Ron Wyden

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ron Wyden
Ron Wyden.jpg
U.S. Senate, Oregon
In office
January 30, 1996-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 18
PredecessorRobert Packwood (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedJanuary 30, 1996
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$11,989,158
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Representative, United States House of Representatives
Bachelor'sPolitical Science, Stanford University, 1971
J.D.University of Oregon, 1974
BirthdayMay 3, 1949
Place of birthWichita, KS
Net worth$38,370,525
Office website
Campaign website
Ron Wyden (b. May 3, 1949, in Wichita, Kansas) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Oregon. Wyden was first elected to the Senate in 1996.

He most recently won re-election to the Senate in 2010. He defeated Jim Huffman (R), Bruce Cronk (Working Families), Marc Delphine (Libertarian) and Rick Staggenborg (Progressive) in the general election.

His political career began with his election to the U.S. House in 1981. He served in that position until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1996.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Wyden is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Wyden's academic, professional and political career:[1]

  • 1971: Graduated from Stanford University
  • 1974: Graduated from University of Oregon Law School in Eugene
  • 1977-1979: Worked as director, Oregon Legal Services for the Elderly
  • 1977-1979: Served as a public member, Oregon State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators
  • 1981-1996: U.S. House of Representatives
  • 1997-Present: U.S Senator from Oregon

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Wyden serves on the following Senate committees:[2][3]

In December 2013, it was announced that Wyden, who was expected to take over as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in 2015, would take over sooner, with the appointment of Max Baucus as U.S. Ambassador to China.[4]

Wyden said in a statement, "The Senate Finance Committee has many important responsibilities which include promoting job creation, ensuring competitiveness and stabilizing the nation's fiscal health. I also look forward to continuing my work on preserving the Medicare guarantee and protecting retirement security, updating the nation's tax system with a focus on growth, fairness and efficiency and ensuring that fiscal policy supports keeping jobs here in America."[4]

Wyden assumed the Finance chairmanship in early 2014. In order to do so, he left his previous position as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources panel, which created an opening for Mary Landrieu (D).[4]




Legislative actions

113th Congress


The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1 percent) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session.[6] The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8 percent). For more information pertaining to Wyden's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[7]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Yea3.png Wyden voted for the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[8]

Drones filibuster
See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists have been critical that President Obama did not offer a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[9][10][11]

Wyden was the lone Democratic senator to join Paul in his filibuster. Democrat Dick Durbin also spoke, but only to ask questions and wasn't officially a part of the filibuster. Wyden said the following during the filibuster, "I want it understood that I have great respect for this effort to really ask these kinds of questions. And Senator Paul has certainly been digging into these issues in great detail." He went on to say, "The executive branch should not be allowed to conduct such a serious and far-reaching program by themselves without any scrutiny because that’s not how American democracy works. That’s not what our system is about."[12][13][14]

According to the website Breitbart, there were 30 Republican senators who did not support the filibuster.[15][16]

The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[17]


Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[18] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Wyden voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[19]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png Wyden voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[8]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Yea3.png Wyden voted for the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[8] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. Wyden was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[8]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.


Mexico-U.S. border

Nay3.png Wyden voted against Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[8]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png Wyden voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[8]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Wyden voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[20]



On November 2, 2010, Ron Wyden won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Jim Huffman (R), Bruce Cronk (Working Families), Marc Delphine (Libertarian) and Rick Staggenborg (Progressive) in the general election.[21]

U.S. Senate, Oregon General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngRon Wyden incumbent 57.3% 825,507
     Republican Jim Huffman 39.3% 566,199
     Working Families Bruce Cronk 1.3% 18,940
     Libertarian Marc Delphine 1.1% 16,028
     Progressive Rick Staggenborg 1% 14,466
Total Votes 1,441,140

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Ron Wyden is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Ron Wyden raised a total of $11,989,158 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 19, 2013.[33]

Ron Wyden's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 U.S. Senate Won $6,930,089
2004 U.S. Senate (Oregon) Won $5,059,069
Grand Total Raised $11,989,158


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Wyden’s reports.[34]

Ron Wyden (2016) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[35]April 15, 2013$180,103.88$133,984.32$(61,785.65)$252,302.55
July Quarterly[36]July 15, 2013$252,302.55$330,439.68$(72,768.67)$509,975.58
Running totals


Breakdown of the source of Wyden's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Wyden won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Wyden's campaign committee raised a total of $6,930,089 and spent $8,520,594.[37]

U.S. Senate, Oregon, 2010 - Ron Wyden Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $6,930,089
Total Spent $8,520,594
Total Raised by General Election Opponent $2,375,849
Total Spent by General Election Opponent $2,204,734
Top contributors to Ron Wyden's campaign committee
Nike Inc$42,200
Berkshire Hathaway$30,625
M Financial Group$28,400
Intel Corp$24,850
Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$577,297
Health Professionals$449,540
Securities & Investment$448,239
Real Estate$310,480
Hospitals/Nursing Homes$257,050

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Wyden's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $5,857,046 to $8,731,004. That averages to $7,294,025, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic Senate members in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Wyden ranked as the 20th most wealthy senator in 2012.[38] Between 2004 and 2012, Wyden‘s calculated net worth[39] increased by an average of 38 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[40]

Ron Wyden Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:308%
Average annual growth:38%[41]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[42]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Wyden is a "rank-and-file Democrat" as of June 2013.[43]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[44]

Wyden most often votes with:

Wyden least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Wyden missed 84 of 5,470 roll call votes from February 1996 to April 2013, which is 1.5% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[45]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Wyden paid his congressional staff a total of $2,668,805 in 2011. He ranked 25th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 63rd overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Oregon ranked 21st in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[46]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Wyden ranked 17th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[47]


Wyden ranked 17th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[48]

Voting with party


Wyden voted with the Democratic Party 91.5 percent of the time, which ranked 38th among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[49]


Wyden currently resides in Portland, Oregon. He and his wife, Nancy Bass-Wyden, have three children together. He also has two children from his first marriage.[50]

2013 best year

Wyden was named by The Hill as a member of Congress who had one of the best years in 2013.[51]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Ron + Wyden + Oregon + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Ron Wyden News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links


  1. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Ron Wyden," accessed October 24, 2011
  2. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List" accessed January 22, 2013
  3. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments," accessed March 31, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 USA Today, "Sen. Wyden in line to head powerful Finance Committee," accessed December 30, 2013
  5. Ron Wyden Vote Smart profile
  6. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Project Vote Smart, "Ron Wyden Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  9. CNN "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  10. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  11. ABC News, "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
  12. The Blaze, "Here Are All the GOP Senators That Participated in Rand Paul’s 12+ Hour Filibuster… and the Ones Who Didn’t," March 7, 2013
  13. Los Angeles Times, "Sen. Rand Paul ends marathon filibuster of John Brennan," March 7, 2013
  14. The Huffington Post, "Democrats Absent During Rand Paul Filibuster Of John Brennan Nomination," March 7, 2013
  15. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
  16. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  17. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  18. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  19., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  20. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" accessed January 4, 2013
  21. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  22. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  23. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
  24., "January 30, 1996, Special Election Abstracts of Votes," accessed May 15, 2013
  25. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 8, 1994," accessed March 28, 2013
  26. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1992," accessed March 28, 2013
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 1990," accessed March 28, 2013
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 8, 1988," accessed March 28, 2013
  29. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1986," accessed March 28, 2013
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 1984," accessed March 28, 2013
  31. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 1982," accessed March 28, 2013
  32. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1980," accessed March 28, 2013
  33. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Ron Wyden" April 2013
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Ron Wyden Summary Report," accessed August 5, 2013, 2013
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Ron Wyden April Quarterly," accessed August 5, 2013
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Ron Wyden July Quarterly," accessed August 5, 2013
  37. Open Secrets, "Ron Wyden 2010 Election Cycle," accessed October 24 2011
  38. OpenSecrets, "Wyden, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  39. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  40. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  41. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  42. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  43. GovTrack, "Ron Wyden," accessed June 7, 2013
  44. OpenCongress, "Sen. Ron Wyden," accessed August 22, 2013
  45. GovTrack, "Ron Wyden" accessed April 2013
  46. LegiStorm, "Ron Wyden"
  47. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  48. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  49. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  50. Love, etc.: A baby for Sen. Ron Wyden and Nancy Bass Wyden, Washington Post, December 3, 2012
  51. The Hill, "Best, worst years in Washington," accessed January 13, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Bob Packwood
U.S. Senate - Oregon
Succeeded by