Oregon Senator Ron Wyden seems to be making an awful lot of new friends these days, says his wife Nancy. Maybe, the Oregonian reports, it’s because he’s almost certain to become the chair of the Senate’s powerful Finance Committee this week. The Senate confirmed current chair Max Baucus of Montana as U.S. Ambassador to China on Thursday.

Wyden says his bipartisan tax reform record gives him hope he can persuade Republicans to work with him on extending 55 recently expired tax breaks, including some directly affecting Oregon alternative energy projects.

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