Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he’s hoping that this week’s Speaker of the House election will bring “Murray/Ryan II” — alluding to the bipartisan budget deal forged by then House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Ryan, who’s expected to win the gavel Thursday, slammed the back-room dealing on a two-year budget and debt ceiling pact as a process that “stinks.”
Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed that the process was stinky — “this is not the way to run a railroad” — but defended the Obama-approved 144-page deal that increases spending by $80 billion over two years.
Reid, who’s been trolling conservatives wary of Ryan’s candidacy by offering praise for the House Ways and Means chairman, told reporters outside of a closed policy luncheon today that the agreement “is a victory over the loudest, most extreme voices in the Republican Party.”
“Passing it into law will be a victory for common sense and for the middle class and also for how this body works. This is how we should be doing things, Democrats and Republicans working together to come up with something that’s good for the country,” Reid said.
“This is a victory for the country. It — there are no political winners or losers in this, it’s just good for — good for the country.”
Reid added that he hopes Republicans “with the new leadership that they have in the House, or they will have in a day or two, continue to work with Democrats to pass legislation generally, and I would hope this week we can move on and do Murray-Ryan Number 2, and that’s basically what this is.”
Last week, Reid endorsed Ryan.
“He appears to me to be one of the people over there that would be reasonable. I mean look at some of the other people,” Reid said. “…Generally speaking we’ve been able to work with him.”
Asked if calling himself a Paul Ryan fan would help or hurt Ryan’s candidacy, Reid replied, “I just speak the truth. If it helps him fine, if it doesn’t that’s too bad.”
Murray also spoke with Reid today, stressing that the budget deal “will once again demonstrate to people across the country that Congress can do its job when Republicans push the Tea Party aside and work with us to get results.”
“The model of what we were able to accomplish was you, Patty, so we appreciate what you did two years ago,” Reid praised his Washington state colleague. “It was impossible, and you were such a tremendous help in setting the tone for how we got this done.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) admitted the deal, which he praised for “no addition to the deficit, a plus-up of defense, no tax increases, and some entitlement changes,” got “not much sympathy” in the GOP conference “for raising the debt ceiling without achieving anything on the principle driver of the debt, which is over on the entitlement side of what we spend each year.”
“We’ll take it up and begin to go forward,” McConnell said. “And how many procedural hurdles we have to jump through will depend on our colleagues, as is always the case here in the Senate.”