If former preschool teacher U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has her say, the so-called No Child Left Behind Law will be rescued from limbo in the near future. Murray says her new role as ranking Democrat on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee is the assignment that will help her meet the rest of her education goals. Murray will replace Sen. Tom Harkin, the committee's current chairman, as the committee's Democratic leader. She has accomplished other education goals in Congress in recent years, including worker retraining, Head Start and federal college grants. But no one in Congress has succeeded in reauthorizing the federal framework for the nation's schools.
Seattle Times Editorial
): OUT of what is likely the least productive and most dysfunctional Congress in American history, a sliver of good governance has sometimes escaped. One such ray comes in the bipartisan proposal put forth by respective budget chairs Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Their Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act would create a 15-member commission to study the effectiveness of federal programs and tax expenditures via data analysis. It would also explore how to best protect the privacy rights and confidentiality of people interacting with federal agencies. Debate on the proposal, let alone passage, can’t come until the new GOP-controlled Congress is seated early next year. But Murray, who will then be in the Senate minority, and Ryan, who is expected to retain his powerful House perch, both intend to reintroduce the measure then and push for ratification.
- Seattle Times
For years Yakima Valley officials have complained the odds were stacked in favor of major cities when it came to obtaining federal funding to fight gangs. Now the final $1.1 trillion spending bill for 2015 before Congress could make it easier for Yakima County to get that much-sought federal aid. The bill contains an amendment by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., which was drafted with help from Yakima County officials, directing the federal Department of Justice to review how it awards grants to prevent and suppress gang violence. Specifically, it directs the department to give stronger consideration to smaller communities with gang crime rates above the national average. “We’re making some good headway (at gang suppression) in the Valley and any additional resources would be welcome,” said Yakima County Commissioner Kevin Bouchey, who worked on the amendment’s language with Harold Delia, the county’s court consultant.
- Yakima Herald
The senator said she wrote the language into the bill to make sure that communities like Yakima will get the federal help they need to fight gang activity. The language, which was first written by Senator Murray earlier this year, will require the Department of Justice to review the criteria by which it awards grants relating to gang violence and prevention. In recent months, community and law enforcement leaders in the Yakima area have raised concerns to Senator Murray that they are not getting the federal funding they need to address gang-related violence. The bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives and the Senate in the coming days and be signed into law
The $1.1 trillion spending bill filed by House appropriators late Tuesday likely will avert a federal government shutdown after Thursday. But lawmakers (or, more accurately, their staff) were combing through the omnibus legislation Wednesday morning to tally how much money will flow to their states. Sean Coit, spokesman for Sen. Patty Murray, said the spending bills include “big wins” for several of Murray’s priorities. They include enhancing safety of oil trains that are increasingly traversing through Washington, averting cuts proposed by President Obama for clean up of the Hanford nuclear reservation and a final $89.7 million in federal funding for the University Link light rail extension in Seattle. Federal job-training grants — another of Murray’s priorities — will get a slight increase to $2.6 billion, $36 million more than in fiscal 2015. But appropriators knocked $100 million off the $600 million allocated for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants that pay for highway and public transit programs. Murray chairs the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. As chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, Murray in 2013 forged a deal with her House counterpart, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to lift mandatory budget cuts called sequestration for two years.
- Seattle Times
A proposed cut to the Department of Energy’s Hanford Richland Operations Office would be restored under a compromise federal spending bill released Tuesday night, according to the staff of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “The funding secured in this bill is a critical win for Hanford and our entire state,” Murray said in a statement. The omnibus spending bill would increase the budget for Hanford this year by $69.9 million, for a total budget of almost $2.2 billion. The bill includes $941 million for the Department of Energy’s Hanford Richland Operations Office, an increase of $93 million over the administration’s fiscal 2015 budget request. The office is responsible for all Hanford cleanup work except for managing radioactive waste held in underground tanks and the vitrification plant being built to treat the waste.
- Tri-City Herald
Sen. Patty Murray took U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on a ferry ride in the hopes of making a positive impression as she works to secure funding for the country's largest ferry system. "This is a really important part of our transportation and as we move forward on our authorization bills on the federal level we have to make sure we are a partner," Murray, D-Wash., said during a tour of the Wenatchee as it cruised across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island, loaded with people, cars, bicycles and tourists. "We have 22 million people who ride these ferries. This is just an essential way for people to live and work outside Seattle.” She succeeded in getting Foxx's attention.
- The Daily News Online
Two Tacoma nonprofits will each get $1.5 million to help homeless veterans in Pierce County find safe places to live over the next three years, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday. Both grants augment programs already in place connecting homeless veterans with transitional housing…“These vouchers are a huge boost in the effort to end homelessness among veterans in our state,” U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in announcing the HUD funding. “Each one of these vouchers represents a step toward finding a permanent home for someone who sacrificed for our nation, but is struggling to find stable housing.”
- Tacoma News Tribune
Senator Patty Murray
No matter your politics, we should all be able to agree on this: When a sexual assault survivor walks into an emergency room seeking care, it is crucial she has all the support and resources she needs. That includes the ability to prevent the added trauma of an unwanted pregnancy by using emergency contraception. Unfortunately, too many women are unfamiliar with this highly effective prevention method. And, in many cases, hospitals simply do not provide access to it. Or, if they do, it is not offered in a timely manner — despite the fact that the morning-after pill is readily available at the drugstore counter down the street. The last thing survivors of sexual assault want or need is a murky and confusing process to get necessary help.
- Refinery 29
They focused on some of today’s most politically divisive issues, at least in Congress: fatter paychecks for lowest-paid workers, paid sick leaves, affordable child care, gender pay parity. Five female liberal Democrats, among them Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Patty Murray, gathered Thursday in Washington, D.C., to talk about economic security for women — a concern they believe animates many silent Americans and who they believe should have a bigger voice in electoral politics. The round-table at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy think tank, had an air of a campaign stop for Clinton’s undeclared presidential run, with half of the more than 100 seats occupied by journalists.
- Seattle Times