House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a tentative agreement between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.

Sen. Patty Murray Credits Football for Budget Win

Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan bonded over their respective NFL franchises.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a tentative agreement between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., shown here in December 2013, bonded over football as they brokered the bipartisan government spending plan, Murray said.

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The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl, but the team also helped seal the budget deal, according to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. 

Murray, speaking to a crowd at Fortune’s Tuesday night dinner at the State Department, explained that it was really some good old football smack talk that broke the ice between her and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the two lawmakers responsible for brokering the bipartisan December deal. 

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“Probably the thing that kept us laughing the most was our football teams,” Murray recalled. “Now, I’m from Washington state, nobody was talking about the Seahawks way back when we started this, but his team kind of got kicked out of the season early on because his quarterback was injured.”


Ryan’s Green Bay Packers weren’t doing so hot because quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sidelined with an injury. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were doing just fine. “So I would just give Paul grief about his football team and, of course, my team kept doing better and better – and it was kind of the go-to laugh that we could share,” Murray said. 

Murray said the bipartisan duo had two other F’s they bonded over too. The first was family, as they both had tragedies happen to their fathers at a very young age. “He lost his father when he was very young,” Murray said. “My father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 15.” 

They both also like to fish. “I salmon fish, he fishes for some weird fish,” she said. “[You] can’t even eat what he catches. We eat what I catch.” 

[READ: Murray, Ryan Negotiate Bipartisan Budget Deal]

But really, this friendship was about football. “After we reached this agreement, worked it through Congress, I called the Seahawks and our quarterback signed a jersey to Paul Ryan that I presented to him,” Murray recalled, noting that this all occurred several weeks before the Seahawks won the big game. 

“Now that jersey is really worth money – he owes me now,” she said laughing.