Patty in the News

Patty Murray and Paul Ryan’s teamwork is a model for Congress

Dec 15 2014

The bipartisan Murray-Ryan proposal is a collaborative template for a dysfunctional Congress.

OUT of what is likely the least productive and most dysfunctional Congress in American history, a sliver of good governance has sometimes escaped.

One such ray comes in the bipartisan proposal put forth by respective budget chairs Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Their Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act would create a 15-member commission to study the effectiveness of federal programs and tax expenditures via data analysis. It would also explore how to best protect the privacy rights and confidentiality of people interacting with federal agencies.

Debate on the proposal, let alone passage, can’t come until the new GOP-controlled Congress is seated early next year. But Murray, who will then be in the Senate minority, and Ryan, who is expected to retain his powerful House perch, both intend to reintroduce the measure then and push for ratification.

Members in both chambers, regardless of their party affiliation, should give it serious consideration.

At the very least, their data-driven policymaking proposal could increase effectiveness and streamline program adjustments.

At best, it would serve as an example of the cooperation and compromise needed to combat Congress’ habitual partisan discord.

The effort is the result of a blossoming collegiality forged two years ago when the duo collaborated to craft a federal budget agreement. And they kept their bipartisan fires burning through a series of encouraging text messages, according to a Murray aide.

So when Ryan’s staff first proposed they work together on the commission, Murray’s staff responded by suggesting the initiative also look at spending in the tax code.

Beyond proposing a bill worth pursuing, Murray and Ryan’s continued collaborations set an example for the rest of Congress. And, theirs is a template worth emulating.

As Democrats blame the GOP for congressional ineffectiveness, and Republicans demagogue President Obama for exerting undue executive control, Mur