Sheldon Whitehouse

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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
Cost per vote$18.20 in 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, N.Y.
Net worth(2012) $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 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] Whitehouse's current term expires on January 3, 2019, and he will 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]

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

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Whitehouse serves on the following committees:[4]


Whitehouse served on the following committees:[5]


Whitehouse served on the following committees:[6]

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[7] 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.[8]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Yea3.png 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.[9]


Farm bill

Nay3.png On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[10] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[11] However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[11] Whitehouse was one of nine Democratic senators who voted against the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[12][13] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[13] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[14] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party in favor of the bill.[12][13]

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png 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 funded 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.[15] 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.[16]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png 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 suspend 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.[9]


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.
Mexico-U.S. border

Nay3.png 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.[9]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png 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.[9]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal cliff

Yea3.png 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 an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[17]


On The Issues Vote Match

Whitehouse's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Whitehouse is a Populist-Leaning Liberal. Whitehouse received a score of 62 percent on social issues and 23 percent on economic issues.[18]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[19]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Favors
Expand ObamaCare Neutral Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Unknown
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Strongly Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Favors
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Opposes Expand the military Opposes
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Neutral
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Strongly Opposes
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[18] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.

Campaign themes


According to 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."[20]



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"


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. 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

Full history

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Whitehouse attends.

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

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.[22]

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


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.[23] This was less than the average $10.2 million spent by Senate winners in 2012.[24]

Cost per vote

Whitehouse spent $18.20 per vote received in 2012.

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

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.[25] Between 2006 and 2012, Whitehouse's calculated net worth[26] decreased by an average of 7 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[27]

Sheldon Whitehouse Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2006 to 2012:-42%
Average annual growth:-7%[28]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[29]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). In the 113th Congress, Whitehouse is the chair of the Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. Whitehouse received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 2005-2014, 36 percent of Whitehouse's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[30]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Sheldon Whitehouse Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $11,651,891
Total Spent $11,747,744
Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$1,631,412
Securities & Investment$973,565
Leadership PACs$532,262
Real Estate$486,079
% total in top industry14%
% total in top two industries22.36%
% total in top five industries36%


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Whitehouse was a "far-left Democrat" as of September 2014.[31] This was the same rating Whitehouse received in July 2013.[32]

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.[33]

Whitehouse most often votes with:

Whitehouse least often votes with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

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 ranked 6th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 22nd overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Rhode Island ranked 30th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[34]

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Whitehouse missed 25 of 2,386 roll call votes between January 2007 and July 2014. This amounts to 1.0 percent, which is better than the median of 2.0 percent among the lifetime records of senators currently serving as of July 2014.[35]

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 17th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[36]


Whitehouse ranked 20th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[37]


Whitehouse and fellow Democratic Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed both ranked 19th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[38]

Voting with Party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party 94.9 percent of the time, which ranked 28th among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of September 2014.[39]


Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party 94.8 percent of the time, which ranked 31st among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[40]


Sheldon Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party 98.0 percent of the time, which ranked 2nd among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of November 2011.[41]

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

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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 Directory of the United States Congress, "Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed November 4, 2011
  4. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments of the 114th Congress," accessed February 17, 2015
  5. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  6. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Project Vote Smart, "Sheldon Whitehouse Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  10., "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 )," accessed February 12, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  14. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  16., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  17. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 On The Issues, "Whitehouse Vote Match," accessed July 7, 2014
  19. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  20. Whitehouse for Senate, "Issues," accessed August 28, 2012
  21. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  22. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed April 22, 2013
  23. Open Secrets, "Sheldon Whitehouse's 2012 Election Cycle," accessed March 4, 2013
  24. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed June 19, 2013
  25. OpenSecrets, "Whitehouse, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  26. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  27. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  28. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  29. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  30., "Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed October 2, 2014
  31. GovTrack, "Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed September 4, 2014
  32. GovTrack, "Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed July 5, 2013
  33. OpenCongress, "Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed August 22, 2013
  34. LegiStorm, "Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed August 6, 2012
  35. GovTrack, "Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed September 4, 2014
  36. National Journal, "TABLE: Senate Liberal Scores by Issue Area," September 4, 2014
  37. National Journal, "TABLE: Senate Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 21, 2013
  38. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  39. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  40. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  41. 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