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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to urge her Republican colleagues to support the compromise legislation that Democrats have put forward to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling. With just days to go until the debt ceiling is reached, Murray discussed the need to act quickly, and she told her colleagues the stories of Washington state constituents from Tacoma, Republic, and Bellingham who have written to her calling on Congress to come together to solve this problem.

Key excerpts from Murray’s speech today:

“There is no partisan solution. No other path. No magic trick that we can pull at the 11th hour. There is just compromise.  After all the bluster, all the back and forth, and all the posturing—there is just the bill we have before us today. It’s a bill that doesn’t have everything all of us want. It’s not the bill that any one of us would have crafted if we had our way.  But it’s a bill that can and should be passed to avoid an economic catastrophe that would leave families in every single one of our states reeling.”

“We have come to the negotiating table and have put forward a plan that goes to great pains to meet every one of the criteria they have called for. They said that they wanted cuts that exceed the debt limit raise. This bill delivers that.  They said they wanted no new tax revenues. This bill delivers that.  They said they wanted to put in place a process to make even more cuts later. This bill delivers that.  And they have said they too want to avoid default. This bill is our way out.”

“…this isn’t about politics, it’s about these people—and millions more who may not even realize their well-being is on the line too. It’s about the average American family whose credit card interest rate would skyrocket.  It’s about homeowners whose mortgage payments will increase by over $1,000 a year.  It’s about rising food, utility, and gas prices and what that would mean for already cash-strapped families.  And it’s about retirement plans that would plummet. These Americans are looking for real leadership.  And a real solution to this problem. What they don’t want is more games, gimmicks, or short-term patches.”

“Democrats have compromised—compromised again—and then again. And this bill is the fruit of those compromises.  It’s also the last and best hope of preventing us from defaulting on the full faith and credit of our nation for the first time in history.  There is no other choice.  The markets are waiting and watching. Credit rating agencies are waiting and watching.  Countries around the world are waiting and watching.  And most importantly, the American people are waiting and watching.”

The full text of the speech follows:

“Mr. President, If there’s one thing in this long, difficult debate that there is no question about. One thing that all of us have long known. One simple truth that we must get past if we are going to avoid default. It’s that any bill to get us out of this crisis will need Democratic and Republican votes.

“There is no partisan solution. No other path. No magic trick that we can pull at the 11th hour. There is just compromise.  After all the bluster, all the back and forth, and all the posturing—there is just the bill we have before us today.

“It’s a bill that doesn’t have everything all of us want. It’s not the bill that any one of us would have crafted if we had our way.  But it’s a bill that can and should be passed to avoid an economic catastrophe that would leave families in every single one of our states reeling.

“Now, Mr. President, I understand that compromise has been hard to come by in these negotiations – no matter how hard we try. But with Senator Reid’s bill we have taken the Republicans at their word.

“We have come to the negotiating table and have put forward a plan that goes to great pains to meet every one of the criteria they have called for.

“They said that they wanted cuts that exceed the debt limit raise. This bill delivers that.  They said they wanted no new tax revenues. This bill delivers that.  They said they wanted to put in place a process to make even more cuts later. This bill delivers that.  And they have said they too want to avoid default. This bill is our way out.

“Mr. President, I know my Republican colleagues don’t want to see us default.  I know that while we don’t see eye to eye on all issues - we all fight for the people of our states.  And I also know that my Republican friends are hearing the same things from families in their home states that I’m hearing from mine. 

“I know that their offices have also been flooded with calls and emails from families trying to “figure out what they’d do if the support they depend on to stay in their homes, or put food on their tables—suddenly got cut off.

“I know that they’re hearing from the same seniors, and veterans, and college students.   With the same message: Put American families first, get it done, and compromise.

“Mr. President, one such letter recently came into my office from Anne Phillips from Tacoma, Washington who after 18 years working was laid off during the recession.  Anne told me about how she felt she was doing the responsible thing by getting up - dusting herself off - and going back to college.  But now she said she is worried sick because of the fact that the interest rates on her student loans – which she relies on to pay for school - would shoot up if we defaulted.

“In her letter Anne made clear who the real victims of default would be. She said ‘Ultimately people like me, my husband, my family, and all the people I know, who are doing their best everyday to make a contribution to society will pay the expense.’

“I also heard from Brenda Starkey and her husband, retired Navy veterans from Republic, Washington.   They told me that if we don’t meet this challenge they may not be able to afford Medicare payments or VA medical co-payments – not to mention basic necessities like food, electricity and water.

“Brenda wrote, ‘I was taught in school about Henry Clay and his great compromise.  I still believe this is the way our government is supposed to work - with both sides giving some ground until a common position is met. We deserve more from our government.’

“I also heard from Social Security recipients like Alisa Terry from Bellingham, Washington who told me how important that monthly check is to her and just what it would mean if it didn’t go out next month. She said simply ‘Social Security is my lifeline. It stands between me and homelessness.’

“Mr. President, this isn’t about politics – it’s about these people - and millions more who may not even realize their well-being is on the line too.“

“It’s about the average American family whose credit card interest rate would skyrocket.  It’s about homeowners whose mortgage payments will increase by over $1,000 a year.  It’s about rising food, utility, and gas prices and what that would mean for already cash-strapped families.  And it’s about retirement plans that would plummet.

“These Americans are looking for real leadership.  And a real solution to this problem.

“What they don’t want is more games, gimmicks, or short-term patches.

“Mr. President, for anyone who believes a short-term extension is a good idea - I just want everyone to envision just what that would mean.

“Imagine we are back - right here – on the brink once again – in 5 or 6 months.  Only now we are 5 or 6 months closer to an election and the battle lines are being drawn even deeper. We are also smack in the middle of one of the most important economic times of the whole year for retailers and consumers – the holiday season.

“Just imagine the effect a crisis like this will have then.

“Imagine holiday shoppers worried that their credit card interest rates are going to shoot up - or that next month’s mortgage payment is going to break the bank.  Or retailers reluctant to stock their shelves or hire because they’re worried about a major disruption in the economy.  Or seniors on social security worried their check won’t be mailed and that their heating bill will go unpaid.  Not to mention veterans, college students, and our troops who would once again be put through this spiral of anxiety and insecurity. 

“They don’t want to relive this.  They shouldn’t have to relive this.  Nobody should.  And that’s why we need to come together now.

“Mr. President, as I said before, this bill is not ideal.

“But it gets us to where we need to go to protect families and small businesses across America from market uncertainty and the threat of default. 

“This legislation makes deep and serious cuts to government spending. It protects the Medicare and Social Security benefits we promised to our seniors.  It puts our country on a more sustainable fiscal track. And it allows us to continue working to reduce the debt and deficit without the threat of economic calamity hanging over our heads.

“Mr. President, Democrats have compromised—compromised again—and then again. And this bill is the fruit of those compromises.  It’s also the last and best hope of preventing us from defaulting on the full faith and credit of our nation for the first time in history.  There is no other choice.

“The markets are waiting and watching. Credit rating agencies are waiting and watching.  Countries around the world are waiting and watching.  And most importantly, the American people are waiting and watching.

“We must pass this bill.”