Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., this morning denounced the recent era of governing by self-imposed fiscal crisis, arguing that it is setting back the nation in terms of global competition. "Like any family or business, we need to make decisions today that help us meet our goals and face our challenges for years to come," Murray said in a speech on early childhood education at the liberal Center for American Progress. "But in the last few years, it's become very difficult for the government to plan for the future, because so much of our budget debate has focused on heading off artificial crises."
On the crisis side, she cited the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, sequestration and the (since-averted) possibility of a government shutdown. These artificial crises have hampered the country's ability to deal with other challenges, she said, including "national security challenges as we transition out of Afghanistan. We know our roads, bridges, airports and airways are in disrepair. We know there are major gaps in access to affordable, high-quality early education. And yet we struggle to get anything done that isn't attached to a pressing deadline."
She added that: "This inside-the-beltway brinkmanship affects families and communities across the country. Not just now, but decades into the future. Because while we have been focused on threats of default, government shutdown and the impact of sequestration, other countries are thinking far down the road – and rightly investing in their workers' skills and knowledge."
One interesting note that she added was that because of her work as Senate Budget Committee chair, she has dealt with "an increasing number of Republicans who feel just like I do, that managing our country crisis by crisis and getting to these deadlines is harming all of us in a very bad way."
Well that's a start, but only just. A few Republicans unhappy with Congress intentionally harming the country (see sequestration and the debt ceiling) hasn't thus far stopped Congress from intentionally harming the country (see sequestration and the debt ceiling). Indeed, keep in mind that while Republicans haven't settled on what they're going to demand in exchange for not crashing the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, they're still intent on holding the economy hostage over it.
Will a few moderate and/or old school Republican senators saying that enough is enough change that dynamic? Unlikely, I'm afraid – but like I said, it's a start.