News Releases

Senator Murray spoke to mayors of South Sound cities and towns, including Tacoma and Olympia, about efforts to direct more federal assistance to state and local government relief 

In a call with representatives from public health departments and health care providers from across  Pierce, Thurston, and Lewis Counties, Senator Murray heard more about what frontline medical workers and health officials are dealing with in the region and how she can help them at the federal level

Senator Murray: “I’m going to keep fighting to ensure that the federal government is doing all it can to support the people of the South Sound and the entire state”

(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, met by phone with local mayors, public health officials, and health care providers from Lewis, Pierce and Thurston counties to hear about the direct challenges they are working to overcome and how the federal government can best assist them. Senator Murray heard about the dire need for federal funding from the South Sound mayors, whose cities did not receive direct relief funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and promised to continue working to address this in the next coronavirus aid package. In a conversation with local public health officials and providers, Senator Murray emphasized that she will keep fighting to get providers the funding and resources they need to stem the spread of COVID-19 and ramp up testing capabilities.

“I know how painful this time is for all of us, and it is inspiring to see the work so many Washingtonians are doing to address this crisis—from local elected leaders, to frontline health care workers and beyond,” Senator Murray said. “I’m going to keep fighting to ensure that the federal government is doing all it can to support the people of the South Sound and the entire state as we all work to stem the spread of this virus.”

Senator Murray began the day with a phone call to the mayors of Tacoma, Olympia, and DuPont, who spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic and response have significantly reduced city revenues as local officials have worked to keep people in their cities and across the region safe. In particular, they highlighted the need for relief from the federal government for smaller and mid-sized cities that did not receive relief funding in the CARES Act. Senator Murray emphasized that she is working to include funding for these cities and communities in the next coronavirus relief bill, and she is advocating for provisions such as her recently introduced Coronavirus Community Relief Act to provide $250 billion in stabilization funds for cities with populations of 500,000 and fewer. Senator Murray has been continually pressing this issue, pushing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to include dedicated, flexible funding for state and local governments in future legislation.

In the afternoon, Senator Murray held a conference call with local public health officials and health care providers working on the front lines to treat patients and reduce the spread of COVID-19. On the call, public health officials told Senator Murray about what they need from the federal government to increase testing capacity, PPE distribution, and quarantine sites for unsheltered populations as they work to coordinate local health care responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the health care providers talked about challenges they face in their day-to-day work treating patients and what the situation is like on the ground. Senator Murray made clear that as Congress begins to negotiate the next coronavirus relief package, she is looking to build upon the $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing that she secured in last week’s federal relief package, and she is doing everything she can to procure more assistance for local public health and health care efforts during this crisis.