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Spotlight on Patty Murray, y’all

December 17th, 2013 by Steven Gardner

ED NOTE: There is at least one element of the budget Congress is about to pass that is causing significant heartburn locally. Inflation guarantees for military retirees younger than 62 were reduced. Tom Philpott, whose column appears in the Kitsap Sun, addressed the issue this week.

Spotlight on Patty Murray, y’all
(Yeah, Yeah)
The press is all aghast
(Yeah, yeah)
She got a budget passed
(Yeah, yeah)
Oh yeah! Oh oh yeah.

— Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music”, as written by a reporter who happens to be wearing tennis shoes at the moment.

There would probably be no better time for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to run for another term in the Senate. Washington’s Democratic “Mom in Tennis Shoes” is being heralded at Christmastime as the Senator who saved the holiday for many. To do it she worked with the House Republican who would have preferred to be Vice President about now. Together they crafted a budget deal, something we’ve seen scant few of in recent years.

That deal has something for everyone to dislike, for sure, but the bar is really low right now for the things we celebrate out of Congress. Murray worked as the Senate rep with House Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The deal was timed so well politically Speaker of the House John Boehner felt the moxie to knock the heads of a subgroup of Tea Party conservatives within in his own party, something lots of folks noticed.

Murray and Ryan got to a deal by working their own rooms, by keeping their negotiations out of the press spotlight, and by keeping the White House more or less out of the process. Murray had to get support from House Democrats, which was not easy particularly because of the cuts to federal retirement benefits, including for military retirees. She told them that Ryan wanted much bigger cuts, and for many of them that was at least enough to get support.

Kitsap’s congressman, Democrat Derek Kilmer, had long said Congress needed to at least get a budget done, and that was the tone he took in his comment following his vote.

“While there are parts of this budget I don’t like, I have spent the last year calling on my colleagues to set aside their partisan differences and pass a budget. I’m encouraged that Democrats and Republicans have found a way to work together, help avert a government shutdown, and halt most of the damaging across-the-board cuts that have hurt our region. Congress must now continue to work together on a plan that deals with our long-term fiscal health and grows our economy so we can get folks back to work.”

Murray’s effort has generated tons of media attention.

From CNN: Patty Murray emerges as bipartisan figure after budget deal

“Murray, a Democrat from Washington state serving her fourth term, is considered a steady hand in the Senate who shuns grandstanding and garners respect from both sides of the aisle.
“She is a liberal, but can be pragmatic and has some conservative thoughts on budget issues.”

From Politico: How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight

“President Barack Obama was on the phone repeatedly with Sen. Patty Murray during the high-stakes budget talks and asked how he could help.
“Murray’s response: I got this.”

From U.S. News & World Report:The Real Value of the Budget Deal

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a conservative Republican and his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray of Washington, a liberal Democrat, should be praised for breaking an impasse that has stymied the most basic function of a government over the last many years – adopting a budget. Even if the agreement falls short of addressing the fundamental federal budgetary challenges that confront the country’s future, and it does, it nonetheless demonstrates that two very different political philosophies can still find common cause in a polarized country and a divided Congress.”

There are naysayers about the budget bill.

From Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post: Undeserved applause for Ryan-Murray budget deal

“There’s something troubling, even farcical, about lawmakers applauding their own mediocrity, handing themselves medals of participation for showing up to work on time.”

Murray herself acknowledges the deal isn’t perfect in a column on Huffington Post, but urges the Senate to pass it so government stops “lurching from crisis to crisis,” such as another potential government shutdown. The Senate voted to end debate on Tuesday, meaning the budget bill is ready for a vote in the chamber. It only needs to a one-vote margin for approval. With 67 senators voting to end debate, bill passage seems likely.

It’s enough to make people watching politics to shine a spotlight, and to sing. I’ll spare you that and leave the singing to the experts.

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3 Responses to “Spotlight on Patty Murray, y’all”

  1. Exit43 Says:

    Are you kidding me? Are you a paid member of her staff? This bill isn’t even a little good to take care of the big problems. Both Murray and Ryan are their parties polar opposites and should have stepped away from this or any budget, remember, they failed us on the super committee. After that waste of time and money, those 12 should have stepped down due to their overall uselessness to the American public! If the voters of Washington send her back, again, YOU, who sheepishly voted for her, should resign your voter registration. Every member of the DC elitist (both sides leaders, whips and committee chairs) should NOT be reelected!

  2. Denis Says:

    Ryan is a right-wing Conservative. Or was. Funny thing about the hard right “Conservatives”; they are in no way “conservative”. They are closer to Radicals, refusing to even thing or listen to others.

    Ryan saw a possible chance for some credit, and took it.

    Murray is a Liberal. Still is. Funny thing about liberals, they will listen to, talk to both sides. Fiscally, they (we) are far more conservative than the so-called “Conservatives”, who love starting wars, spending money we don’t have, and calling it necessary.

    Does anybody remember when the budget was last in balance? Does anybody remember who blew that balance, gave billions away, and started two wars that could not be won?

    What if, just what if, there were no National Debt, that it were paid, and we actually had the surplus that was projected at the beginning of #43′s term? And had not started the wars, and not spent the money we did not have?

    I don’t like the new budget deal, but it is better than none at all. Murray and Ryan made a start- perhaps those in Congress who are responsible adults will pay attention.

  3. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Not too sure why we are making such a big deal of this either way . Seems like it really does little to the present problem with the deficits . It does seem to stop the two government shut downs next year from the debt ceiling debates which is a good thing . Also from a political bias I am glad the focus will remain on Obama Care . So far we have had more people loose health coverage then gain it , we not yet seen the employer mandates and the negative effect on business and people . We now have 20 to 30 year olds regretting their past support for the current President who are paying more for insurance and first hand see the intrusive form of government that collectivism requires of us . Elections still mean things , having the Senate and the Executive Branch means compromise .

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