Washington’s senior senator delivered an upbeat take Wednesday on the state of bipartisan relations in the “other” Washington when she addressed more than 500 celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“I am willing to work with anyone from any party,” said Sen. Patty Murray, who gave the keynote address at the chamber’s gala luncheon at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
The Democrat cited her partnership with Republican Paul Ryan, now Speaker of the House, to develop a two-year budget agreement to end the cycle of budget showdowns that led to an actual shutdown in 2013. Even after his elevation to Speaker, Ryan remains a personal friend , she said, and the two routinely exchange text messages, usually but not always, about rival football teams.
Murray said the budget agreement “thawed the ice” between Republicans and Democrats, resulting in a workforce training bill and a new education policy, both signed into law.
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There’s more to do, she said, touching briefly on the economy, immigration, trade policy, tax code issues, improving services for veterans, and the rising cost of college.
Earlier in the day, Murray visited Columbia Basin College to discuss legislation to make college affordable. For all the talk of bipartisanship, the bill has no Republic sponsors yet.
I am going to do everything I can to get that ($190 million cut to Hanford Richland Operations Office projects) fixed.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray
Murray said she was outraged to learn the proposed budget for the next federal fiscal year includes a $190 million cut to Hanford Richland Operations Office projects.
“I am going to do everything I can to get that fixed,” she said.
She will be fighting a push by conservative Republicans for substantial cuts to nondefense spending in a budget agreement already reached for fiscal 2017, saying that would make getting Hanford budgets to appropriate levels impossible.
Addressing the $190 million cut in the administration’s proposal will be difficult enough if the budget deal remains intact, she said.
She does not plan to let the extended deadlines announced in the recently revised deadlines in the Hanford consent decree impact her work on the budget, she said. The deadline for full operation of the Hanford vitrification plant has been extended from 2022 to 2036.