In selecting Patty Murray as one of the Democrats for the Super Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid picked someone he can count on.
Murray, a fourth-term senator from Washington, is a passionate advocate for veterans, seniors and working families, so she’s almost certain to try to limit or block cuts to Medicare or Social Security.
But she is also loyal to Reid and her party. In supporting the debt-ceiling compromise, Murray framed her support as protecting ordinary working people back in Washington.
On the floor of the Senate, she read a letter from a distressed Bellingham, Wash., constituent who said, “Social Security is my lifeline. It stands between me and homelessness.”
Murray said that though the compromise wasn’t perfect, it kept people like her constituent from suffering.
While her task now will be to find major spending cuts, Murray has a reputation as a big spender who excels at bringing federal dollars back home. And while she clings to her image as a mom in tennis shoes, Murray has also been a relentless advocate for powerful corporate interests, especially Microsoft and Boeing.
Murray has risen through the ranks of Senate Democrats by being dutiful. She took on the challenging task this year of being the party’s chief fundraiser as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That puts her in the role of asking for money from political interests who have a huge stake in any deficit reduction plan.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, criticized Murray’s appointment, saying it is “absolute proof that Democrats are not serious about deficit reduction… The Select Committee is no place for someone whose top priority is fundraising and politics.”