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Sen. Jeff Merkley graciously sat down with Daily Kos for an interview while at Netroots Nation in San Jose last weekend. Here's our discussion on filibuster reform and how critical it is for the Senate to be restored to a functioning body.

Here, Sen. Merkley talks about his path to political activism and his work at Oregon's Habitat for Humanity, which informed his efforts on the Senate Banking Committee to protect consumers from deceptive mortgage lending practices in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Those consumer protections are threatened by Republican obstruction on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If they won't allow a director to be confirmed, consumer protections on mortgages and any number of financial products can't be enforced. Which is the way Republicans want it.

Sen. Merkley also talked about his efforts to bring more transparency to the threat to our privacy rights posed by the secrecy surrounding NSA surveillance programs.

I proposed an amendment back in September that would have ended secret laws. The law consists of the simple language of the law plus a court's interpretation of that law. But in this case the court is secret and their interpretations are secret and so we don't know exactly what the law means. [...] How can we really debate this if we don't know what the law means? So that's why I hope a lot of support will come forward to declassify the interpretations of law. The president says he wants transparency. I applaud him for that. He says he wants a debate of privacy versus security. I applaud him for that. But to do that we need to have the secret FISA interpretations of law declassified.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by Koscadia, PDX Metro, and Daily Kos.

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