By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said today the “silver lining” of the two-week partial federal government shutdown is political tantrums don’t work and negotiations do.
Speaking before the Senate voted on a bipartisan agreement to reopen government, she criticized the “large handful” of House Republicans for refusing to compromise and pushing the country to the brink of default.
“When you throw a tantrum on the floor acting like a 2-year-old you don’t get the candy bar that you threw the tantrum for in the first place,” said Murray, a mother and former preschool teacher.
Today’s agreement funds the federal government through Jan. 15 and permits the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7.
Meanwhile, it will be up to Murray, the chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., her House counterpart, to negotiate a deal to cover federal spending through the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept. 30, 2014.
Murray spoke with Ryan this afternoon to start the process for meetings of a budget conference committee of senators and representatives. The committee has been given until Dec. 13 to complete its work.
“We are going to go into conference and work out our differences in the next two months,” she said confidently.
Another shutdown is not a concern at this point, she said. Rather if there is no agreement then the second round of automatic spending cuts known as the sequester will kick in Jan. 15. Congress set that in motion in 2012.
Murray’s goal is to get rid of the sequester.
“I hope we use the conference committee to find alternative ways to pay down the deficit without the sequester,” she said.