November 30, 2012


Sen. Ron Wyden insists he doesn’t have a grudge against fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California. What he does have, though, is a hold on her two legislative priorities of the lame-duck session — and he has, in fact, placed a hold on every major bill coming out of her Intelligence Committee in the past two years.

Wyden’s moves to block the two latest bills — a spy agency reauthorization measure (S 3454) aimed at cracking down on leaks and an extension of expiring surveillance provisions from a 2008 law — are the newest demonstrations of how the Oregon Democrat has become the Senate’s hardest line to cross on civil liberties issues in the national security arena.

Wyden said he considers Feinstein a friend and that he has more in common with her than not as a member of her committee. And his stances aren’t about liberal versus conservative, he insisted, pointing to a record of working with Republicans on a variety of topics from taxes to health care. Indeed, the update of the 2008 surveillance law (S 3276) is even an Obama administration priority.

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