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Murray expressed outstanding concerns with nominees Tillerson, DeVos, Price, and Puzder – millionaires, billionaires, campaign insiders, and contributors

Trump’s executive order restricting Muslim immigration and banning refugees is causing chaos and worry across the country

Murray: “We Democrats consider it our job to stand up when President Trump tries to hurt the families we represent.” 

*Video HERE*

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to lay out her deep and continuing concerns with a number of President Trump’s cabinet nominees, many of whom have had hearings before Senate committees. Sen. Murray highlighted specific concerns with Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, Rep. Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor. Each of these nominees do not represent the working class that President Trump promised to stand with during his campaign. Instead, he’s cozying up to Wall Street and the “big business” he promised to “drain from the swamp,” who now make up most of his cabinet.

Senator Murray also talked about the devastating impact of President Trump’s callous and un-American executive order that restricts Muslim immigrants and bans refugees, leaving families in limbo and causing chaos at our nation’s airports. She spoke about how Democrats will stand up to President Trump for families who could be torn apart as a result of the ban.

Excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared:

With the stroke of a pen, the Trump Administration caused chaos and heartbreak for hundreds of families, many of whom are our friends, our neighbors, and our co-workers. On Saturday night, members of this Congress—including myself—were denied answers to even the most basic questions from border enforcement officials—questions that affect the people we represent. And while I'm glad that a federal judge quickly issued a stay, and that the Department of Homeland Security has since provided further guidance on the executive order, many questions remain and too many lives hang in the balance.”

“I am going to keep fighting back as hard as I can—and I encourage everyone who is listening and watching right now to continue making their voices heard. Because President Trump is already governing the way he campaigned: by dividing our country,  pushing extreme policies that hurt families across the country.”

“As we all remember, President Trump said he was going to “drain the swamp”—but he seems to think the way to do that is by filling it with even bigger swamp creatures. He said he was going to stand with the working class and fight Wall Street and big business—but he’s nominated a cabinet full of: Wall Street bankers, billionaires and millionaires, friends, insiders, and campaign contributors.”

“As many of my colleagues have discussed today, one clear example of President Trump’s broken promise to “drain the swamp” is the nomination of Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, for Secretary of State. This is a nominee who is not only a known friend and business partner to Russia, but someone who publically spoke against sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine and Crimea. People in my home state of Washington have significant concerns about who he plans to work for. And so do I—concerns that Mr. Tillerson failed to adequately address in his hearing.”

“My Republican colleagues rushed us into a hearing on President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, for example. When we started the hearing—the Republican chairman, the senior Senator from Tennessee, preemptively declared that he would be limiting questions to just five minutes per member—a shocking and disappointing breach of Committee tradition clearly intended to limit public scrutiny. And when the questions began—it quickly became clear why Republicans felt the need to protect her.”

Now—I can understand why Republicans wouldn’t want Congressman Tom Price to defend his policies, which would: take health care coverage away from families, voucherize Medicare, and undermine women’s access to reproductive health services. Despite President Trump’s promises to make health care better for patients and even provide “insurance for everybody.” But these are issues that families and communities deserve to hear about. And they also deserve a thorough investigation into serious questions about whether Congressman Price had access to non-public information when he made certain medical stock trades while in the House. ”

“And lastly, M. President, I’ve grown increasingly concerned that President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, represents yet another broken promise to put workers first. On issue after issue, Andrew Puzder has made clear he will do what’s best for big businesses like his own at the expense of workers and their families. He’s spoken out against a strong increase in the minimum wage. He’s been one of the most vocal opponents of our efforts to update the rules so that millions more workers can earn overtime pay.”

Senator Murray’s full remarks as prepared:

“I’d like to address some of the very serious concerns posed by the nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, along with several other of President Trump’s cabinet nominees. But first, I want to briefly address what unfolded this weekend at airports across the country, following President Trump’s appalling and un-American ban on Muslims and refugees from entering the country.

“With the stroke of a pen, the Trump Administration caused chaos and heartbreak for hundreds of families, many of whom are our friends, our neighbors, and our co-workers. On Saturday night, members of this Congress—including myself—were denied answers to even the most basic questions from border enforcement officials—questions that affect the people we represent. And while I'm glad that a federal judge quickly issued a stay, and that the Department of Homeland Security has since provided further guidance on the executive order, many questions remain and too many lives hang in the balance.

“I am going to keep fighting back as hard as I can—and I encourage everyone who is listening and watching right now to continue making their voices heard. Because President Trump is already governing the way he campaigned: by dividing our country,  pushing extreme policies that hurt families across the country. Again, we saw this so clearly in the executive orders he signed this past week, but it’s also something we’ve seen in the cabinet nominees he’s put forward since his election.

“As we all remember, President Trump said he was going to “drain the swamp”—but he seems to think the way to do that is by filling it with even bigger swamp creatures. He said he was going to stand with the working class and fight Wall Street and big business—but he’s nominated a cabinet full of: Wall Street bankers, billionaires and millionaires, friends, insiders, and campaign contributors.

“As many of my colleagues have discussed today, one clear example of President Trump’s broken promise to “drain the swamp” is the nomination of Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, for Secretary of State. This is a nominee who is not only a known friend and business partner to Russia, but someone who publically spoke against sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine and Crimea. People in my home state of Washington have significant concerns about who he plans to work for. And so do I—concerns that Mr. Tillerson failed to adequately address in his hearing.

“As I’ve said before, reports of Russia meddling in our elections should disturb and outrage every American—Democrat, Republican, or independent—who believes that the integrity of our elections is fundamental to the strength of our democracy. And that’s why it’s so critical we have a Secretary of State who will stand up to protect these values.  

“Along with Rex Tillerson, I have serious concerns with the nominees going through the Senate HELP Committee, as well as the vetting process that has taken place. My Republican colleagues rushed us into a hearing on President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, for example. When we started the hearing—the Republican chairman, the senior Senator from Tennessee, preemptively declared that he would be limiting questions to just five minutes per member—a shocking and disappointing breach of Committee tradition clearly intended to limit public scrutiny. And when the questions began—it quickly became clear why Republicans felt the need to protect her.

“Ms. DeVos refused to rule out slashing investments in or privatizing public schools. She was confused about the need for federal protections for students with disabilities. She argued that guns needed to be allowed in schools across the country to “protect from grizzlies.” And even though she was willing to say that President Trump’s behavior toward women should be considered sexual assault—she wouldn’t commit to actually enforcing federal law protecting women and girls in our schools.

“I would say I was shocked at this candidate’s lack of qualifications to serve—but at this point, nothing surprises me when it comes to President Trump’s new Administration.

“As was the case with Ms. DeVos—Democrats were also unable to thoroughly question President Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services, Congressman Tom Price. Now—I can understand why Republicans wouldn’t want Congressman Tom Price to defend his policies, which would: take health care coverage away from families, voucherize Medicare, and undermine women’s access to reproductive health services.

“Despite President Trump’s promises to make health care better for patients and even provide “insurance for everybody.” But these are issues that families and communities deserve to hear about. And they also deserve a thorough investigation into serious questions about whether Congressman Price had access to non-public information when he made certain medical stock trades while in the House.

“And lastly, M. President, I’ve grown increasingly concerned that President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, represents yet another broken promise to put workers first. On issue after issue, Andrew Puzder has made clear he will do what’s best for big businesses like his own at the expense of workers and their families. He’s spoken out against a strong increase in the minimum wage. He’s been one of the most vocal opponents of our efforts to update the rules so that millions more workers can earn overtime pay.

“Puzder has even talked about replacing workers with robots, because they “never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”  And he has aggressively defended his company’s offensive ads—leaving women across the country wondering whether he can be trusted in a role that is so critical to women’s rights and safety in the workplace.

“Now, all of that makes a lot of sense coming from a millionaire CEO who profits off of squeezing workers, but it’s very concerning coming from a potential Secretary of Labor—someone who should be standing up for workers and making sure they get treated fairly, rather than mistreated. So, now more than ever, people across the country want to know how the Trump Administration will continue to impact their lives, and we Democrats consider it our job to stand up when President Trump tries to hurt the families we represent.

“We are ready to stand with the families we represent, to hold him and his Administration accountable—and we refuse to back down and are prepared to fight back. Thank you, and I yield the floor.”

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