Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, Senate’s Powerful Policy Wonk, Challenges Republicans To Debate Budget “Values”; Defends Social Programs Against “Offensive, Outlandish Tax Perks”
Washington, D.C—In an exclusive interview with The National Memo, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) challenged Congressional Republicans to open budget talks with Democrats, calling the negotiations an opportunity to showcase “our values.” Expected to assume the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Finance Committee when current chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) retires, Wyden says Democrats must defend programs like Meals on Wheels from sequestration cutbacks, while ending “offensive, outlandish, special interest tax perks” that are “hotwired” by lobbyists.
Wyden spoke candidly with National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason about Medicare, campaign finance reform, tax reform, and the Affordable Care Act. He discusses his controversial efforts to collaborate with Republican colleagues in an era of polarization, including the new campaign finance reform bill he is co-sponsoring with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — and his perspective on renewed efforts to achieve tax reform.
Wyden calls on Democrats to vocally defend programs for impoverished seniors from sequestration cuts. He predicts that tax reform will not only keep progressive rates but raise new revenues as well — which most Republicans have refused to contemplate in every debate over the budget.
The National Memo will publish the Wyden interview with full audio in its newsletter and website on Monday, May 13.
About The National Memo and the Newsmaker Memo
The National Memo is a daily political newsletter and website that reaches more than 800,000 readers every morning. Edited by best-selling journalist Joe Conason, the memo combines investigative reporting, analysis, and original commentary with columnists such as Jonathan Alter, David Cay Johnston, Gene Lyons, Cynthia Tucker, Connie Schultz, and Leonard Pitts, Jr. The Newsmaker Memo is a new monthly feature that highlights exclusive interviews with leading political and cultural figures.
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Henry Decker, Managing Editor