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Democratic Senator Applauds Filibuster, Will Vote Against Brennan's Nomination

Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) will vote against Obama's pick for the top CIA spot. But the advocate of the old-fashioned filibuster didn't join in Wednesday because Obama deserves "timely up-or-down votes," his press secretary says.

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Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley will vote against the nomination of John Brennan for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and applauds Rand Paul's filibuster, a spokesperson in his office told BuzzFeed Thursday afternoon.

Merkley, a longtime advocate for filibuster reform, did not participate in Republican Senator Rand Paul's thirteen-hour stand against Brennan's nomination, because "as a general principle he believes that the president's nominations deserve timely up-or-down votes except under extraordinary circumstances," said Martina McLennan, the Senator's press secretary.

But she added, because of the concerns expressed by Paul over civil liberties and the administration's drone program, Merkley will vote against President Barack Obama's pick for the top CIA spot.

"Senator Merkley has had concerns about the Brennan nomination, including some of the issues that Senator Paul has raised, and for that reason he will vote no in the final vote," McLennan said.

"Senator Merkley applauds Senator Paul for taking to the floor to state his views before his colleagues and the American people, as opposed to waging a silent filibuster," she said. "If Senators are going to block the work of the Senate, they should have the courage of their convictions to stand on the Senate floor and explain why."

Ron Wyden, Oregon's other Senator and a fellow Democrat, was the only member of his party to join Sen. Paul's filibuster Wednesday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, in a 12-3 vote Tuesday, sent Brennan's nomination to the full Senate for confirmation. The vote is set to take place Thursday afternoon, and is expected to pass.

Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Ruby Cramer at

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