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Langevin, Cicilline tackle cybersecurity and infrastructure while Senate focuses on impeachment

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis)
(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis)Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis

PROVIDENCE — From covering pivotal hearings and key votes to fund-raisers and political maneuvering, the Globe wants to keep a close eye on what Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is doing here and in Washington.

We’ve launched a weekly feature that will hold our leaders accountable and highlight the work of US Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and US Representatives James Langevin and David Cicilline. We’ll also ask each of them to answer a different policy-related question every week.

Do you have a question for Rhode Island’s congressional delegation? E-mail it to Dan.McGowan@globe.com and we’ll consider it in future editions.

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Representative James Langevin

Representative Langevin was talking about cybersecurity long before it became fashionable – he’s the co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus – and there was plenty of news on that front this week. He chaired a member briefing by the Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on the relationship between information sharing and analysis centers and the government. He also voted to send legislation to the full House that will give the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency subpoena power. For next week’s State of the Union, Langevin’s guest will be John Hazen White Jr. from Taco Inc.

Question of the week: Do you believe the US Supreme Court should be restructured?

“I am concerned with the politicization of the court, particularly in the wake of the Senate ending the filibuster for Supreme Court justices,” Langevin said. “However, I do not believe the court should be restructured at this time.”

Representative David Cicilline

While the Senate is locked in President Trump’s impeachment trial, Representative Cicilline and other members of House leader unveiled a $760 billion infrastructure plan that he says will significantly benefit Rhode Island. You can read more about the proposal here. Cicilline also voted to support legislation that would block military force in Iran without congressional approval, but it’s unlikely to win support from the Republican-led Senate. For the State of the Union, Cicilline’s guest is Carrigan Nelson, an 18-year-old cancer survivor from Portsmouth.

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Question of the week: Do you believe the US Supreme Court should be restructured?

“We need to restore public confidence in the Supreme Court. Our nation’s highest court is supposed to work for the people,” Cicilline said in prepared statement. “Unfortunately, thanks to Mitch McConnell, it’s now working overtime for corporate special interests and billionaires. We have to do better. Senator Whitehouse and I introduced the Judicial Travel Accountability Act last year to shine a light on the outside groups that are paying for Supreme Court justices and federal judges to go on trips around the world. Before we look at changing the number of justices, let’s start by making sure that they are held to the highest ethical standards.”

Senator Jack Reed

Senator Reed was among the Democrats who called on President Trump to retract comments he made about making changes to Social Security and Medicare during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Then Reed received some attention during the impeachment trial for asking who is paying for Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s travel expenses. He also discussed impeachment on the C-Span. Reed’s guest at the State of the Union will be Rebekah Ham, a Providence mother and childhood cancer advocate.

Question of the week: Do you believe the US Supreme Court should be restructured?

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“In the wake of Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and then eliminating the 60-vote threshold for nominees for President Trump, it’s very understandable why many Rhode Islanders might be interested in altering the court,” Reed said in a prepared statement. “If there are ways to better ensure every justice is highly qualified and impartial, I think the Senate should consider them. American justice is supposed to be impartial and work for everyone.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Whitehouse made the rounds on cable to talk about impeachment this week, appearing on Fox News and MSNBC on Wednesday and CNN on Thursday. He was highly critical of attorney Alan Dershowitz’s defense of President Trump. For the State of the Union, he has invited Dr. Alan Kurose, president and CEO of Coastal Medical.

Question of the week: Do you believe the US Supreme Court should be restructured?

“The [John] Roberts court’s long record of partisan 5-4 decisions that discard bedrock judicial principles to deliver wins for corporate special interests flags an institution that is badly in need of reform,” Whitehouse said in a prepared statement. “The best way to do that is to require more transparency, both from the justices and from the outside groups seeking to influence them. Because I have not recommended changing the number of justices, I do not have a recommendation for what to change it to.”


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.