Patty in the News

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray stopped for a tour of the $20 million Railex Wine Services center in Wallula on Tuesday. The facility, built in 2013, is a temperature- and humidity-controlled wine storage and distribution center. Murray helped secure the necessary infrastructure funding for the rail lines serving the center and an adjoining produce facility. "This is a prime example of the economic story of America and why we need to invest in the infrastructure of the country," Murray said. "There are a lot of people with ideas, and the drive to carry them out. They just need some help getting started." Right now, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is the primary tenant. "We may, in the future, work with others," said Jim Kleist, senior vice president of West Coast operations for Railex. The facility is 500,000 square feet -- the size of 11 football fields -- and has the capacity to hold 5 million to 6 million cases of wine. Two trains a week transport Eastern Washington produce to New York. That traffic is expected to increase this year as Railex opens a new distribution center in Jacksonville, Fla. "When Jacksonville opens -- and we'll be breaking ground any day now -- that will increase to four trains a week," Kleist said.

- Tri-City Herald
The Walla Walla VA Medical Center went from being scheduled for closure to opening a $71.4 million outpatient clinic in less than a decade. But more needs to be done to assist veterans at the campus, said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, during a visit there Tuesday. Murray credited veterans and area officials for starting a task force and packing meetings to keep the facility open after the Department of Veterans Affairs announced its closure in 2004, fighting a VA bureaucracy "that seemed to want to starve this facility." "This is a community where people don't give up on what they believe in," Murray told an audience of 200 people outside the entrance to the 67,000-square-foot building.

- Bellingham Herald
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday held the first congressional hearing focused solely on the safety of transporting crude oil by rail — an issue that hardly existed a decade ago and which reached Washington state only in 2012. The hearing, chaired by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, of Washington, was prompted by a recent spate of oil-train accidents that have followed a resurgent domestic production driven by the Bakken shale oil and gas boom. Deadliest of those was a driverless train carrying North Dakota Bakken crude that derailed last July in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, some 10 miles from the nearest Maine border. The explosion killed 47 people, several of whom are believed to have been vaporized. The specter of other such disasters dominated the hearing, held by Murray’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. The concern is particularly acute in Washington, which has the nation’s seventh-largest petroleum-refining capacity and is the closest destination for both Canadian and Bakken crude oil. Nearly 17 million barrels of oil arrived in the state by train in 2013. That accounted for just 8?percent of the total, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology. But rail shipments are expected to triple this year to 55 million barrels.

- Seattle Times
It wasn’t the only time she represented for other women: In 2011, when budget negotiations threatened to shut the government down and House Republicans demanded that Planned Parenthood be defunded, Murray recalled to The Washington Post, “I walked in, and I was literally the only woman … They said: ‘We’re all done except the House wants one last concession. They want us to give on that and we’re done.’ And I said: ‘Not on my watch. Absolutely not on my watch.’” That same year, conservative activist Grover Norquist sneered of Murray, “The lady from Washington doesn’t do budgets.” She proved him wrong.

It's not much of a stretch for us to say the Affordable Care Act is one of the most significant pieces of legislation for women in our lifetimes. Not because of the battles we fought to get it to the president's desk or because of the size or scope of the law. But because of the tangible and positive impact it has had, and will continue to have, on the health and well-being of American women and their families.

- McClatchy-Tribune News
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Wednesday pressed administration officials for answers about care for veterans, including how funding will be achieved for the planned Washington State Veterans Home at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center. Murray, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, grilled U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel about critically needed federal money for the Walla Walla nursing home for veterans, according to a transcript of the hearing supplied by her office.

- Walla Walla Union Bulletin
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is getting behind a sprawling bill that would prod the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer more education benefits, fertility resources and sex assault treatment programs. The bill includes a provision that would compel the VA to offer in vitro fertilization services to veterans and their spouses. Expanding those services for veterans who suffer fertility complications because of service-connected injuries has been one of Murray’s priorities for several years. “Our nation’s heroes should not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the private sector to get the advanced reproductive treatments they need to start a family,” Murray said Tuesday in a speech on the Senate floor. “They should not have to watch their marriages dissolve because the stress of infertility, in combination with the stresses of readjusting to life after severe injury, driving their relationship to a breaking point. Any servicemember who sustains this type of serious injury deserves so much more,” she said. The bill, written by Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, passed a Senate procedural step Tuesday by a vote of 99-0. Lawmakers are expected to continue revising it before sending it to the House.

- The News Tribune
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Adam Smith toured Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood Tuesday to see the area’s progress toward redevelopment. The visit highlighted roughly $30 million in Choice Neighborhoods grants awarded to the Seattle Housing Authority to begin redeveloping the public-housing project and improving community services in the neighborhood. Work on some replacement housing and the Epstein Opportunity Center is expected to be completed this year, according to the Seattle Housing Authority website. The Baldwin Apartments will hold 15 housing units while the Epstein Opportunity Center, previously called the Yesler Terrace Steam Plant, will house tutoring services and a Head Start program, among other things. Redevelopment of the 30-acre site is expected to cost $300 million, financed in part through a sale of some of the land to a private developer. When completed, the project will include both affordable-housing and market-rate units, new parks and street improvements.

- Seattle Times

Los DREAMers merecen ‘colegiatura asequible’

Op-Ed - Senator Murray

Jan 16 2014

Para la mayoría de los estadounidenses, es difícil imaginar la vida de un estudiante indocumentado. Y aunque estos niños y jóvenes crecen junto a sus vecinos y amigos, estudiando y trabajando duro en las escuelas estadounidenses, su camino hacia un título universitario incluye obstáculos únicos y difíciles. Al igual que sus compañeros de clase, la mayoría de los estudiantes indocumentados esperan ir a la universidad, pero frecuentemente, los estudiantes a punto de graduarse de la preparatoria abren cartas de las universidades solo para enterarse de que por su status migratorio ellos no pueden obtener el descuento de estudiante del estado, haciendo que el obtener un título universitario sea aún más costoso. Por desgracia, esta es la dura realidad de decenas de miles de DREAMers que se gradúan de las preparatorias de Estados Unidos cada año. Por causas ajenas a su voluntad, estos estudiantes dedicados tienen unos obstáculos adicionales para obtener un título universitario, y ya es hora de que les ofrezcamos a todos ellos con un camino a una educación asequible.

- El Sol de Yakima
Funding for Sound Transit’s University Link project, money to avert layoffs at Hanford nuclear site in Richland and millions of more dollars for salmon conservation and Puget Sound restoration. Those are among the spending plans for Washington state included in a massive 2014 federal appropriations bill released late Monday. The spending bill details how to divvy up $1.012 trillion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2014 hashed out last month between Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. As chairs of budget committees in their respective chambers, Murray and Ryan helped set the top-line spending for defense and nondefense discretionary programs for next two years. The detailed spending proposal based on that blueprint, however, bear Murray’s imprint from her seat on a different panel — the Senate Appropriations Committee. Murray claimed credit for securing funding for more than three dozen projects and programs reaching into every corner of her home state. They ranged from $2.7 million for potato, alfalfa and forage research that House Republicans had excluded from their appropriations bill to $3 billion to build 16 Boeing P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft, which will be based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

- Seattle Times