News Releases

Murray to Senate Republicans: Return to Regular Order; End the Constant Lurching From Crisis to Crisis

May 09 2013

Senate Democrats try to move to conference with the House for fifth time, blocked by Minority Leader McConnell

Murray on debt ceiling hostage-taking: “The so-called Boehner rule died, and no amount of wishing from the Tea Party is going to bring it back”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered a speech on the Senate floor calling on Senate Republicans again to stop blocking the Senate from moving to a budget conference with the House.  Murray urged Republicans to end the constant lurching from crisis to crisis and instead, choose a responsible path to a deal by moving to a formal, public conference under regular order.

Watch Murray’s speech

Key excerpts from Murray’s floor speech:

“I think a lot of people, myself included, expected that after calling for regular order so consistently, Republicans would be eager to take the next step in the process.”

“House Republicans have announced a conference—but it’s not a conference about getting a budget deal.  It’s a conference to decide what they’ll demand in exchange for not tanking the economy….This is absurd, and it’s not going to happen.  We know because we went through the same thing last time we approached the debt limit.”

“Just a few months ago, Republicans realized how dangerous it would be to play games with the debt limit, and how politically damaging it would be to play politics with potential economic calamity, and they dropped their demands.  The so-called Boehner rule died, and no amount of wishing from the Tea Party is going to bring it back.”

“…the Republican strategy of holding the economy hostage and trying to push us to another crisis is absolutely the wrong approach. Because, while getting a deal certainly won’t be easy, we need to end the constant lurching from crisis to crisis that has defined this issue for far too long. And there is no reason to wait.”

“Democrats are ready to take the steps to make this work but we need a negotiating partner on the other side of the table…. I really believe many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle want to return to regular order and move away from the constant crises. I think that’s what the American people want as well. And I urge those who are blocking us to reverse course and choose a responsible path to a deal.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:

“Madam President, it has now been 47 days since the Senate passed our budget.  Senate Democrats have requested unanimous consent to move to conference five times. We want to take this next step in the process….to move forward under regular order….and to continue this debate in an open and public way.

“But every time we’ve tried, Senate Republicans stood up and said no.

“Madam President, I think this truly comes as a surprise to many people across the country. I think they are disappointed. I think a lot of people, myself included, expected that after calling for regular order so consistently, Republicans would be eager to take the next step in the process.

“Some Republicans say they want to negotiate a “framework” behind closed doors before going to conference, but that is what a budget really is, a framework that lays out our values and priorities, and helps us plan for our country’s future.

“So why can’t we discuss that framework in a formal, public conference?

“Madam President, I am sure Republicans aren’t excited about the prospect of defending their extreme budget all over again in a conference committee. We’ve seen time and time again that Americans aren’t interested in more tax breaks for the wealthiest or Medicare vouchers. But Republicans wrote that budget, they voted for it, they passed it, and they should be happy to defend it.

“I know Senate Democrats are happy to stand up and talk about ours.

“Madam President, the American people deserve to see the two visions for our nation’s future side by side, and contrasted with each other. They deserve to see who is willing to compromise, or who isn’t.

“We’ve heard that House Republican leadership is concerned that as a result of going to conference, the House might have to take a lot of difficult votes.

“Well, I’m sure my colleagues in the House remember the vote-a-rama before we passed the Senate Budget in March, when we were here until 5AM trying to make sure that as many Senators’ voices were heard as possible. We considered more than a hundred amendments from both sides of the aisle. But holding a thorough, open debate was the right thing to do. And I don’t think the American people are going to be very sympathetic to the argument that Republicans don’t want to go to conference because they are afraid of taking a few tough votes.

“Madam President, it is deeply disappointing to me that Republicans are running away from regular order, and right towards another crisis. And that they’re willing to take American families and our economy along for the ride.

“House Republicans have announced a conference—but it’s not a conference about getting a budget deal.  It’s a conference to decide what they’ll demand in exchange for not tanking the economy.

“Madam President, this is absurd, and it’s not going to happen.  We know because we went through the same thing last time we approached the debt limit.

“Just a few months ago, Republicans realized how dangerous it would be to play games with the debt limit, and how politically damaging it would be to play politics with potential economic calamity, and they dropped their demands.  The so-called Boehner rule died, and no amount of wishing from the Tea Party is going to bring it back.

“Madam President, the Republican strategy of holding the economy hostage and trying to push us to another crisis is absolutely the wrong approach. Because, while getting a deal certainly won’t be easy, we need to end the constant lurching from crisis to crisis that has defined this issue for far too long. And there is no reason to wait.

“Democrats are ready to take the steps to make this work but we need a negotiating partner on the other side of the table. I know there are those who think compromise is a dirty word, and that those voices are often louder than others. But I really believe many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle want to return to regular order and move away from the constant crises. I think that’s what the American people want as well. And I urge those who are blocking us to reverse course and choose a responsible path to a deal.

“Thank you.  I yield the floor.”