How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight

How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight

By: Manu Raju
December 13, 2013 05:03 AM EST

Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray talks with POLITICO about negotiating a budget plan on Dec. 11. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

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.

The veteran Washington Democrat, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, had quietly and methodically built a close relationship with a man long vilified by the White House and congressional Democrats: Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and Mitt Romney’s running mate. But after private negotiations with each other, starting in the Senate dining room exactly a year ago and culminating after Murray’s tense talks with furious House Democrats, the two were able to do what seemed impossible in a gridlocked Congress: Reach a bipartisan budget accord.

(Also on POLITICO: GOP and conservative groups: The breakup begins) Continue reading “How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight”

How Congress’s odd couple reached a remarkable budget deal

How Congress’s odd couple reached a remarkable budget deal

Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray are, in many ways, opposites. But their budget deal shows the parameters of bipartisanship today: Think narrow, be pragmatic, and talk … a lot.

By , Staff writer / December 11, 2013

This file photo shows House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D) of Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington. The two struck a bipartisan budget deal Tuesday.

Scott Applewhite/AP/File

Washington

Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin and Sen. Patty Murray (D) of Washington could hardly be more unlike.

Representative Ryan is the conservative wunderkind who could have been the vice president of the United States by now. Senator Murray is the former preschool teacher who works quietly behind the scenes and once basically ran the Senate Appropriations Committee for Robert Byrd, the powerful Democrat from West Virginia, when he was ill.

Ryan is Captain Cutback – the man whose vision for reforming Medicare and Social Security make Murray shudder right down to the soles of her sensible shoes. In fact, Murray reportedly advised her close ally, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, not to accept a compromise with Republicans during the October government shutdown, worried that the deal would involve too much of a hit to safety-net programs. Continue reading “How Congress’s odd couple reached a remarkable budget deal”

Here’s what’s in Paul Ryan and Patty Murray’s mini-budget deal

Here’s what’s in Paul Ryan and Patty Murray’s mini-budget deal

Posted by Ezra Klein on December 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

1. The total deal is $85 billion. About $45 billion of that replaces sequestration cuts in 2014. About $20 billion replaces sequestration cuts in 2015. About $20 billion is deficit reduction atop sequestration.

2. The sequestration relief is evenly divided between defense spending and non-defense discretionary spending. The sequester’s cuts to mandatory spending are unaffected.

UPDATE 4-U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation

Reuters

UPDATE 4-U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation

Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:30am IST

* Democrat Murray, Republican Ryan announce two-year accord

* Approval could quell government shutdown threats

By Richard Cowan and David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) – A bipartisan budget deal announced in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, though modest in its spending cuts, would end three years of impasse and fiscal instability in Washington that culminated in October with a partial government shutdown.

While praised by the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the agreement faces a challenge from some House conservatives and will require support of the minority Democrats to pass.

The backing of President Barack Obama, who also hailed the agreement as “a good first step,” should help round up votes of his fellow Democrats. He urged Congress to quickly pass it.

Obama and most congressional leaders long ago abandoned talk of larger but increasingly elusive “grand bargains” that would significantly slash the nation’s deficit. Continue reading “UPDATE 4-U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation”

‘Something For Everyone To Dislike’ In Budget Deal

by Mark Memmott

December 11, 2013 7:00 AM
 Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.  T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The reviews are coming in for crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and , the package seems to have “something for everyone to dislike.”

“It won’t cut federal spending or shrink the national debt, so conservative Republicans don’t like it,” the Times says, and “it won’t restore much money for domestic programs or extend unemployment insurance, so Democrats don’t like it either. Its main virtue is that it will spare members of Congress from worrying about a government shutdown during their long Christmas break.”

Basically, adds the Washington Post, “the deal denies both Republicans and Democrats what they want most. Republicans didn’t get any changes to Medicare and Social Security — much less any structural ones. Democrats didn’t get any new taxes.”

On Morning Edition, NPR’s Tamara Keith summed up the agreement this way:

“The deal … would set the federal budget at just about $1 trillion this year and next. It would replace a big chunk of the sequester cuts with other trims and increased fees. And that’s pretty much it.”

In other words, Tamara said, Murray and Ryan went “small” instead of going for a “grand bargain.”

Of course, if one side had come out of the Ryan-Murray negotiations claiming victory, that might have doomed the plan’s chances for passage by both the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate. On the question of whether the agreement will be OK’d by both chambers, the National Journal writes that “Ryan may face the most immediate challenge, meeting behind closed doors Wednesday morning to explain the agreement to skeptical House conservatives.”

It adds, though, that:

“Ryan, whom conservatives describe as the most highly respected member of the House GOP when it comes to fiscal matters, seems up to the task of selling the deal. He repeatedly framed the agreement as ‘conservative’ on Tuesday, emphasizing at the outset: ‘It reduces the deficit without raising taxes.’ …

“At one point, Ryan seemed to speak directly to his House GOP colleagues, perhaps previewing the pitch he’ll make to them at Wednesday morning’s conference meeting.

” ‘As a conservative, I think this is a step in the right direction,’ Ryan said. ‘What am I getting out of this? I’m getting more deficit reduction. The deficit will go down more by passing this than if we did nothing. That’s point No. 1. Point No. 2 is, there are no tax increases here. Point No. 3: We’re finally starting to deal with autopilot spending, that mandatory spending that has not been addressed by Congress for years.’ ”

How is the deal playing in other news outlets? Here’s a sampling of headlines:

— “Conservative groups sound alarm over tentative budget deal.” (Fox News)

— “Conservatives balk at budget deal.” (Politico)

— “A Least Bad Budget Deal.” (Wall Street Journal editorial)

— “U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation.” (Reuters)

— “U.S. budget deal: What does it ad up to?” (The Financial Times)

Update at 8:30 a.m. ET. It’s Called Compromise, Murray Says:

She and Ryan agreed “it was important for us to put together certainty for this country [so] we worked hard to get a two-year deal,” Murray told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep this hour..

“Neither one of us got everything we wanted and we were able to keep the other person from getting some of the big things they wanted,” Murray added, “and that’s called compromise.”