The threats to women’s health care are very real, and they are only growing. We saw it on a panel on birth control in the House – that didn’t include any woman. We saw it in a young woman being called horrible names for telling the story of a friend in need. We see it in Republican efforts to allow a woman’s employer to dictate her access to birth control, and we are seeing it in state laws all across the country aimed at stripping women of their rights and so much more.
To commemorate International Women’s Day, I gave a speech on the Senate floor to remind women and men across the country that the battle over women’s health and family planning decisions is ongoing, and that we must remain vigilant against these attacks. It is important to celebrate gains women have made, but to keep in mind that these gains must continue to be defended. Last week, one woman brave enough to come forward and give voice to the importance of birth control was targeted. First, her story of a friend’s battle with ovarian cancer was purposefully left out of a House hearing on the matter and then, as we have all heard, she was scorned and ridiculed by a right wing pundit. It was a galvanizing and eye-opening moment for millions of women across the country. It was a reminder that there are some who still see women as easy targets. The attacks on women’s rights are not just taking place here in Washington D.C. In every state across the country, legislatures bent on putting politics between women and their care are undoing years of work. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that this progress is not reversed, and unite to fight against attacks from Republicans. - Read more
Read a letter I sent to House Speaker John Boehner Thursday, calling on him to rescind his pledge to push forward with efforts to restrict women’s access to contraception after the Blunt amendment was defeated in the Senate. The letter was signed by all 12 Democratic women Senators.
“Murray: GOP on ‘losing side’ of Culture Battle” – Seattle PI
Putting Our Nation’s Heroes to Work
In February, I had a great opportunity to tour General Plastics in Tacoma and to host a roundtable event focused on veterans employment. The event, which was held at General Plastics, an aerospace manufacturing company, highlighted the success of public-private partnerships, such as the one between General Plastics and Clover Park Technical College. That program promotes veteran training and employment in Washington’s growing aerospace industry. These public-private partnerships are the next step in getting our nation’s veterans back to work. Read more about public-private partnerships.
I was also pleased to announce that as part of my VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which was enacted last November, an expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is now available to businesses, and certain tax-exempt organizations, that hire eligible unemployed veterans. The credit can be as high as $9,600 per veteran for for-profit employers or up to $6,240 for tax-exempt organizations. Employers who hire veterans with service-related disabilities may be eligible for the maximum credit. The law allows employers one tax credit per eligible veteran hired. This is another incentive for Washington state businesses to help put our state’s veterans back to work. We all know our veterans have the leadership skills, drive, and discipline to succeed in the workplace, and now businesses have one more reason to bring them on board. I am so pleased to have been able to help pass this bill, and I hope that our state’s businesses immediately begin to take advantage of this tax credit and the tremendous talents of our veterans. Read more about the tax credits available to businesses that hire veterans.
“South Sound military veterans vouch for job programs” – The News Tribune
Bringing Our Troops Home from Afghanistan
This week, I joined a bipartisan group of 24 Senators in a letter calling on President Obama to bring American combat forces home from Afghanistan. We simply cannot afford more years of elevated troop levels in Afghanistan. We are spending roughly $10 billion in Afghanistan each month at a time when we’re making tough sacrifices at home. Our troops and their families have made unimaginable sacrifices during the past ten years of war in Afghanistan. Over 1,900 American troops have been killed and over 14,300 have been wounded. Thousands more return home with invisible wounds that will make it difficult to ever again enjoy life the way they did before the war. It is time to bring our troops home. Read the full text of the letter we sent to the President.
“Sens. Murray, Cantwell want troops home from Afghanistan”
– The Bellingham Herald