For over a decade now, Senator Ron Wyden has been railing against one of the most undemocratic features of the way business is done in the United States Senate.
Y'all know about the filibuster - and worse, the threatened filibuster that's as good as a filibuster. But what you may not know is that a bill or a nomination can be stopped in its tracks by a single Senator, acting anonymously.
The "secret hold" is one of the most bizarre and frustrating aspects of life in the Senate. Imagine, for a moment, that you've worked on a bill for years, developing the policy, finding supporters, working through the committees. And when it comes time to bring it to a vote, you're informed by your party's leader that - sorry - but another Senator has put a "secret hold" on your bill. You can't get a vote, and you can't even find out who to go talk to about it.
Senator Wyden has been working to end secret holds - partnered with Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and supported by a wide bipartisan coalition of Senators (many of them new to the Senate.) Thursday looked to be the day when he'd finally get a vote to end secret holds.
But at the last minute, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) - the "Waterloo" guy - introduced an amendment to Wyden's secret-hold rule. A thoughtful addition to Wyden's proposal? Of course not. It was a controversial item on border security. Designed entirely to derail Wyden's bid to end secret holds.
Wyden wasn't happy - and vowed to "come back again to my post again and again and again" to change the way the Senate does business. Watch the video: