Patty in the News

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
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
A childcare center at the VA Puget Sound’s American Lake campus could get a lifeline for a couple more years if Congress adopts a measure by Sen. Patty Murray to extend the program. The center is slated to close at the end of this month. It opened in September 2011 after Congress passed a measure Murray wrote to expand VA services for women. The childcare center was considered a pilot program with special funding.

- The Olympian
The nation isn’t supplying enough primary care physicians to meet future demands, and the need is particularly acute in rural communities. The Affordable Care Act provided some assistance, but the aid isn’t permanent and it won’t be enough. Last month, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray introduced a bill to address the shortage. The Community-Based Medical Education Act of 2014 would extend the ACA-funded Teaching Health Center program to 2019. It’s set to expire next year. The program helped the partnership of Providence Health Care, the Empire Health Foundation and Washington State University-Spokane launch the Spokane Teaching Health Center. The goal is to locate the clinic on the Riverpoint campus. The WSU Board of Regents will decide this month whether the university can sell revenue bonds to build the facility.

- Spokesman Review
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is pushing a plan to give parents a bigger tax credit for child care expenses. The high-ranking Democrat and former preschool teacher dropped in at a downtown Seattle daycare center Thursday to publicize the legislation, called the Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act. Several moms spoke out about just how tough it is to afford a quality daycare. Erin Welch, a mother of three, described how hard it was when she no longer qualified for a state child care subsidy because she got a raise that bumped her just over the threshold. "What that meant was skipping bills, falling behind on utility bills, making decisions about what type of things we’d go without each month and every month,” Welch said.

As chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is well positioned to sound the alarm about the long-term financial consequences of climate change. A memo she released to Senate Democrats Aug. 1 makes a strong case that without clear, decisive action today, climate change will burden the federal budget with future costs that will undermine the nation’s long-term fiscal health. While climate change is often discussed and debated as an environmental issue, Murray makes a strong case that such thinking is narrow-minded. Global warming will have major repercussions on the nation’s economy and federal spending. A recent poll of citizens in 20 countries by Ipsos MORI, a London-based market research firm, shows how suspicious Americans remain about climate change. When asked if it is largely the result of human activity, 54 percent of Americans said yes. That compares to 93 percent in China, 80 percent in India, 70 percent in Japan and 64 percent in Australia.

- The Olympian