially in economics, trade, national defence and security, said US Senator John McCain.
McCain, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was speaking at a reception in Hanoi on August 8 given by NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Committees on the Budget, the Judiciary, Environment and Public Works, Health, Education, Labour, and Pensions,
also attended the meeting. McCain voiced his support for the lifting of a US ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam and said after the visit he and Senator Whitehouse would ask the US Congress to remove the ban as soon as possible.
Both Senators agreed that the two countries need to tighten cooperation, especially in security and national defence, internet security and construction of hydro power projects.
McCain noted the upcoming signing of free trade agreements, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), will create plenty of opportunity for each country and the whole region to increase trade.
Southeast Asian nations that were once sworn enemies of the U.S. can play a key role in the Obama administration's new strategic focus on the Western Pacific, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said after a visit to a region where he traces his personal ties to his father s service during the Vietnam War.
- Traveling this month to Vietnam, Burma, Thailand and the Philippines as the U.S. focuses more on naval power in the Asian Pacific, the Rhode Island Democrat said the leaders he met showed a very strong desire to improve their relationship with the United States as a counterbalance to very aggressive Chinese behavior.
- Whitehouse said upon his return last week that he was particularly struck by the historical ironies of this turnabout because of his close-hand experience of the Vietnam War, having lived in Saigon with his father for several months in 1972 and 1973.
- Whitehouse traveled with Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who was a young naval aviator imprisoned in Hanoi at the same time that Whitehouse, then a high school senior, was setting off from the American Embassy roof in Saigon on aerial tours of the countryside with his father, Charles Whitehouse, then a deputy to U.S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker.
- I was there for the prisoner release, in March 1973, Whitehouse said. One group of prisoners was released to Tan Son Nhut airfield in Saigon, and I was there. Other prisoners, including McCain, were released at the Hanoi airport and flown straight to the Philippines. It was unforgettable.
- Whitehouse recalled that the sensations of life in a country at war four decades ago were pretty immediate. Every night you could hear what they called the Arc Lights -- which was the name for the B-52 strikes. And then there was both incoming and outgoing rocketry that you heard pretty regularly.
- Sometimes when his father was about to fly off on official business, I d just tag along in the helicopter and see what I could see, Whitehouse recalled. On one such occasion, young Whitehouse was close enough to watch distant tactical air strikes in battle-torn An Loc -- scene of a victory for U.S. and South Vietnamese forces.
- The setback for North Vietnam was temporary. After the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Saigon fell in 1975 and the divided nation was unified under the Communist North's red flag with a yellow star. Whitehouse subscribes to his father s belief that there might have been a better outcome to the war, with earlier coordination of military action with efforts to win popular support by building public works and grass-roots political institutions.
- The use of a similar strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that a new generation thinks that that model is a good one for addressing an insurgency, Whitehouse said.
- McCain, Whitehouse and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, traveled in an effort to support the new strategic emphasis on the region. They met leaders who are actually kind of frightened of the Chinese and a bit angry with the way the Chinese have been behaving, Whitehouse said. They see the United States as a kind of counterbalance. He said the desire of leaders in Vietnam and Burma for stronger ties with the U.S. could help to advance democratic reforms in such nations.
- It is meaningful to travel to Hanoi with John McCain and to visit the so-called Hanoi Hilton where he was held, Whitehouse said. McCain lives with the effects of the beatings and punishment inflicted on him there, Whitehouse noted. He needed help brushing his hair before entering the prison because he cannot raise his own arms high enough.
- The senators visited cells just like the one where he was held and saw old pictures of McCain on the walls, Whitehouse said. That was kind of a remarkable, just human experience to share with him.
- He said the delegation drew optimism from seeing how nations such as Vietnam are now emerging into the light of democracy.
- He said a highlight of the Hanoi visit was a formal luncheon with members of the Vietnamese national assembly -- some of whom asked their American counterparts, in effect, What do we do now that we are legislators?
- Whitehouse was struck at one point by the heraldry of the official place card bearing his name -- along with the red flag and the yellow star. He thought of how his hosts were countrymen of these people that were shooting at my father during the 1970s. And here I am many years later sitting down with them at lunch to discuss how better to install American-style democracy, Whitehouse said.
Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015
By May 20, it had accumulated 33 co-sponsors, including 26 Democrats - Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Dick Durbin, Thomas Carper, Amy Klobuchar, Barbara Boxer, Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Benjamin Cardin, Chris Coons, Dianne Feinstein, Jeanne Shaheen, Sherrod Brown, Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz, Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill, Ron Wyden, Tim Kaine, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Martin Heinrich . 
The "Jihad" Caucus
In May 2015, a group of 14 U.S. senators, led by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to allow 65,000 Syrians into the United States as refugees. This would require a dramatic expansion of the refugee program, and virtually guarantee that a sizable number of ISIS fighters would slip in among them. Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy called these Senators the "Jihad Caucus" because practically speaking, Jihad is what this request will bring.
The 14 senators demanding this massive influx of Syrians were: Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Robert Menendez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Coons, Tim Kaine, Ed Markey, Sherrod Brown, and Mazie Hirono.
These same 14 had sent another letter in April Demanding action on the Syrians.
2016 Cuba trip
Single Payer Bill
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled Wednesday September 13, 2017 a new version of his plan to give everybody government-run health insurance, potentially opening a new chapter in the ongoing debate over how to make health care in the U.S. more affordable and available.
The plan calls for an overhaul of American health insurance with a souped-up, more generous version of Medicare replacing nearly all private health insurance ― and government exerting far more control over the cost of medical care. It would arguably be the most ambitious social welfare initiative in U.S. history, but Sanders told HuffPost in an interview Tuesday that he believes America is ready for it.
“The American people are catching on to where the Republicans are coming from, they see the limitations of the Affordable Care Act and they’re looking at the alternatives,” Sanders said. “And this is a rational alternative.”
That roster of co-sponsors includes a who’s-who list of potential Democratic presidential candidates for 2020, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Also backing the bill are Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Al Franken of Minnesota, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
- CLW Elections » 2012 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
- CLW Elections » 2012 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
- IPS blog, All Those Who Care: Campaign Launch Shows Depth of Interdependence, July 19, 2011 Senator Al Franken speaks about Medicaid to Caring Across Generations, By Jessica Cutcliffe for the IPS Blog
- [http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/a-voting-guide-for-the-99, Yes!blog, Lawmakers Get Graded on Equality Record, by Chuck Collins posted Oct 09, 2012]
- HuffPo, Sarah Anderson IPS Global Economy Project Director Failing Grades for Congress on Corporate Accountability Posted: 12/20/2013
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/18/patrick-leahy-cuba-alan-gross[TheGuardian,[Senator Patrick Leahy leads US group to Cuba to seek release of Alan Gross]
- Sheldon Whitehouse introducing Carol Browner
- Meet the Candidates, accessed April 10, 2013
- CLW Elections » 2012 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
- PW, Climate rally last weekend the biggest ever, by: James Baldridge February 21 2013
- PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
- https://www.facebook.com/barbaraboxer BB FB page, May 20, 2014]
- Street Blog, JStreetPAC Scores Big in 2012 Election NOVEMBER 7TH, 2012
- J Street The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans
- JStreetPAC 2016 Endorsees
- SOAWatch, Ask your Senator to sign onto the Cardin Letter about Honduras
- Cardin Press release, Cardin Leads Senate Call For Accountability In Honduras For Human Rights Violations Tuesday, June 18, 2013
- [VNA news agency website, Hanoi, in English 16 Jul 10 Legal Monitor Worldwide, August 11, 2014 Monday, PM pushes for stronger Vietnam-US relations]
- [Providence Journal January 30, 2012 Monday Senators Asia tour part of goal to improve ties; government BYLINE: john e. mulligan, journal washington bureau]
- [ http://peoplesworld.org/cuba-travel-bill-advances-in-the-senate/PW, Cuba travel bill advances in the Senate by: Emile Schepers May 20 2015]
- [%22S+299%22}, Congress.Gov. S.299 - Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015114th Congress (2015-2016) | G]
- Jihad Caucus, Exminer.com, Jim Simpson, The Jihad Caucus, May 26, 2015
- Voice of America, Who's Aboard Air Force One to Cuba? March 20, 2016
- [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-single-payer-bill-major-support-senate_us_59b87dc1e4b02da0e13d465f HuffPo09/13/2017 08:00 am ET Updated 2 days ago Bernie Sanders Announces Single-Payer Bill With Major Support In Senate By Daniel Marans , Jonathan Cohn]