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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted 67-33 to clear a procedural hurdle and move to a final vote to pass the federal budget agreement Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reached with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) last Tuesday. 

Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly last week to pass the budget agreement.  To become law, the agreement still must pass a final, simple majority vote in the Senate tomorrow.  Once passed, it will only require President Obama’s signature to become law.

Before the vote, Senator Murray spoke on the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to support the budget agreement.

Key excerpts from Murray’s speech:

“So when the government was finally reopened and the debt limit crisis averted, people across the country were hoping Democrats and Republicans could finally get in a room, make some compromises, and take a step away from the constant crises. That’s why I was so glad that part of that crisis-ending deal was creating the budget conference that many of us here, on both sides of the aisle, had been trying to start since the Senate and House passed our budgets seven months earlier.”

“Mr. President, the Bipartisan Budget Act puts jobs and economic growth first by rolling back sequestration’s harmful cuts to education, medical research, infrastructure investments, and defense jobs for the next two years. If we didn’t get a deal, we would have faced another continuing resolution that would have locked in the automatic cuts—or worse, a potential government shutdown in just a few short weeks.” 

“Mr. President, this bill isn’t exactly what I would have written on my own, and I’m pretty sure it’s not what Chairman Ryan would have written on his own. It’s a compromise—and that means neither side got everything they wanted, and both sides had to give a bit.”

“This bipartisan bill takes the first steps toward rebuilding our broken budget process.  And hopefully, toward rebuilding our broken Congress. We’ve spent far too long here scrambling to fix artificial crises instead of working together to solve the big problems we all know we need to address.”

“There is so much more we need to do to create jobs, boost the economy, replace the remaining years of sequestration, and tackle our long-term fiscal challenges fairly and responsibly. So I am hopeful this deal can be just the first of many bipartisan deals. That it can help rebuild some trust, bring Democrats and Republicans together, and demonstrate that government can work for the people we represent.”

“When we come back next year, I am ready to get to work with Chairman Ryan or anyone else, from either side of the aisle, who wants to build on this bipartisan foundation to continue addressing our nation’s challenges fairly and responsibly. It won’t be easy—but the American people are expecting nothing less.”

Full text of Murray’s speech:

“Mr. President, for the past few years here in Congress we’ve lurched from one budget crisis to another and from one fiscal cliff to the next.

“When one countdown clock stopped—it wasn’t too long before the next one got started again. 

“The uncertainty was devastating to our fragile economic recovery.  The constant crises cost us billions of dollars in lost growth and jobs. And the continued across-the-board cuts from sequestration were hurting our families and communities, and cutting off critical investments in economic growth and national security programs.

“Mr. President, after the completely unnecessary government shutdown and debt limit crisis two months ago, the American people were more disgusted than ever at the gridlock and dysfunction.

“They were sick of the partisanship—sick of the showboating and saber-rattling.  They were tired of turning on their televisions at night and seeing elected officials saying ‘it’s my way or the highway.’ And they had no more patience for politicians holding the economy and the federal government hostage to extract concessions or score political points.

“So when the government was finally reopened and the debt limit crisis averted, people across the country were hoping Democrats and Republicans could finally get in a room, make some compromises, and take a step away from the constant crises.

“That’s why I was so glad that part of that crisis-ending deal was creating the budget conference that many of us here, on both sides of the aisle, had been trying to start since the Senate and House passed our budgets seven months earlier.

“Mr. President, the budget conference began at a time when distrust between Democrats and Republicans couldn’t have been higher. We had just two months to get a deal to avoid lurching toward another crisis—and most people assumed there was no way the divide could be bridged.

“But Chairman Ryan and I got together, we started talking—and we decided that instead of trying to solve everything at once, the most important thing we could do for the families we represented was to end the uncertainty, and start rebuilding  some trust.

“We weren’t going to spend the next eight weeks sniping at each other from our partisan corners. We weren’t going to use what was said in the room to launch political attacks on the other. And we weren’t going to try to tackle the larger challenges we both knew were critical—but weren’t going to be solved right now.

“So we focused on what was attainable, worked together to find common ground, and looked for ways we could compromise and take some steps toward the other.

“We both thought the least we should be able to do was find a way to replace some of the across-the-board cuts from sequestration, and agree on a spending level for the short-term so we could avoid another crisis.

“I know some of our colleagues wanted to keep the sequester caps—but Democrats and many Republicans believe it makes sense to replace these meat-ax cuts with smarter and more balanced savings.

“Mr. President—we spent seven weeks working on this. I worked closely with House Budget Committee Ranking Member Van Hollen, as well as my colleagues here in the Senate on and off the Budget Committee.

“And I am very proud that late last week, Chairman Ryan and I reached an agreement on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.

“This bill passed the House of Representatives on Thursday on a vote of 332-94, with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans.

“And I come to the floor today to urge my colleagues to support this bill here in the Senate, and send it to the President so it can be signed into law.

“Mr. President, the Bipartisan Budget Act puts jobs and economic growth first by rolling back sequestration’s harmful cuts to education, medical research, infrastructure investments, and defense jobs for the next two years.

“If we didn’t get a deal, we would have faced another continuing resolution that would have locked in the automatic cuts—or worse, a potential government shutdown in just a few short weeks. 

“Over the past year I’ve heard from so many people across my home state of Washington who have told me how sequestration has hurt their families, businesses, and communities. From the parents of children whose Head Start programs were shut down or cutting slots, to the seniors wondering if their Meals on Wheels would continue, the scientist and doctors whose investments in cutting-edge research and medical cures were cut off or threatened, the construction workers who lost their jobs when projects were put on hold, the small business owners whose revenues were declining due to the cuts and uncertainty, and so many more.

“For them, the cuts from sequestration were senseless, they were real, they were hurting, and they were only going to get worse.

“So I am very proud that our bill replaces almost two-thirds of this year’s sequester cuts to domestic discretionary investments. This won’t solve every problem sequestration has caused, but it is a step in the right direction, and a dramatic improvement over the status quo.

“Mr. President, over the past year I’ve also talked to workers at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Fairchild Air Force Base, and elsewhere who had been impacted by sequestration, and who were very worried about how another round of cuts would affect their jobs and families.

“I’d heard from military leaders who told me sequestration would impact our national security if it continued. And from companies that do business with the Defense Department that the uncertainty and cuts were hurting their ability to hire workers and invest in future growth.

“So I am very glad this bill would prevent the upcoming round of defense sequestration and provide some certainty to the Pentagon for the upcoming years.

“Secretary of Defense Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey have both expressed support for this bill—as have a number of my colleagues here in Congress who have spent the last few years highlighting the impact of continued sequestration on our national security and defense workers.

“Mr. President, the increased investments we get from rolling back sequestration over the next  two years are fully replaced with a smarter, balanced mix of new revenue and more responsible spending cuts.

“Experts and economists have said the responsible thing to do is increase investments now, while our economic recovery remains fragile and workers are still fighting to get back on the job, while tackling our deficit and debt over the long-run.

“And this bill moves us in the direction of exactly that.

“We’ve cut our deficit in half over the past few years, and this bill adds to the $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction done since 2011, with an additional $23 billion in savings over the next ten years.

“Mr. President, this bill isn’t exactly what I would have written on my own, and I’m pretty sure it’s not what Chairman Ryan would have written on his own.

“It’s a compromise—and that means neither side got everything they wanted, and both sides had to give a bit.

“For example, I was very disappointed we weren’t able to close even a single wasteful tax loophole that benefits the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations.

“I had also hoped that we could extend critical support for workers fighting to get back on the job, and I was very disappointed that Republicans refused to allow that to be a part of this deal.

“While I certainly would have liked to replace more of sequestration, I know it was difficult for many Republicans to accept any increases in the BCA caps at all.

“And I also know many Republicans had hoped this would be an opportunity to make the kind of Medicare and Social Security benefit cuts they’ve advocated for in the past, but I fought hard to keep them out.

“Mr. President, this deal is a compromise, and it doesn’t tackle every one of the challenges we face as a nation But that was never our goal.

“This bipartisan bill takes the first steps toward rebuilding our broken budget process.  And hopefully, toward rebuilding our broken Congress.

“We’ve spent far too long here scrambling to fix artificial crises instead of working together to solve the big problems we all know we need to address.

“We have budget deficits that have improved but haven’t disappeared—and we have deficits in education, innovation, and infrastructure that continue to widen.

“There is so much more we need to do to create jobs, boost the economy, replace the remaining years of sequestration, and tackle our long-term fiscal challenges fairly and responsibly.

“So I am hopeful this deal can be just the first of many bipartisan deals.

“That it can help rebuild some trust, bring Democrats and Republicans together, and demonstrate that government can work for the people we represent.

“Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to support the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.

“I want to thank Chairman Ryan for his work on this with me over the past two months.

“As well as Ranking Member Van Hollen, and every member of the Budget Committee here in the Senate who worked so hard to pass a budget, start a conference, and get a bipartisan deal.

“When we come back next year, I am ready to get to work with Chairman Ryan or anyone else, from either side of the aisle, who wants to build on this bipartisan foundation to continue addressing our nation’s challenges fairly and responsibly.

“It won’t be easy—but the American people are expecting nothing less.

“Thank you, Mr. President—I yield the floor.”