Cruz-Like: Now Dems Plan All-Night Senate Talkathon -- on Climate Change

By Susan Jones | March 10, 2014 | 7:57 AM EDT

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) (AP File Photo)

( - Taking a cue, perhaps, from conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of R.I. plans to lead his fellow Democrats in a "marathon soliloquy" on the Senate floor, warning about the dangers of climate change, the Providence Journal reported.

Beginning Monday and continuing until 9 a.m. Tuesday, Whitehouse and a few dozen other senators -- including Majority Leader Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, Elizabeth Warren, and Al Franken -- will speak continuously on the Senate floor -- "in groups and individually throughout the night" -- about how climate change is affecting their states.

Whitehouse is expected to point to rising sea levels, the warming of Narragansett Bay and the midwinter blooming of fruit trees in R.I.

“We hope the White House is watching,” the Providence Journal quoted Whitehouse as saying. “We hope that the environmental community is taking heart. We hope the Republicans in the House are watching. We hope they will ask themselves, 'How smart a strategy is it for us to lash ourselves to the polluters when so many Americans are seeing evidence of climate change?'"

Whitehouse -- who is heading to Iowa next week -- has made 60 "Time to Wake Up" speeches on the dangers of climate change on the Senate floor in the past two years.
The Providence Journal reported that Whitehouse considers climate change to be the top issue facing the nation.

Sen. Cruz of Texas, joined by several other Republicans, spoke continuously on the Senate floor for a little over 21 hours last September on the need to defund and repeal Obamacare. At the time, he was roundly booed by Democrats -- and some Republicans -- for what was described as a political stunt.

Sen. Whitehouse is going to Iowa on March 17 to "raise the profile" of climate change within the state, his website says. Iowa is a must-visit state for presidential contenders, but Whitehouse says he is not planning to run for president.

“Climate change threatens Rhode Island coasts and Iowa farmlands alike, and I look forward to this opportunity to talk to rural Americans about the threats they face,” Whitehouse says on his website.

“I also realize that in order to advance serious climate change legislation in Congress, we need to make climate change a major topic in the 2016 presidential race.  Iowa, with its first-in-the-nation caucuses, is in a unique position to drive the debates in that race.  

"While I myself will not be running for president – and fully expect to support Hillary Clinton if she chooses to run – I do hope that by visiting Iowa now and meeting with local activists and journalists, I can help to put the issue of climate change at the front of their minds as the 2016 race takes shape.”

Whitehouse recently became chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee.