u.s. senate

Sen. Max Baucus’s touching tribute to the late John Chafee

March 11th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

CHAFEE BAUCUS ROBB LIEBERMAN BAY

Max Baucus, the longtime U.S. senator from Montana, resigned last month to become President Obama’s new ambassador to China. But before he said his last goodbye to the chamber, Baucus delivered a farewell address that lavished praise on, among others, Rhode Island’s own John Chafee:

It was my honor to have friendships that formed the basis for solving some of the nation’s most difficult problems.

I’ll never forget working together with the late-Senator John Chafee on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

I worked with him for years before finding out he was an amazing war hero, decorated for his service in the Korean War.

Few people knew this about his war record because he didn’t brag about it or use it for political points.

He served because he believed in it, not because he thought he’d get credit for it.

Without a doubt, we need more John Chafees in the world.

Between 1989 and 1990, we sat together in a small room just off the Senate floor, facing wave after wave of unhappy senators – sometimes until one or two in the morning.

He was the ranking Republican member of the EPW committee, and I had become the chairman of the Environmental Protection subcommittee.

Together, we met with our colleagues, ironing out compromises on acid rain, ozone depletion, air quality permits, and scores of other issues.

Senator Chafee later became Chairman of the EPW Committee.

We had our disagreements, but by and large, under Senator Chafee’s chairmanship I recall an oasis of civility.

That friendship helped us pass the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

It’s a small point – but I always respected that he never raised his voice.

John never lost his temper. He listened carefully to the other person’s point of view. He was the paragon of a senator. •

(1999 file photo: Khue Bui/AP)


Whitehouse: GOP may bend on sequester, taxes in budget talks

October 29th, 2013 at 5:03 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Monday he’s cautiously optimistic that Senate Democrats and House Republicans can reach an agreement during high-stakes budget talks aimed at keeping the government open and reducing the impact of mandatory across-the-board spending cuts.

A conference committee was created in the bipartisan deal that ended this month’s government shutdown, and ordered to craft a federal spending blueprint by Dec. 13. Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, is the panel’s only member from Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Watch U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on Newsmakers (Sept. 29)


Watch: Sheldon Whitehouse debates Ted Cruz on ‘Crossfire’

October 10th, 2013 at 11:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Here’s the video in two parts, via YouTube:

What do you think? Who won?

• Related: Whitehouse will debate Ted Cruz on CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Thursday (Oct. 9)


Whitehouse will debate Ted Cruz on CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Thursday

October 9th, 2013 at 8:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Whitehouse_Cruz_CNN_Crossfire_10-2013Well, this should be interesting.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will debate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – who has become one of the most prominent Republicans in the country for leading the GOP’s shutdown fight – on Thursday’s evening edition of “Crossfire,” the venerable political program CNN recently revived. The program airs at 6:30 p.m.

“The senators and the hosts will debate the latest developments in the partial government shutdown and the looming congressional battle over raising the federal debt ceiling,” a CNN spokeswoman said in an email. Newt Gingrich and Van Jones will also be on the show.

It should be quite a clash of views.

Cruz is a rising Republican star in Congress already being discussed as a possible 2016 presidential candidate, and he thinks the Affordable Care Act is a grave threat to the future of the United States. Whitehouse is, of course, Rhode Island’s second-term junior senator and a vocal liberal Democrat who feels more free than ever to speak his mind after his landslide re-election victory last November.

(more…)


RI delegation will give up pay if federal workers lose wages

October 2nd, 2013 at 5:52 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – All four lawmakers in Rhode Island’s congressional delegation will forgo their pay if federal workers lose their wages as a result of the government shutdown, WPRI.com has confirmed.

Read the rest of this story »


Watch: Here’s how the shutdown could impact Rhode Island

September 30th, 2013 at 6:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes


Watch: Jack Reed discusses the looming federal shutdown

September 30th, 2013 at 4:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes


Watch Newsmakers: US Sen. Whitehouse; political analysis

September 29th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Reed: ‘Extreme’ Republicans may force government shutdown

September 27th, 2013 at 5:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Friday he’s concerned that “extreme elements” of the Republican Party in the U.S. House of Representatives may be pushing the country toward a government shutdown next Tuesday.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Whitehouse: Prepare for possible government shutdown (Sept. 23)


Whitehouse: Prepare for possible government shutdown

September 23rd, 2013 at 5:12 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Tim White

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Monday people should be prepared for the federal government to shut down on Oct. 1, saying there is “sufficient enough chance” it could happen.

Read the rest of this story »

• Video: Watch today’s full interview with U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Sept. 23)


Q&A: Sen. Whitehouse on a government shutdown, debt limit

September 23rd, 2013 at 3:37 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Jack Reed, other RI Democrats still undecided on Syria vote

September 9th, 2013 at 4:54 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Monday he still hasn’t decided whether to support a request for authorization to attack Syria, a sign President Obama has yet to win over one of his own party’s most senior military experts. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has stayed silent about Syria since Aug. 31.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Sen. Whitehouse: US must help Syria as France helped US in 1700s (Jan. 22)


How LBJ eased out Rhode Island’s US Senator T.F. Green

September 3rd, 2013 at 1:25 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Richard Baker, the U.S. Senate’s historian emeritus, relates a classic story about a local legend:

When Senator Theodore Green of Rhode Island became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1957, he was 90 years old. Intelligent, hard-working and well-liked, Green was no longer up to piloting this important cold war-era committee. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson lacked the authority to remove committee chairs, but he found his opening when a Providence newspaper in 1959 demanded that Green retire. Johnson told the beleaguered senator that he shouldn’t put up with such abuse. Green agreed and decided to step down. But then the leader overplayed his hand and the elderly senator decided he should stay. L.B.J. finally engineered a face-saving way for Green to yield with dignity intact.

For a longer version of Baker’s story, check out this terrific little bio of Green (via Ian Donnis).

• Related: New Year’s Day marks 78 years since RI ‘Bloodless Revolution’ (Jan. 1)


Watch Newsmakers: U.S. Sen. Jack Reed

August 18th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


RI gaining clout in Congress while Massachusetts loses it

July 29th, 2013 at 12:17 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Michael Mullen, Jack Reed, Edward KennedySurveying the diminished clout of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation, Stonehill College’s Peter Ubertaccio writes for The Boston Globe:

The Bay State now ranks last in Senate seniority, and no member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation holds a committee chair or leadership position in either the Senate or the House. For the first time since early 1919, no member of our House delegation has served with a speaker from Massachusetts. …

Senator Edward Kennedy’s death in 2009 ruptured an important historical axis upon which the Commonwealth so depended for its influence. …

Why does this matter? Seniority, leadership, and clout bring two key benefits: prioritizing federal dollars and articulating political values. …

There is no easy solution to our dilemma. It requires the continued cultivation of political leaders who see their futures within the institutions they now call home.

This is a real challenge for Massachusetts. When I asked U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in January what makes an effective senator, his first response was: “Seniority, which you can’t do much about – it is what it is – but as time goes by you need to be ramping it up the match your seniority.”

(more…)


Whitehouse, Warren back up Reed in bid to cap student rates

July 23rd, 2013 at 1:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed is getting some backup from two of his fellow Southern New England Democrats as he battles to change a bipartisan compromise on student-loan rates.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse on Tuesday sent email blasts to their campaign supporters in a bid to rally support for Reed, who is seeking to amend the loan legislation to cap students’ interest rates at 6.8%, lower than the 8.25% currently envisioned. The bill could be voted on as soon as today.

“Senator Jack Reed’s amendment is the only plan on the table right now that guarantees student loan interest rates won’t skyrocket above their current levels,” Warren wrote in an email pushing subscribers to sign up on Reed’s website in support. “We need to pass this amendment for our kids and grandkids.” The subject line of Warren’s email said: “The whole system stinks.”

“Unfortunately, our opponents would rather profit off our students than invest in them – so Jack is going to need all of us to stand with him to win this fight,” Whitehouse wrote in his email. “I’ve joined a group of Senators to work to pass Senator Reed’s amendment. But we need your help before this week’s vote.”

The emails are another sign of the increasing closeness of the Rhode Island and Massachusetts U.S. Senate delegations now that Warren and the newly elected Ed Markey have joined Reed and Whitehouse in Washington. All four are down-the-line liberals, and they share many of the same policy passions, notably financial regulation for Reed and Warren and climate change for Whitehouse and Markey.

• Related: Jack Reed pushing to overhaul interest rates on student loans (May 9)


Reed, Whitehouse embrace transparency on campaign finance

July 17th, 2013 at 5:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

whitehouse_reed_campaign_2012Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators are giving advocates of open government in Washington a reason to cheer.

U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse will both start filing their campaign-finance reports electronically, beginning with the latest one for the quarter that ended June 30, their spokesmen told WPRI.com this week.

The addition of Reed and Whitehouse means 17 senators are now filing their reports online – 13 Democrats, two independents who caucus with the Democrats, and two Republicans. Rhode Island is one of only three Senate delegations in which both senators file digitally, along with Montana, California and Vermont.

Senators, unlike lawmakers in the U.S. House, still have the legal right to submit their campaign-finance reports on paper. The Secretary of the Senate delivers the paper copies to the Federal Election Commission, whose employees must manually input the data into the FEC’s online database before they can be reviewed.

(more…)


Jack Reed’s war chest hits $2.57M; still a 99% favorite to win

July 15th, 2013 at 3:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

jack_reed_student_loans_3-13-2012_APU.S. Sen. Jack Reed may be the least vulnerable incumbent Democrat in the United States, but that isn’t stopping him from stockpiling plenty of money to fund his re-election bid next year.

Reed’s campaign raised $704,411 during the three months ended June 30 and spent $189,677, according to figures his office provided at WPRI.com’s request. Reed, who is seeking a fourth six-year term, finished the second quarter with $2.57 million on hand.

The new fundraising numbers were disclosed the same day Nate Silver, The New York Times’ political numbers guru, released his updated forecast for U.S. Senate races in 2014 – and again gave Reed eye-popping 99% odds of winning re-election next year, unchanged from February.

Other numbers in the updated forecast may be a cause for concern in Reed’s office, however.

(more…)


Jack Reed gets glowing portrait in behind-the-scenes DC book

July 9th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

reed_finance_pic

A new book by veteran Washington Post editor Robert Kaiser takes a behind-the-scenes look at how the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act made its way through Congress, and few politicians come off better than Rhode Island’s senior U.S. senator.

Kaiser’s book, “Act of Congress,” relies on two years of reporting and hundreds of interviews to tell the story of Dodd-Frank specifically and Congress today more broadly. Among those Kaiser interviewed were U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Kara Stein, a longtime senior aide to Reed on banking issues who was recently nominated to join the Securities and Exchange Commission by President Obama.

Kaiser says Congressman Barney Frank, who led the House’s work on the financial-reform bill, had hoped U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., would share leadership of the Senate Banking Committee with “one of Frank’s favorites, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former House colleague” if U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., took over a different committee after Ted Kennedy’s death.

Johnson’s health had become an issue after he suffered a major stroke, while “Reed was liberal, bright, hardworking – Frank’s kind of member,” Kaiser writes.

(more…)


Jack Reed: Time to look at balance between security, privacy

June 13th, 2013 at 10:45 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne has a column today about the debate over surveillance, and one of the voices in the piece is that of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (who also expressed concerns to WPRI last week):

That we’re now more inclined to question the national security state should not surprise anyone. “In the period immediately after the attacks of 9/11, the American people were willing to give the government broad power to keep them safe,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), one of Congress’s most thoughtful voices on national security, said in an interview. “Now, more than a decade later, it’s entirely appropriate that Americans are asking about the balance between security and privacy.”

Reed believes that we still need extensive surveillance programs. But he was also in the minority last December in supporting an earlier version of the Merkley proposal on the FISA court decisions. He also favored another amendment, proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), that would have required the director of national intelligence to submit a report to Congress and the public on the impact of the revised FISA law on the privacy of U.S. citizens.

This is a rare issue that divides Reed and his junior colleague, Sheldon Whitehouse.

Reed voted yes but Whitehouse voted no on the two measures from December that Dionne references – the Merkley amendment to disclose legal justification for surveillance and the Wyden amendment to require a privacy report. As I wrote in Saturday’s column, Whitehouse’s views may relate to his past service on the Intelligence Committee, his time in law enforcement and his general trust in the federal government.

• Related: Sen. Whitehouse defends Obama on surveillance programs (June 7)


Watch Newsmakers: U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

June 9th, 2013 at 10:44 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Sen. Whitehouse defends Obama on surveillance programs

June 7th, 2013 at 12:55 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse defended the Obama administration’s use of surveillance in terrorism investigations on Friday, breaking with fellow progressive lawmakers who have harshly criticized the president’s tactics this week.

Read the rest of this story »


Reed pushing to overhaul interest rates on student loans

May 9th, 2013 at 6:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

jack_reed_student_loans_3-13-2012_APPhilip Elliott reports for the AP:

[A] collection of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday renewed their push to keep rates low but also backed interest rates that were based on the markets. Their plan would base rates on a 91-day Treasury bill and allow the Education Department to add to that to pay for the administration of loan programs.

“The student loan interest rate offered by the government shouldn’t be needlessly high, it should be based on actual costs,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said in introducing the plan.

The versions from both parties include a proposal that was central to Obama’s budget: interest rates would shift based on financial markets. …

Basing student loans on 10-year Treasury notes’ rates would, at least for now, offer a deal to some students. … That’s not to say, however, the rates would be a good deal forever. If Treasury increases its rates, students’ loan rates would rise, too.

For context, under the current system Congress sets the actual numerical interest rate on student loans – that’s why the rate is currently set by law at 3.8% and is (again) scheduled to rise to 6.8% on July 1. (Hence the growing focus on the issue at the moment.)

Reed’s bill would have Congress stop setting the rate by statute and start basing it on market movements instead, as outlined above. However – unlike similar proposals from President Obama and House Republicans – Reed’s bill would set a maximum cap on rates: 6.8% for subsidized loans and 8.25% for unsubsidized loans. It would also allow students to refinance their loans at a lower rate.

Why the cap? According to Reed, it’s necessary because someday interest rates will return to a higher level.

Reed’s staff says college graduates in the Class of 2007 would have paid almost 8% and the Class of 1981 would have paid almost 17% if the House GOP proposal had been law at the time. Using CBO economic forecasts, they project rates will be back above 8% by 2018 under the Obama/GOP proposals.

The White House and Republicans argue Reed’s proposal could raise costs for borrowers or force other taxpayers to subsidize student loans. “In order to have a cap, we would have to charge students more in order to hedge against the possibility that rates would go up to unmanageable levels in the future,” an administration official told reporters April 10.

While a capped market rate is Reed’s vision for a permanent fix on student loans, in the meantime he’s introduced a bill to freeze current rates for two more years while Congress comes up with a long-term resolution. “Some who claim it is important to avoid burdening our children and grandchildren with national debt are all too willing to bury these young people in student debt,” Reed said in a statement Thursday.

Reed isn’t the only local senator arguing for a fresh approach to student loans. Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday introduced a bill to let students borrow at the same rate that big banks get from the Federal Reserve’s discount window.

(photo: Manuel Balce Caneta/AP)


RI delegation uniting on Wednesday – to fight Obama

May 8th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Three of the four members of Rhode Island’s all-Democratic congressional delegation will take aim Wednesday at someone who’s an unusual target for them: President Obama.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline are among the eight members of Congress co-hosting a summit on Capitol Hill to criticize a proposal in Obama’s latest budget that would trim Social Security benefits by switching to a measure of inflation known as “chained CPI.”

Rhode Island’s entire delegation slammed the policy when it emerged, and Cicilline has garnered national attention for introducing a resolution that would have Congress express formal disapproval of chained CPI. U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are also among the summit’s hosts, giving it a decidedly New England flavor.

There were 207,122 Rhode Island residents receiving Social Security benefits in December 2011, the most recent month for which figures are available – meaning nearly 20% of state residents are on Social Security. Two-thirds of Rhode Island’s beneficiaries were 65 or older, while 35,905 were disabled and 15,704 were children. The Rhode Islanders’ combined Social Security benefits totaled $236 million that month.

The congressional event at 12:30 p.m. will be streamed live online by Strengthen Social Security, a coalition of unions and progressive groups that supports increasing benefits.

• Related: RI congressional delegation slams Obama over Social Security (April 10)


Jack Reed set to become one of the most senior Senate Dems

April 23rd, 2013 at 11:09 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Back in January U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told WPRI.com one of the most important ways for a U.S. senator to be effective is basically out of his control: seniority.

If that’s the case, Whitehouse’s senior colleague Jack Reed is about to get significantly more effective.

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana on Tuesday became the sixth Senate Democrat to announce he will retire rather than seek re-election next year. All but one of those six lawmakers – New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg – have served in the Senate longer than Reed, who was first elected in 1996.

The departures of those five – Baucus, Carl Levin, Tom Harkin, Jack Rockefeller and Tim Johnson – will vault Reed from 14th to 9th on the list of the U.S. Senate’s most senior Democrats. Of course, that assumes Reed himself will win re-election next year – about as safe an assumption as there is in politics.

• Related: Levin retirement sets up Jack Reed for powerful chairmanship (March 7)


U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and wife pay $51,891 in taxes to US and RI

April 15th, 2013 at 7:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed doesn’t just debate taxes. He pays them, too.

Reed and his wife, Julia Hart Reed, paid $39,326 in federal income taxes and $12,565 in state income taxes on their 2012 adjusted gross income of $249,700, Reed spokesman Chip Unruh told WPRI.com on Monday.

Reed earned a gross salary of $174,000 as a U.S. senator, while Mrs. Reed earned $110,305 working for the Secretary of the State as an Interparliamentary Services Coordinator. Federal taxes are due Monday.

The Reeds filed a joint income tax return, paying 15.8% to the federal government and 5% to the state government. They took $61,150 in itemized deductions on their federal return and reported $3,000 in capital losses. The pair’s federal tax rate was calculated using the alternative minimum tax, or AMT.

The Reeds’ tax bill was cut $27,503 by the home mortgage interest deduction and $5,660 by charitable contributions. Uhruh said they deducted an additional $4,947 for miscellaneous items including non-reimbursed Washington living expenses for members of Congress; professional dues and expenses including the Rhode Island and D.C. bar associations and the Council on Foreign Relations; tax preparation fees; and investment advisory fees.


Elizabeth Warren coming to RI April 29 for Jack Reed fundraiser

April 15th, 2013 at 11:51 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

CFPB_warren_reedProgressive favorite U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is coming to Rhode Island later this month to raise money for the re-election campaign of her fellow Democrat Jack Reed.

Warren will be the special guest at a fundraiser on April 29 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Rotunda Room at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, according to an invitation sent Monday. Suggested contributions range from $100 for individuals to $1,000 for hosts.

The fundraiser sports an all-female host committee co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. Maryellen Butke, Helena Foulkes, Sandra Whitehouse and Myrth York are among the hosts.

Warren and Reed have a bit of a mutual admiration society. Reed successfully pushed to get Warren, a vocal Wall Street critic, appointed to serve with him on the Senate Banking Committee, while Warren has praised his work on financial issues. Reed is up for re-election next year.

Warren defeated Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown just last November, but she’s already Massachusetts’ senior senator now that John Kerry has resigned to serve as President Obama’s secretary of state. Democratic Congressman Ed Markey is the frontrunner in the campaign to succeed Kerry.

(photo: Warren’s office)


RI congressional delegation slams Obama over Social Security

April 10th, 2013 at 5:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

RI_delegation_bride_4-10-12_Lewis_SchulerPresident Obama isn’t getting any support from Rhode Island’s congressional delegation for his controversial proposal to trim future Social Security benefits.

All four Democrats – usually loyal defenders of the president – issued statements Wednesday criticizing Obama for his proposal to use a different measure of inflation, known as “chained CPI,” to calculate Social Security benefit increases, which would reduce payments over time compared with current law.

The harshest critique came from U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a leading liberal in the chamber. “The so-called ‘chained CPI’ proposal included in President Obama’s budget is nothing more than a benefit cut disguised behind technical jargon,” he declared.

Whitehouse said he thinks the way Social Security currently calculates inflation already “shortchanges” senior citizens and should be changed to increase benefits – the exact opposite of Obama’s proposal. “I made a promise to the people of Rhode Island that I would always oppose cuts to Social Security, and I’m going to keep that promise,” Whitehouse said.

(more…)


Reed, Whitehouse vote to repeal tax on medical-device makers

March 22nd, 2013 at 9:46 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse were among the 79 senators who voted Thursday night to get rid of a tax on sales of medical devices passed in 2010 to help fund President Obama’s health reform law.

The two Rhode Island senators joined 31 of their fellow Democrats and all 45 Republicans in voting to repeal the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices, which took effect Jan. 1. Getting rid of it would cost the federal government $29 billion from 2013 to 2022, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning Washington think-tank that opposed repealing it.

Whitehouse and another stalwart liberal, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, were among those who sided with the device industry on the repeal measure, which was introduced by Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah and has been the subject of a heavy lobbying effort.

Stephen Lane, chairman and chief venture officer of the Providence-based medical-device firm Ximedica, said at a manufacturing forum last year co-hosted by Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin that the tax was causing his industry to move production to Asia. Cicilline and Langevin voted to keep the tax, and Cicilline clashed over the question with his Republican opponent Brendan Doherty in a WPRI 12 debate last fall.


Reed praises Obama’s new Comptroller of the Currency Curry

February 27th, 2013 at 11:17 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Jack Reed was not a fan of John Walsh, the Republican who was the last Comptroller of the Currency. But he’s getting along well with Thomas Curry, who took over in April, Kate Davidson reports for Politico:

Curry has acknowledged past mistakes, moved quickly to adopt lawmakers’ recommendations and brought in new blood with liberal bona fides at the upper levels of the agency.

By all accounts, his efforts are soothing tensions with some of the agency’s toughest critics. …

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who had called for the ouster of Curry’s predecessor, John Walsh, said Curry has “taken a lot of very positive steps” to improve the agency.

“I think he’s balanced, and I think he’s fair,” Reed said.

• Related: Reed giving up Senate Banking subcommittee to keep 2 others (Feb. 6)