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Schumer Bullish on Media Shield Bill Passing This Year

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer predicted Friday that the Senate will pass sweeping media shield legislation in 2014.  

Schumer said in an interview that it was “very, very likely the Senate will pass a bill this year,” while he was somewhat less confident about action by the GOP-led House. The No. 3 Democratic leader made his forecast at the day long Sources and Secrets Conference sponsored by The New York Times.  

“We have the 60 votes,” Schumer said of the all-important supermajority needed to overcome a filibuster threat. He added that he had discussed the measure with Majority Leader Harry Reid in an effort to secure some precious floor time.
“He seems very sympathetic,” Schumer said of the Nevada Democrat.  

Schumer also noted his efforts with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to move legislation that has bipartisan support with amendments considered in an effort to turn down the partisan temperature in the chamber a few degrees.  

Much of the opposition to the bill comes from lawmakers with national security concerns.  

“Most Republicans are against it,” Schumer said, though he noted that Judiciary Ranking Member Charles E. Grassley of Iowa was among the Republican senators backing the measure in committee. The version that moved through the Judiciary panel represents a compromise with senators on both sides of the aisle, with a somewhat more narrow definition of “journalist”  than Schumer would have preferred.  

Schumer and his cosponsors, along with media industry groups backing the effort, needed to reach a deal with Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California and Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois in order to secure a united front of Judiciary Committee Democrats.

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