News Releases

As 2019 comes to a close, Senator Murray reflects on a year of breaking through the gridlock to get things done for Washington state – READ BELOW FOR MORE

Kitsap Sun: Murray secures millions for military construction of child-care facilities – MORE HERE

Tri-City Herald: Hanford union worker pay dispute stalled. Then Sen. Patty Murray stepped in – MORE HERE 

Seattle Times: Feds say they’ll grant $790M for Federal Way light-rail extension – MORE HERE 

ICYMI: Senator Murray, Local Leaders Announce Major Housing Funding Across Washington State – MORE HERE

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has spent the past year working for Washington’s families, workers, veterans, educators, students, servicemembers, and everyone in between. As the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Murray has worked to increase funding to combat the opioid epidemic, bolster child care services, and stepped in to help guarantee Hanford workers receive the back pay that they’ve earned. As a Senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has consistently won funding for Washington state priorities, whether that be housing for those that need it most, vital transportation and infrastructure projects, or critical protections for Washington’s wild spaces, and as a longtime member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the daughter of a WWII veteran, Senator Murray has fought to ensure veterans facing homelessness in Washington state and across the country get the helping hand they need. Most importantly, as Washington state’s senior Senator, throughout the year Senator Murray has fought consistently for every Washingtonian to ensure the federal government is doing its part to make sure they have the necessary tools, resources, and support they need to succeed and thrive.

“My top priority is doing everything I can to deliver for our state and help make sure our families, workers, students, seniors, veterans, and Washingtonians from all walks of life have the opportunity and resources to succeed,” said Senator Murray. “I’m glad to have helped take some important steps forward this year and I know there is much more we need to do across the board—from lowering health costs, to ensuring everyone has a safe and secure home, to tackling the climate crisis—and I will keep working every day to push for progress on these issues and more for all our families and communities.”

In that fight, Senator Murray has secured some major victories for the people of Washington state and beyond. See below for key examples of what Senator Murray got done for Washington state and people across the country in 2019.

HOUSING: Secured more housing for those that need it most by directing new resources to Washington state…

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray fought to include a much-needed infusion of housing funds to ensure adult Washingtonians with disabilities and their families have the resources necessary to secure safe, stable housing through the Mainstream Housing Vouchers program. This year, 12 Washington communities, from King to Okanogan County, received more than $8.6 million in federal funds via new, additional Mainstream Housing Vouchers.


…and by successfully fighting to preserve and strengthen existing housing efforts.

This year, Senator Murray helped secure tens of millions of dollars in federal grants to help fund secure, affordable housing for people and families in need across Washington state through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and HOME program. Senator Murray has been instrumental in continuing the CDBG and HOME programs, fighting not only to save the HOME program from near elimination, but successfully working to increase its funding in spite of attacks from the Trump Administration in spending bills over the past three years.



VETERANS: Senator Murray says “As a nation we have a responsibility to take care of our veterans…”

With more and more veterans experiencing homelessness in Washington state, Senator Murray understands that part of the promise we make to those who serve is to ensure that no Washingtonian who has sacrificed for our country ends up on the street. That’s why Senator Murray resurrected the HUD-VASH program to help veterans who are experiencing homelessness secure permanent housing in 2008, and why she helped secure more than $2.3 million in HUD-VASH funding for Washington state communities this year.


…and when it comes to fulfilling that responsibility, Senator Murray won’t take no for an answer.

After years of pressure and urging from Senator Murray, this summer the Trump Administration finally implemented automatic student debt relief to veterans with disabilities. Under the Higher Education Act, veterans who have been “totally and permanently” disabled from their service or have an individual unemployability rating are eligible to have their student loans cancelled, but until Senator Murray stepped in, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had refused to do so automatically.


CHILD CARE: Senator Murray knows quality, affordable child care is an economic issue for everyone—including our military families. She won new funding for military child care construction…

As a mother, grandmother and former educator, Senator Murray has long worked to improve access to high-quality child care for families serving our country, and civilians alike. That’s why she successfully fought to include in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) a new, dedicated line of funding for military child care center construction that will pave the way for more than $120 million in critical federal investments to increase vital access to child care across all the services and ensure families are getting the support they need to succeed.



Senator Murray got a historic increase in investments in child care for parents in school—including six colleges in Washington state.

Thanks to Senator Murray securing a historic 233% increase in funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program in FY18, six Washington state colleges received more than $1.4 million over four years through the program in order to provide child care assistance to student parents. The funding was awarded to Bates Technical College, The Evergreen State College, Green River College, Peninsula College, Pierce College District, and Tacoma Community College.


EDUCATION: As a result of her Every Student Succeeds Act, Washington state will be able to expand its focus on early learning and development…

Through Senator Murray’s Every Student Succeeds Act, the Washington state Department of Children, Youth, and Families was awarded a $5.2 million grant to expand programs like home visiting and preschool, conduct a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment, and improve the integration of early learning and child welfare services across the state.


…and hundreds of thousands of Washington state students and families will have an easier time filling out the FAFSA thanks to legislation she got signed into law.

As the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, Senator Murray led the passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act, to permanently fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs), including Northwest Indian College in Washington state, which will receive $1.1 million annually under the bill. The legislation also included the includes the FAFSA Act, a bill that will simplify and streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 20 million American families. Nearly 150,000 Washingtonian enrolled in income-driven repayment and more than 370,000 Washingtonians who fill out a FAFSA each year, will benefit from changes to simplify financial aid paperwork under the FUTURE Act.


WORKERS: Senator Murray let Washington state workers know, she has their backs.

After the Trump administration threatened to restructure the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCC) program, which would have impacted three Washington state CCC sites, Senator Murray fought back, and successfully kept all three Washington state CCC sites operating. Job Corps CCCs provide job training and economic opportunities to thousands of at-risk youth in rural areas, including students at centers in Washington state.



Tri-City Herald: Hanford union worker pay dispute stalled. Then Sen. Patty Murray stepped in

To quote the Tri-City Herald: “Union workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation are entitled to back pay estimated at more than $140,000 for sick leave after Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., took up their complaint. ‘Our government has a moral and legal obligation to clean up Hanford, and that responsibility extends to making sure every worker at the site is being treated with respect and compensated fairly for their work,’ Murray said.”


INFRASTRUCTURE: Senator Murray finally got a commitment from the federal government to fund the Federal Way link extension project…

After long advocating for strong federal investments in the Federal Way light rail extension, Senator Murray helped push the Department of Transportation to finalize a $1.4 billion commitment from the federal government to help fund the Federal Way link extension project, including a $790 million grant awarded through the Department of Transportation’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program, and a $629.47 million direct loan also approved through the Department’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. “This is an early gift for the South Sound community that will help decrease commute times and reduce traffic congestion for families, students, workers and travelers throughout the region,” Senator Murray said.



…and critical infrastructure priorities across the state.

In addition to the Federal Way extension, Senator Murray also spearheaded efforts to secure federal funding for transportation and infrastructure projects across the state, including: more than $53 million for Spokane Central City Line Bus Rapid Transit following a letter of support for the project from Senator Murray, $15.5 million for improvements to the Port of Everett’s waterfront from the BUILD grant program, which Senator Murray helped create in 2009, and $6.6 million in funding for the Regional Beltway Connector project in Union Gap following a letter of support from Senator Murray.



CONSERVATION: Senator Murray is proud of protecting Washington state’s natural splendor. She was able to preserve 340,000 acres of federal land in Methow Valley…

Senator Murray has long been a leader on protecting Washington state’s natural spaces and resources for future generations, and 2019 saw the culmination of some of her key efforts as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure funding for conservation efforts in Washington state and across the country. With the passage of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act in March, which Senator Murray worked to help pass, her longtime work to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which protects natural lands across the country, was finally realized. The major public lands package also preserved 340,000 acres of federal land in the Methow Valley, another longtime priority of Senator Murray’s.


…and got 1.5 million acres of land designated as the Pacific Northwest’s first National Heritage Area

In April, Senator Murray’s Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act was signed into law, designating 1.5 million acres of land stretching along the Interstate 90 corridor from Seattle to Ellensburg as the Pacific Northwest’s first National Heritage Area. National Heritage Areas are Congressional-designated partnerships between the National Park Service, states, and local communities through which the Park Service supports local and state efforts to preserve natural resources and promote tourism.


TRIBAL COMMUNITIES: Senator Murray secured more than $17.3 million in housing assistance for Washington state tribes, as well as critical upgrades to facilities at tribal historical fishing access sites.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray helped secure more than $17.3 million in housing assistance for tribes and tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) to develop, maintain, and operate affordable housing, and more than $1 million to help replace the diesel engines on tribal fishing vessels with lower emitting alternatives. To further aid tribal fishing efforts, Senator Murray also helped advance legislation to install safe, sanitary housing and infrastructure at tribal historical fishing access sites, which has passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature before becoming law.


OPIOIDS: Senator Murray knows how hard the opioid crisis is hitting Washington state—and secured more than $25 million for prevention, telemedicine, and recovery services for hard-hit communities. 

With more and more Washingtonians falling prey to substance misuse, Senator Murray has worked to provide critical funding to combat the opioid epidemic across the state. In her role as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has consistently fought for increased funding for programs to address the opioid crisis, and this year secured more than $600,000 to support rural Washington state communities and $25 million for Washington state to invest in telemedicine, recovery and prevention services, support for tribal communities hit especially hard by the opioid epidemic, and data collection efforts.


COMMUNITY HEALTH: Senator Murray delivered new resources for community health centers statewide, including new resources specifically for oral health care.

As the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, Senator Murray understands the important role that community health centers (CHCs) play in providing affordable care for Washingtonians in their own communities. That’s why Senator Murray has fought to increase funding for CHCs in Washington state and throughout the country, helping to secure quality improvement grants that awarded more than $3 million total to 26 CHCs across the state, and another $1 million to expand increased access to oral health services.


ARCTIC: Senator Murray knows arctic security starts in Seattle.

As a longtime champion of strengthening America’s icebreaker fleet, Senator Murray was instrumental in ensuring that when our nation’s new heavy icebreakers enter service, they will be based out of Seattle. According to an editorial in the Seattle Times, guaranteeing Seattle as our nation’s heavy icebreaker hub, “involves hundreds of jobs and boosts the region’s maritime ecosystem. It also increases Seattle’s role as a hub for Arctic services and support, a field that will grow as warming temperatures open the region to more research and commercial activity.”