Sheldon Whitehouse

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 14:57, 22 January 2014 by Mbusse (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse.jpg
U.S. Senate, Rhode Island
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 8
PredecessorLincoln Chafee (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Next generalNovember 2018
Campaign $$11,463,221
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Attorney General, Rhode Island
Bachelor'sYale University, 1978
J.D.University of Virginia School of Law, 1982
Date of birthOctober 20, 1955
Place of birthNew York, NY
Net worth$5,557,098.50
Office website
Campaign website
Sheldon Whitehouse (b. October 20, 1955, in New York, New York) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Rhode Island. Whitehouse was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and assumed office on January 3, 2007. He is currently serving his second consecutive term in the U.S. Senate, having won re-election in 2012.[1][2] He defeated B. Barrett Hinckley, III (R) and various write-in challengers in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Before becoming a U.S. Senator, Whitehouse served one term as state attorney general for Rhode Island.

Whitehouse's current term expires on January 3, 2019, and he will next come up for re-election in 2018.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Whitehouse is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Whitehouse's academic, professional and political career:[3]

  • 1978: Graduated from Yale University
  • 1982: Received his J.D. from the University of Virginia
  • 1992-1994: Served as director, Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation
  • 1994-1998: Served as United States attorney
  • 1999-2003: Served as Rhode Island State attorney general
  • 2007-Present: U.S Senator from Rhode Island

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Whitehouse serves on the following committees:[4]


Whitehouse served on the following committees:[5]


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[6] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Whitehouse's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[7]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" Whitehouse voted for the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[8]


Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[9] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[10]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Whitehouse voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspended the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[8]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Voted "Yes" Whitehouse voted for the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[8] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. Whitehouse was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[8]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "No" Whitehouse voted against Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[8]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" Whitehouse voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[8]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Whitehouse voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[11]

Senate Judiciary Committee

Sheldon Whitehouse was first appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after he was sworn into the Senate in 2007[12].

Senator Whitehouse is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. In addition, Senator Whitehouse serves on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, The Constitution, Immigration, and Refugees and Border Security[13]

Campaign themes


According to Sheldon Whitehouse's website, his campaign themes included:

  • Jobs; "...focused on creating Rhode Island's clean energy jobs of the future, and has introduced a bill to end corporate tax breaks companies receive when they ship jobs overseas."
  • Seniors; "...a co-founder of the Defend Social Security Caucus, he will always fight against attempts to risk Social Security on Wall Street."
  • Siding with Consumers and Homeowners; "...supporting legislation to give homeowners more leverage to renegotiate mortgages and standing up for consumers victimized when credit card companies raise interest rates through the roof."[14]



See also: United States Senate elections in Rhode Island, 2012

Whitehouse won re-election in 2012. He defeated B. Barrett Hinckley, III (R) and various write-in challengers in the general election.

U.S. Senate, Rhode Island General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSheldon Whitehouse Incumbent 64.8% 271,034
     Republican B. Barrett Hinckley, III 35% 146,222
     Write-in N/A 0.2% 933
Total Votes 418,189
Source: Rhode Island Board of Elections "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Full history


Democratic Primary for Congress
Poll Sheldon Whitehouse Barry HinckleyNot sureRefusedMargin of ErrorSample Size
"Campaign 2012 Exclusive Poll" February 20-23
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Whitehouse is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Whitehouse raised a total of $11,463,221 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 22, 2013.[16]

Sheldon Whitehouse's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 US Senate (Rhode Island) Won $4,883,464
2006 US Senate (Rhode Island) Won $6,579,757
Grand Total Raised $11,463,221
Breakdown of the source of Whitehouse's campaign funds before the 2012 election.


Whitehouse won election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Whithouse's campaign committee raised a total of $4,883,464 and spent $4,933,336.[17] This is less than the average $10.2 million spent by Senate winners in 2012.[18]

Cost per vote

Whitehouse spent $18.20 per vote received in 2012.


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Whitehouse is a "far-left Democrat" as of July 2013.[19]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[20]

Whitehouse most often votes with:

Whitehouse least often votes with:

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Whitehouse paid his congressional staff a total of $2,201,382 in 2011. He ranks 6th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranks 22nd overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Rhode Island ranks 30th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[21]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Whitehouse missed 22 of 1,935 roll call votes between January 2007 and April 2014. This amounts to 1.1%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving as of April 2013.[22]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Whitehouse's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $2,549,198 to $8,564,999. That averages to $5,557,098.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic Senate members in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Whitehouse ranked as the 26th most wealthy senator in 2012.[23]

Sheldon Whitehouse Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Whitehouse ranked 20th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[24]


Whitehouse and fellow Democratic Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed both ranked 19th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[25]

Voting with Party


Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party 94.8% of the time, which ranked 31st among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[26]


Sheldon Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party 98.0% of the time, which ranked 2nd among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of November 2011.[27]


Whitehouse and his wife, Sandra Thornton, have two children, Molly and Alexander.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Sheldon + Whitehouse + Rhode Island + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Sheldon Whitehouse News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links


  1. WRNI Politics Blog "Whitehouse kicks off 2012 re-election campaign money chase," January 31, 2012
  2. Go Local Providence "Senate Battle Heats Up: Hinckley Blasts Whitehouse," Accessed February 18, 2012
  3. Biographical Director of the United States Congress "Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed November 4, 2011
  4. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  5. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  6. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Project Votesmart, "Sheldon Whitehouse Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  9. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  10., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  11. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  12. "Senate Judiciary Committee" List of past members
  13. "Senate Judiciary Committee" List of Subcommittees
  14. Whitehouse for Senate, "Issues," Accessed August 28, 2012
  15. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  16. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed April 22, 2013
  17. Open Secrets "Sheldon Whitehouse's 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed March 4, 2013
  18. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," June 19, 2013
  19. Gov Track "Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed July 5, 2013
  20. OpenCongress, "Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed August 22, 2013
  21. LegiStorm "Sheldon Whitehouse"
  22. GovTrack, "Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed April 17, 2013
  23. "Whitehouse, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  24. National Journal, "TABLE: Senate Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 21, 2013
  25. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  26. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  27. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Lincoln Chafee
U.S. Senate - Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rhode Island Attorney General
Succeeded by