Jeff Merkley on Principles & Values

Democratic Jr Senator (OR)


Endorsed by Sen. Wyden; I’ll be his partner

Smith made frequent reference to his ability to work both sides of the political aisle. He often cited his ability to work with Sen. Ron Wyden, his Democratic counterpart representing Oregon. He said he also has taken on Bush on several issues over the years and has worked with Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for president.

But Merkley said he has been endorsed by Wyden. “Sen. Wyden needs a partner in Jeff Merkley,” he said. Merkley said Smith has voted with Bush 90% of the time.

Source: 2008 Oregon Senate Debate, in Southern Ore. Mail Tribune , Oct 14, 2008

I’ve lived a pretty unconventional life

In his mid-20s, Jeff Merkley hopped a bus with a friend in Los Angeles and headed south for what would become a hairy, life-changing journey through revolution-torn Central America. Merkley raced midget motorcycles as a child, and once owned--and crashed--a Harley. He roomed with an impoverished family in Ghana as a teen, hitchhiked across Israel as a young man and went on, as he puts it, to help shut down one of Portland’s worst crack alleys. “I’ve lived,” he says, “a pretty unconventional life.”

Yet for all that, he has become best known as the “establishment” candidate in a field of less-experienced upstarts. “I started this race unknown to Oregonians,” Merkley says. “What they hear is ‘speaker of the House.’ That sounds pretty uninteresting. There’s no way to convey in a 30-second ad the history of your life.”

Source: The Oregonian, “Oregon House speaker” , May 1, 2008

Change direction and put America back on track.

We need to change direction and put America back on track. If my opponent, Gordon Smith, returns to Washington, it’s just more of the same, and we can’t afford that. Not in Oregon, not in America.

I’m the son of a mill-worker, the first in my family to attend college. I believe in an America that gives every child the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential. I believe in an America that paves a broad road for families to thrive. It is time to make America work for working Americans again!

George Bush, John McCain, and Gordon Smith have given us a government that puts oil company profits ahead of drivers’ pain at the pump and tax loopholes that ship jobs overseas instead of tax relief for the middle class.

Y’know, my opponent talks like Barack Obama, but he votes like George Bush. Oregon needs a senator who will fight for affordable health care, living wage jobs, an end to the war and a smart energy policy, not a senator who will give us more of Bush and McCain’s failed policies.

Source: Speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 24, 2006

Voted YES on confirming of Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In her opening statement, Judge Sotomayor pledged a "fidelity to the law:"
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination; Bill PN506 ; vote number 2009-S262 on Aug 6, 2009

Religious freedom means no religious registry.

Merkley signed opposing a religious registry

Press Release from 9 Senators: [Cory Booker and 13 co-sponsors] introduced legislation that would block a registry of people based on their religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality. "Religious freedom and freedom from discrimination are fundamental rights central to the very idea of being an American," Sen. Booker said. "Forcing people to sign up for a registry based on their religion, race, or national origin does nothing to keep America secure. It does, however, undermine the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and promote the false notion that people of certain faiths and nationalities are inherently suspect. Our legislation would block Donald Trump and subsequent administrations from infringing on religious liberty by creating an immigration-related religious registry."

National origin-based immigration registry systems have proven ineffective at combatting terrorism and strengthening national security, but effective at instilling fear in certain communities. The George W. Bush-era National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), registered over 83,000 individuals from 24 Muslim-majority countries, but yielded zero terrorism convictions.

Opposing argument: (GovTrack.us's analysis of S.54): President Trump pledged during his campaign to institute a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration and Syrian refugees "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He made good on much of that promise with an executive order suspending America's refugee admission program for 120 days and banning all entry from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days. Trump has defended a Muslim registry as necessary to national security. "They have to be [registered]. It's all about management. Our country has no management," he said when first proposing the idea in 2015. Trump reiterated his plans as president-elect in December.

Source: S.54 & H.R.5207 17-S0054 on Jan 5, 2017

Question Trump on Emoluments clause.

Merkley signed questioning Trump on Emoluments clause

Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to Trump Organization: The Trump Organization's continuing financial relationship with President Trump raises concerns about whether it is a pass-through for income that violates the Constitution's two Emoluments Clauses: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 on foreign Emoluments; and Article II, Clause 7 on domestic Emoluments. Please answer the following questions to help Congress understand:

Legal Analysis: (Cato Institute, "Emoluments Clause vs. Trump Empire," 11/29/16): The wording of the Emoluments clause points one way to resolution: Congress can give consent, as it did in the early years of the Republic to presents received by Ben Franklin. It can decide what it is willing to live with in the way of Trump conflicts. If it misjudges public opinion, it will pay a political price at the next election.

FOIA argument: (ACLU Center for Democracy, "FOIA Request," 1/19/17): We filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump's conflicts of interest relating to his business connections. When Trump took the oath of office, he didn't take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family's business interests comply with the Constitution. Some have even argued that upon taking the oath of office, the new president is already violating the Emoluments Clause.

Source: Letter from 17 Senators 17LTR-EMOL on May 18, 2017

Certify 2020 Presidential election as fully & fairly counted.

Merkley voted NAY blocking certification of the Electoral vote

Explanation of 1/6/21 Electoral Certification, by Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner:Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar led an objection to counting Electoral College votes from the state of Arizona, the first formal objection to state results in a series of moves that will delay the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election over President Trump. Cruz is advocating for an `emergency 10-day audit` of election returns in disputed states. The usually ceremonial joint session of Congress that convenes to count and accept Electoral College votes will be put on hold as the House and Senate separately debate the objection.