budget deal

Murray Builds on Her Pragmatic Reputation

Senator Patty Murray of Washington added another feather to her political cap by negotiating a budget deal with House Republicans that should prevent more fiscal cliffs in the next two years.

Murray and her House counterpart, Rep. Paul Ryan, unveiled the agreement this week. The House is scheduled to vote on it as early as today.

“We cheer for a different football team, clearly. We catch different fish. We have some differences on policy, but we agree our country needs some certainty," said Murray.

While the deal doesn't live up to expectations of a grand bargain, it has a bipartisan stamp and replaces some of the worst effects of budget sequestration with what Murray termed "smart cuts." The package also contains added revenue.

Tea Party conservatives are upset the deal increases spending by $63 billion, while Democrats are mad because the package doesn't extend unemployment benefits for people suffering long-term joblessness.

But both sides could take solace that the plan didn't touch sensitive political nerves – entitlement reform for Democrats, corporate tax loopholes for Republicans. And that, according to Murray and Ryan, was by design.