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Watch Senator Murray on Senate floor

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to reject the House Republicans’ short-sighted, slash-and-burn budget cuts to critical programs that millions of women and families across the country depend on. Murray spoke about the specific impact that these cuts would have on women and families in Washington state, and she urged House Republicans to work with Democrats pass a long-term budget that cuts spending responsibly, protects the most vulnerable, and makes the investments we need to get our economy back on track and our workers back on the job.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech:

“I am so disappointed that at the very moment we need to be working together to invest in the future, cut spending responsibly, and support American families—House Republicans have decided to take a slash-and-burn approach to the budget that would devastate the economy and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

“And while many Republicans came to Congress this year promising to work with Democrats to focus on the economy, they have instead chosen to push the extreme anti-choice agenda of a minority of Americans who want to go farther than ever to restrict health care options for women and families.”

“…this assault on women’s health would be truly devastating if actually enacted. And this extreme agenda does nothing to further our goals of getting our economy back on track.”

“I feel very strongly that we need to work together to invest in our future, get our economy back on track, get our workers back on the job—and make sure our families get the support they need to succeed.  The House Republicans’ spending proposal fails to meet these goals. It fails our women, it fails our families, it fails our communities, and it fails our nation.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:

“Mr. President, since the Wall Street crisis came crashing down on Main Street, I have been proud to work with so many of my colleagues on efforts to get our economy back on track and our workers back on the job.

“But we still have a long way to go. So many families across America are still fighting to stay in their homes.  So many small businesses are still struggling to keep their doors open. And so many workers are still trying to find work, or stay up at night wondering what would happen to them and their families if that next pink slip has their name on it.

“So Mr. President, that’s why I am so disappointed that at the very moment we need to be working together to invest in the future, cut spending responsibly, and support American families—House Republicans have decided to take a slash-and-burn approach to the budget that would devastate the economy and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“And while many Republicans came to Congress this year promising to work with Democrats to focus on the economy, they have instead chosen to push the extreme anti-choice agenda of a minority of Americans who want to go farther than ever to restrict health care options for women and families.

“So Mr. President, I want to spend a few minutes talking about this aspect of their budget proposal.

“Because this assault on women’s health would be truly devastating if actually enacted. And this extreme agenda does nothing to further our goals of getting our economy back on track.

“Mr. President, the House Republicans’ proposed budget completely eliminates Title X funding for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention. And it includes an amendment from Representative Mike Pence that completely denies funding for Planned Parenthood.

“This is wrong, and it would be absolutely devastating for the 3 million men and women across the country who depend on their services.

“I recently got a letter from a 28-year-old woman named Elizabeth, from Bellingham, Washington.

“Elizabeth told me that she is uninsured and depends on her local Planned Parenthood for her annual check-ups and family planning.

“She told me that cervical and breast cancer run in her family, and she doesn’t know what she and her husband would do if she wasn’t able to access care.

“And Elizabeth is not alone. I have received hundreds of letters just like hers.  Women telling me about the health care they receive at Planned Parenthood, and the critical services Title X allows them to access.

“Mr. President, Title X supports cancer screenings, family planning, and other preventive services for more than 5 million low-income men, women, and families across the country.

“In my home state of Washington, more than 100,000 patients – who otherwise wouldn’t have access to care—are able to receive treatment thanks to these services.

“The House Republican plan would be devastating for these women—and honestly, it simply doesn’t make sense.

“In my home state alone, family planning services at Title X-funded health care centers help prevent over 21,000 unintended pregnancies every year.

“Without these services, abortions in Washington state would go up by an estimated 44%, and states and the federal government would end up spending far more in services for low-income families over the long run. 

“So cutting off these important programs would be absolutely wrong—and I am going to do everything I can here in the Senate to fight it.

“But that’s not all the House Republicans have proposed in their extreme budget.

“They want to slash nutrition programs for women and children by $747 million, which would end support for close to 10 million pregnant women, new mothers, and infants across the country.

“They want to cut funding for prenatal care by $50 million, which would jeopardize care for 2.5 million women and 31 million children.

“They want to cut $39 million from the Child Care and Development Block grant, which would end the child care support many low-income families need so parents can go out and work or find jobs. 

“And they want to slash $1 billion from Head Start, which would not only cut off comprehensive early childhood services for nearly one million children, it would also put tens of thousands of teachers and staff out of a job—many of whom are women. 

“This anti-family agenda is wrong—and we simply won’t stand for it.

“We absolutely need to cut the budget and work together to bring down the deficit.  But we need to do that responsibly. And we can’t allow that to happen on the backs of women and children.

“Mr. President, a budget is a statement of our values. And it is a reflection of our priorities as a nation. I feel very strongly that we need to work together to invest in our future, get our economy back on track, get our workers back on the job—and make sure our families get the support they need to succeed.

“The House Republicans’ spending proposal fails to meet these goals. It fails our women, it fails our families, it fails our communities, and it fails our nation.

“I urge my colleagues to reject this slash-and-burn approach, and to work together to pass a responsible long-term debt-reduction plan that reflects our shared American values and helps get our economy back on track.”