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Whitehouse is trying to move Raimondo’s confirmation along

The Senator from Rhode Island signed a petition for cloture, which will allow the Senate to bring the Governor’s nomination for Commerce secretary to the floor more quickly.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., arrives for the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., arrives for the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

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Happy Tuesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I say that 45 degrees in February is definitely Hot Club weather. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 123,980 confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, after adding 835 new cases since Feb. 19. The most recent overall daily test-positive rate was 2.6 percent. The state announced 90 more deaths (over the course of several months), bringing the total to 2,466. There were 186 people in the hospital, and 61,944 residents have been fully vaccinated.


Is Governor Gina Raimondo ready to make like a tree and get out of here?

Raimondo told reporters on Monday that she still had no update on when the US Senate will take up her nomination to be US Commerce secretary, but Senator Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted later in the night that he signed a “cloture” petition to help move things along.

If you’ve never heard the word before – it kind of rhymes with “glow fur” but would be easier to understand if we just called it “closure” – that’s because it probably doesn’t appear in even the most obscure SAT prep book.But it’s basically legislative speak for ending debate on a matter and calling for a vote.

If you recall, US Senator Ted Cruz of Cancun placed a temporary hold on Raimondo’s nomination earlier this month even though the Senate Commerce Committee voted 21-3 to move her to the full Senate, citing concerns about her response to his questions about a Chinese telecommunications company.

This is an increasingly common tactic in the Senate – the Democrats did it a lot during former President Donald Trump’s term – and it forces senators to gather at least 16 signatures on a motion to end debate.


By invoking cloture, the senators can impose a 30-hour limit on debate over an issue, and then force a vote. Once a motion is filed, the Senate takes it up on the second calendar day that it’s in session (if it’s filed today, that means the earliest the Senate would take it up is Thursday, but that doesn’t automatically guarantee a vote right away). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, said Tuesday that he hopes to have Raimondo’s confirmation vote early next week.

You might remember that cloture was invoked for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US Supreme Court, and he was soon confirmed to the bench.

So when will Raimondo be confirmed?

We still don’t know. The Senate is not nearly as divided on Raimondo’s nomination as it was with Kavanaugh, so once the petition is filed, we should get a better sense of the timeline. But it could come as soon as next week.


⚓ Governor Raimondo signed an executive order on Monday that allows Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee to oversee the state budget process even if she still isn’t confirmed as Commerce secretary by next month. Read more.

⚓ Speaking at length to reporters for the first time in two months, Raimondo said the state is making “huge progress” with COVID-19 vaccinations. Read more.

⚓As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in Rhode Island, the state plans to suspend patient care at its two existing field hospitals. Read more.


⚓ The Newport Music Festival is launching a summer of genre-defying shows as the Festival begins its 53rd season. Read more.

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Health: Sound familiar? The Massachusetts Legislature, which has seemed content to allow the executive branch to lead the state’s fight against the coronavirus, is poised to assert itself this week, summoning Governor Charlie Baker and his top aides before a new oversight committee to demand answers about the state’s coronavirus vaccine rollout. Read more.

Editorial: The Globe’s editorial board writes that the US Census needs to prioritize accuracy over speed. Read more.

Education: Martin J. Walsh ran for mayor of Boston in 2013 promising free, high-quality prekindergarten for all. Eight years later, as he prepares to leave office, the city has provided enough seats for just over half of Boston’s 4-year-olds. Read more.

Sports: Cam Newton appeared on a podcast to dish on his time with the New England Patriots. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Senator Whitehouse and US Representative David Cicilline will discuss the impeachment trial of former President Trump at 6 p.m. during a virtual event hosted by the Roger Williams University School of Law.  

⚓ Advocates are holding a 1 p.m. press conference to urge Rhode Island lawmakers to add an a new tax bracket for residents who earn more than $475,000 a year.


⚓ State Treasurer Seth Magaziner will attend a 10 a.m. rally outside of the Children’s Friend Althea Street Center to urge Rhode Islanders to approve the $15 million child care facilities bond that is on the ballot next week.

⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here

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