They got so stuck in a philosophical debate in their own turf, that they put us — if you will recall — into a government shutdown, sequestration taking place, people across the country wondering if we could even do anything in this country, wondering whether our democracy worked. Two businesses who were finding their international partners were not trusting our country to be able to do what we needed to do to manage a country.On how Murray and Ryan built the trust for compromise:
That dynamic created the opportunity to work with Congressman Paul Ryan. Two very different people, two very different budgets, two very different philosophies. We challenged each other together, to look at each other not as foes, but as collaborators in trying to put together a budget. And that’s how we got that done.
We had been talking, long before we’d ever got put into a room, to get to know each other. Who you are, what brings you here, what’s important to you? Knowing what’s important to somebody creates the groundwork to be able to listen to someone and trust them.
But the other thing is, inside that room, we had a really important agreement that what we talked about, that what we agreed upon, wouldn’t be used against the other person. And that trust is essential when you’re trying to work out a compromise. You have to put things on the table and trust that the person won’t go out and hold a press conference and say, “You won’t believe what Senator Murray was giving away.”
I think we were in an atmosphere before that time where the two sides were yelling from opposite sides of the football field, and not really trying to find common ground. One of the things we actually talked about as we put together an agreement was, how do we show that compromise can be awarded and supported and applauded, rather than compromise being something that everyone says, “I won’t do.“
We got government running again. We got our economy moving again. We got the votes in the House and the Senate. And, by the way, don’t [shut down the government] again.
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