Murray's Work

Caring for Service Members and their Families

Senator Patty Murray is proud of Washington State’s strong military ties. From Fairchild Air Force Base to Naval Base Kitsap, military installations are critical to the economy, and military families are an integral part of Washington’s communities. Senator Murray believes t the commitment servicemembers and their families have made to us should be honored by ensuring they have access to the best possible education, health care, training, and equipment. It is for this reason that she has worked tirelessly throughout her career in the U.S. Senate, fighting for servicemembers and their families in Washington State and around the world.


Expanding Education Benefits

When Senator Murray’s father and his fellow G.I.s returned from World War II, the Montgomery G.I. Bill repaid their service by enabling them to go to college, buy a home, or start a business. It transformed the U.S. post-war economy and helped dramatically expand the middle class. In 2008, Senator Murray worked alongside Senator Jim Webb of Virginia to pass the most sweeping update to that bill in history, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill makes it possible for thousands of young men and women who have served our country since Sept. 11, 2001, to attend college and begin a career. Bringing the G.I. Bill into the 21st century and updating the education benefit so that it meets today’s school costs has the potential to boost the economy once again, while enabling the U.S. to continue to recruit the best and brightest into the military.

More information about G.I. benefits and how to apply.


Investing in Military Bases

As a member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee responsible for military construction funding, Senator Murray has made it a priority to ensure that U.S. military bases and facilities remain strong and up-to-date. In Washington State, Senator Murray has supported important investments at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Naval Station Everett, and Fairchild Air Force Base to get servicemembers cutting-edge training using the newest technology that will enable them to quickly adjust to evolving missions. Ensuring that service members have access to the most up-to-date facilities increases the safety and security of our military personnel and their families, enhances their quality of life, and ultimately makes all Americans safer.


Supporting National Guard and Reserve Members

The U.S. military depends heavily on the National Guard and Reserves and Senator Murray considers it her responsibility to ensure as they take on critical missions around the globe, they always have the proper equipment and training. When they return home, they should be able to obtain the support and care they have earned. Whether the issue is expanding TRICARE coverage, raising pay, securing promised bonuses, or improving child care services, Senator Murray will continue to fight to ensure that commitments to the Guard and Reserve members are honored.


Improving Health Care

It is vitally important servicemembers have access to the medical care and services they need. Senator Murray is committed to working to help them get timely, quality health care. One of her top priorities is ensuring that the military and the VA are focused on improving the mental health care available to troops and veterans.

  • Caring for Wounded Warriors

    Several years into the war in Iraq, it became clear there were serious problems with the system of care for servicemembers transitioning from the Department of Defense to the Department of Veterans Affairs health system. Shocking stories surfaced about horrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military medical facilities. Working with other Senators on the VA and Armed Services Committees, Senator Murray helped write the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warrior Act, which laid out a comprehensive path requiring the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs work together to quickly address shortfalls in the care of wounded service members.

    As a result of the Wounded Warrior Act, the Department of Defense and the VA have been working together to develop a comprehensive plan to prevent, treat, and diagnose troops’ physical and mental health conditions. It also established Department of Defense Centers of Excellence to improve understanding of the devastating impacts of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    The Department of Defense’s health care program for members of the uniformed services, TRICARE, provides critical health care services not only for the troops, but their families and survivors, who sacrifice for American freedom.

    Until recently, reservists who had not been called to duty were shortchanged by the system. Reservists themselves had limited access to TRICARE, and their families had none. Because Senator Murray believes that all uniformed service members and their families should be able to access health care services, she has worked to expand TRICARE access to all members of the National Guard and Reserve and their families and to prevent all TRICARE fee increases. Senator Murray believes that cuts should never be made at the expense of health care for service members and their families.

To further relieve the burden of paying for health care for servicemembers, Senator Murray has supported legislation that would allow military retirees to pay Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHBP) and TRICARE premiums and enrollment fees on a pre-tax basis and to deduct the fees for tax purposes.

  • Mental Health Care

    There are too many heart-wrenching stories of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans struggling with the mental wounds of war. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are signature wounds of these wars, and studies have estimated that as many as 20 percent of returning servicemembers suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many are in pain, desperate for help, but unsure where to find it. Tragically, an increasing number take their own lives as a result.

    Senator Murray has fought to ensure service members and veterans can access mental health care when they need it. She helped secure funding for PTSD and TBI research and to create and fund TBI Centers of Excellence, which improve the understanding of the causes of and treatments for TBI. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has also worked to obtain much-needed funding for VA polytrauma centers, which are central to inpatient rehabilitation of soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan – particularly those with TBI.

    Making a difference in the lives of troops and veterans – and their families – is not just a matter of improving access or increasing understanding of these injuries. It is critical to increase awareness about how to recognize the signs of PTSD and other conditions, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health care. This continues to be one of Senator Murray’s top goals.