Patty in the News

Washington Sen. Patty Murray is the top Democrat on a conference committee charged with hashing out a budget by mid-December, and she’s well aware many pundits and citizens have low expectations. “I don’t blame anybody for being pessimistic about this,” Murray said at an appearance in Seattle. “Our country’s been through a lot.” That includes the recent government shutdown and threat of default, which birthed the conference committee Murray is chairing, along with Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan. Ryan and eight of his fellow Republican conferees voted against the compromise that ended the shutdown. But Murray says a new round of cuts under sequestration due to take effect in January could light a fire under negotiators. “I have both Republicans and Democrats alike in the Senate saying to me that sequestration needs to be replaced. So I think that is a motivation for both of us,” she said. Those looming cuts would hit the defense budget hard. The first round targeted domestic programs, such as early education and housing vouchers. Murray appeared alongside several constituents who depend on those programs, and said she’d fight to restore the funding. Murray has nice things to say about Ryan, her opposite number on the committee. She called him a decent man who cares about his country. But asked whether Ryan is ready to make a deal, Murray was more cautious.

It was 1992. Bill Clinton had just been elected to the White House, despite election-time allegations of an affair with Gennifer Flowers. Clarence Thomas had just been confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, despite Anita Hill's accusations of sexual harassment. And despite naysayers, four women had just been elected United States senators. One of them, Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, recently reflected on those early years in an Atlantic interview with MSNBC’s Karen Finney. Self-labeled as “the only preschool teacher in the United States Senate,” Murray claims she never wanted to get into national politics, but was moved to run by what she saw as blatant sexism in the Anita Hill hearings. After defeating a Republican opponent who fatefully dismissed her as “a mom in tennis shoes,” Murray joined Barbara Mikulski and Nancy Kassebaum, as well as the newly elected Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Carol Moseley Braun in the Senate. The press called it “the year of the woman,” prompting some well-deserved eye-rolling. “Calling 1992 the ‘year of the woman’ makes it sound like the ‘year of the caribou’ or ‘year of the asparagus,’” quipped Mikulski. “We’re not a fad, a fancy, or a year.”

- The Atlantic
”: From talk of the House Republicans, now to a top Senate Democrat. Senator Patty Murray of Washington state is chair of the Senate Budget Committee and secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference. Welcome to the program, Senator Murray. SENATOR PATTY MURRAY: Well, very nice to talk to you. SIEGEL: And we'll get to the debt ceiling in a second, but first, the continuing resolution. And a point where it seems Democrats and Republicans are in at least provisional agreement, is it fair these days to say that the sequestration that's taken effect, the across-the-board cuts to federal spending are the new normal and we should assume that they'll be the starting point for future spending talks just as they're reflected in the Senate Democratic continuing resolution? MURRAY: I absolutely disagree with that. Replacing sequestration is one of my top priorities. I replaced sequestration with responsible spending cuts and new revenue in the Senate budget that we passed. That will be the vehicle that we go to conference with the House bill, which is dramatically different. But the cuts from sequestration, across the board, have hurt everything from medical research to people's salaries who are really critical parts of our government, whether they're civilian employees or they work for one of our agencies. And we are seeing the jobs and economic loss as a result of this very bad law going into place across the board. So replacing sequestration is a top priority of ours as we go into the broader budget negotiations.

- NPR (All Things Considered)
”: Washington’s senior senator says she won’t let Republicans sacrifice the new health care law in order to pass a budget. The Republican-controlled House is pushing a plan that would do just that. Sen. Patty Murray took to the Senate floor Wednesday to tell them, “It’s not gonna happen.” Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, criticized Republicans not only for threatening the Affordable Care Act, but for risking a government shutdown or default. “We are not going to let this law get sabotaged as it continues to benefit millions of families and small business owners. And the sooner Republicans realize this, the sooner we can get to work defusing this latest artificial crisis,” Murray said. Murray cited a poll showing that fewer than one in four people support defunding the law. Republicans come back with polls of their own. House Speaker John Boehner points to a Pew survey showing a majority of Americans disapprove of Obamacare as evidence that people support pulling the plug on the law.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend, that she expects Republicans seeking to curb President Barack Obama’s health-care law probably will give in to demands by her fellow Democrats to enact a “clean” bill raising the nation’s debt ceiling. AL HUNT: We begin the show with the chairman of the Senate Budget committee, Senator Patty Murray of Washington. Thank you for being with us, Madam Chairman. PATTY MURRAY: It’s great to be with you, Al. HUNT: Do you agree now with the potential showdown 10 days away that the real big fight is not likely to be over the continuing resolution, the budget, but you’ll probably do something short-term on that? MURRAY: Well, I’ve been surprised at the ballyhoo about a short-term budget agreement, to just keep government running while we deal with the bigger issue of where we’re going to go in the future. And I’m hopeful that those people who feel they have to have a temper tantrum before they do it will get over that very quickly and we can move on, because it is important that we address our budget challenges in the coming year and years as quickly as possible.

- Bloomberg - Political Capital with Al Hunt
In the government funding and debt-ceiling drama playing out on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats have found a leading lady. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has attempted to go to conference on the Senate Democratic budget more than a dozen times this year. Each time Republicans have objected, worried that their House colleagues would agree to a deal on funding the government, raising the debt ceiling, or both. The result is that, just as Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have become the face of conservative opposition to Obamacare, Murray has taken up the Democratic standard on sequestration and the budget. As the Budget Committee chairwoman, Murray has gone to the Senate floor more than any other Democrat to seek an agreement on heading to conference. Her message often carries two major party talking points: Republicans are divided over how to proceed on the fiscal fight, and the public would blame the GOP for a government shutdown or a default.

- National Journal

"The use of chemical weapons, as well as conventional weapons, on innocent civilians in Syria is abhorrent and must end. However, as the recent past has taught us, we must be exceedingly cautious in making any decision that holds the possibility of entangling our nation in a long, drawn-out conflict. So while I have very serious concerns about any military action that would further strain our nation’s servicemembers and limited resources, I also know that, to this point, the President has only discussed considering limited, targeted actions.

"I have been in touch with senior White House officials and have made clear my concerns about repeating many of the mistakes of the past. I await the President’s decision and believe that we must continue to proceed with caution but with the clear goal of protecting innocent families from further attacks."

Five years later, Wild Sky is still wild. This was precisely the goal of the people who pushed for the creation of the Wild Sky Wilderness area in the Cascade Mountains -- to set aside a wild area to make sure it stays that way. About 60 people gathered in Index on Tuesday to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the designation of more than 106,000 acres near Index as off-limits to any kind of development." This is a big deal," said Meg Town, who formerly lived near Index and now lives in Duvall. "This is a special area."U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen, who saw the measure through Congress, attended.

- Everett Herald
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is removing hurdles for military members who’ll be joining Washington’s civilian ranks. She met with veterans and their advocates Wednesday at Olympic College to hear how her efforts are proceeding. Passed in November 2011, Murray’s VOW to Hire Heroes Act: — Made the military’s transition assistance program mandatory. — Allowed military members to begin the federal employment process before they separate. — Provided unemployed veterans of past wars with an extra year of GI Bill benefits to quality for high-demand jobs like trucking and technology.

- Kitsap Sun
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray signaled support Tuesday for the latest push to revive the Columbia River Crossing, saying the effort to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge should remain a priority. The Washington Democrat has long been a supporter of the $3.4 billion CRC, which began shutting down July 1 after receiving no money from the Washington Legislature. But last week, a group of business leaders and other supporters called for a new approach that would essentially bypass Washington lawmakers and give Oregon the lead on a phased project. Those supporters include Columbian Publisher Scott Campbell. The Washington and Oregon governors have said they'll at least look at the idea. After years of work and more than $170 million spent in planning, Murray said she welcomes the push that aims to salvage at least some of the CRC. "The investment that we've made is extremely critical," Murray said. "It should not go to waste, and we ought to look at every possibility to try and make sure this bridge gets replaced." The plan floated last week would keep the bridge component of the CRC the same, with light rail. It would rebuild freeway interchanges on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, plus the state Highway 14 interchange that connects directly to the bridge in Washington. But any additional freeway work in Washington would wait until lawmakers in Olympia decided to put up money of their own.

- The Columbian