Democratic Senator Mark Pryor was back in Arkansas today after 16 days of negotiation during the federal government shut down. Pryor was a member of the group of 14 bipartisan senators lead by Susan Collins (ME-R) who helped usher in a deal last night.
Pryor told Channel 7 News that a lot went on behind the closed doors of negotiations.
"We walked in there in the first meeting. John McCain was very clear, he said youknow whatever we agree to, that doesn't mean the leaders agree to this. I saidyeah, we're the plan B, but the problem is John, there's no plan A," Pryor said.
Pryor said the group of 14 eventually brought six solutions to the senate leadership, four of which were accepted by the leadership.
Pryor didn't mince words when reflecting back why he believes the shut down occurred.
"There's a small group of Republicans in the house that have been driving the train. And theybragged for weeks and weeks and weeks they were going to shut down thegovernment and they did. They shut it down for 16 days. And they brought uswithin a day of default on our obligations. In the process of doing this, theyhurt the us economy," Pryor said.
Pryor said the Republicans came across as "childish and petty."
"Theyembarrassed America. They really did embarrass America and by virtue of themdoing this, what they're doing is they're sapping the confidence in our country.They're also diminishing America's prestige abroad. And that is unforgivable. Wecannot allow that to happen again," Pryor said.
Mark Pryor will be defending his seat for Senate against Republican Congressman Tom Cotton in 2014. Cotton told Channel 7 today in a statement that it's Pryor who was not willing to negotiate.
"Ivoted for compromise measures in the House that would have simply delayed theindividual mandate under Obamacare for one year, the same treatment theAdministration is giving large employers. I voted for another compromisebill that would simply have removed the special health care subsides forCongress. Senator Pryor opposed those compromise measures and opposedeven going to Conference with the House to negotiate an agreement. It's hard tohave confidence in a lawmaker like that," Cotton said.