Brian Schatz

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.

Young Democrats on a Mission to Pop the D.C. Bubble
District Dems launched to be a resource for campaigns around the country

District Dems will create a pool of operatives to knock on doors and canvass for Democratic candidates around the country. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of young Democrats thinks the key to winning back control of government is outside the so-called D.C. bubble.

District Dems, launched last month by people who recently moved to D.C., whether for a job or to find one, wants to mobilize out-of-town Democrats between the ages of 21 and 45 for the campaign season.

With Expectations Low, Select Budget Panel Prepares to Meet
Committee has broad mission, but few hard deadlines

Rep. Steve Womack, the new House Budget Committee chairman, is head of the select budget panel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The select committee tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process is mandated by law to meet for the first time this week. But what they plan to talk about remains a mystery.

The law establishing the committee instructs the 16 members to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process” before Nov. 30, with an initial meeting to be held by March 11.

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.

Rural Areas Feeling Left Behind in Race to Expand Broadband
Lawmakers looking at several options to close digital divide

South Dakota Sen. John Thune talks with reporters Thursday after a news conference at the GOP retreat in West Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Denny Law’s telecommunications company connects phone lines through the plains of western South Dakota and he’s all-in for ending the rural digital divide.

He said President Donald Trump’s promise to level the playing field with a “great, great broadband,” made during a Jan. 8 speech in Nashville, Tennessee, has energized local providers like himself. And, he added, John Thune, the South Dakota Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, had better take note.

How Republicans and Democrats Reacted to Trump-Mueller Report
Democrats cry foul, GOP zips lips over story that president ordered Russia special counsel fired last year

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., both expressed alarm at a New York Times report that President Donald Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans and Democrats took up their usual positions after news broke that President Donald Trump ordered White House counsel Donald McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in June, only to drop the demand when the top White House lawyer threatened to quit.

Democratic lawmakers were predictably outraged.

Hawaii’s False Missile Alarm Raises Question of Federal Control
‘States are the laboratories for democracy. They should not be laboratories for missile alerts’

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, talks with a reporter in the Capitol on Oct. 31, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune voiced support Thursday for draft legislation aimed at preventing erroneous emergency alarms like the one that sent the state of Hawaii into a panic over a nonexistent ballistic missile attack on Jan. 13.

In the first of two hearings on the issue, the committee explored the status of the nation’s wireless emergency alert, or WEA, system established by a 2006 law. The committee will hold a field hearing in Hawaii to examine in detail the false missile attack messages sent out via mobile telephones and television and radio stations after being triggered — and not being corrected for about 40 minutes — by an employee of the state’s emergency management agency.

Opinion: Bipartisanship Still Exists and Financial Reform Is Proof
Senate bill isn’t perfect, but it can have a lasting effect

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will mark up a bipartisan bill this week. From left, Chairman Michael D. Crapo, Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, ranking member Sherrod Brown and Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz prepare for a hearing in July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As U.S. politics descends ever further into partisanship, there are still signs that old-fashioned legislating is not dead. This week, the Senate Banking Committee will mark up one of the first significant pieces of financial regulatory legislation in years with real bipartisan support. That means an opportunity for lasting, incremental progress that we should welcome.

The proposed bill, which has 10 Republican and 10 Democratic co-sponsors, would not revolutionize the U.S. financial regulatory system, and that’s a good thing. The Dodd-Frank Act and other post-financial crisis reforms have made the financial system and Americans safer overall, but like most major reforms, they have also created unintended consequences. The Senate bill would address some of these, while retaining the overall post-crisis framework that is generally working.

Word on the Hill: Newspaperman
Congressional brews, senator gets civics lesson and World Series bet payoffs

Ben Bradlee, former editor of the Washington Post, returns to his seat as then-President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton look on after Bradlee was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

HBO’s new documentary “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” will make its world premiere in D.C. this evening.

The film is about the late legendary Washington Post executive editor who died in Washington in October 2014 at 93. The film debuts on the network Dec. 4.

Sex Trafficking Bill Would Narrow Protections for Internet Companies
Senators say the bill is aimed at, not Facebook or Google

Sen. Rob Portman, shown here in 2015, introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)