Wyden On Turning the Government Blue

The U.S. senator talks about whats at stake in the election and what will happen after

With less than a week before Election Day, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden shares his thoughts on what will happen if Joe Biden and his administration win the presidency, and how to move America forward.

“It’s hugely important,” Wyden says of the election. “The question is whether we are really going to move forward or continue this agenda that Donald Trump has that moves us back to yesteryear.” With a newly appointed Supreme Court Justice, legislation like the Affordable Care Act may soon be abolished.

Wyden says that in this election cycle, Oregon has done a great job at empowering its citizens to vote. He says that the vote-by-mail is convenient and has integrity. But across the country, Trump and his team are taking steps to keep votes from being counted by intimidating voters and making it difficult to vote-by-mail.

And in the case that Trump loses, Wyden shares his concern that the president has never shown inclination of being a good loser. Its important to watch, he explains, because Trump has never made it clear that he would step-down peacefully.

But if Biden does win the election, Wyden says, the vice president will be inheriting a recession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we are going to have to do is a lot of triage at the beginning and try to undo some of the damage,” Wyden says. For example, “Make sure a vaccine is distributed in an equitable way and taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Wyden says that in Congress, a blue Senate will allow more action on another stimulus package. Since he is on the Finance Committee, he says he would take a very different approach than the Republicans and would fight to change unemployment law. He says the Finance Committee was instrumental in getting the extra $600 a week for unemployment and that Republicans “fought us every step of the way.”

If the presidency goes to Biden and Congress becomes Democrat majority, Wyden says there will be a number of Republican senators who will almost immediately say they want to run for president in 2024. He says the question is whether they learn from Trump’s failed administration that this isn’t what the country wants.

As sure as the night follows the day, if Joe Biden wins, there will be a good batch of Republican senators announcing their run for president very quickly.” He adds that another aspect of having a Democrat controlled Senate and House will allow Congressman Peter DeFazio to continue work on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. 

One major action that the senator wants to put forward right away if the Senate becomes majority Democrat is the Clean Energy For America Act, which was first introduced in May 2019. He says the purpose is to to eliminate 44 separate tax breaks that are mostly subsidies to big oil companies and lobbyists.

Instead, Wyden says he is going to consolidate them into three: one for green energy, one for clean transportation fuel and one for energy efficiency.

“I think clearly, undoing the damage Donald Trump has done — whether its health care, environmental policy, education — its going to take time,” he says. “But we are going to move very quickly because the country doesn’t have time to waste.”