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Murray: “Just days away from the looming fiscal deadline, Republicans are backed as far into their partisan corner as they can get and are focused on their favorite political past-time: attacking women’s health.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee delivered remarks on the Senate floor on the continued Republican attacks on women’s health and Republican leaders’ failure to work with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. In her remarks, Murray criticized Republicans for planning a vote next week on extreme legislation that would restrict a women’s right to make choices about her own body, instead of working across the aisle to prevent a budget crisis.

Murray called on Republican leaders to drop their brinkmanship and instead, join Democrats at the table to prevent a shutdown and build on the foundation set in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 with another agreement that rolls back cuts to key investments in education, infrastructure, research, and defense jobs.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Right now, we are on course for yet another Republican government shutdown in just thirteen days. We know what this looks like—and how damaging it is—because we saw it just two years ago, when Tea Party Republicans dug in their heels, and tried to use shutdown threats to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

“I was hopeful that after that economy-rattling exercise in futility, and the bipartisan deal that came out of it—Republican leaders would learn a few lessons. Well—two years later as our bipartisan deal is set to expire—here we are, with another Republican government shutdown just around the corner. And what, M. President, are Republican leaders doing about this? What is their plan to avoid a repeat of 2013? Are they working with Democrats to keep the government open and negotiate a budget deal—like we’ve been pushing them to do for months? Unfortunately, the answer is no.”

“…Just days away from the looming fiscal deadline, Republicans are backed as far into their partisan corner as they can get and are focused on their favorite political past-time: attacking women’s health…Instead of spending the coming week working to avoid a budget crisis, Republicans are—unbelievably—planning to vote on yet another restriction on women’s health and rights. Honestly—they should be ashamed of themselves. This is transparent pandering that is bad for women, bad for the economy, and bad for our country. People across the country are watching this—and they are appalled.”

“This particular bill—an extreme, unconstitutional abortion ban, would restrict a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own choices about her own health and body. It would mean that if a young woman endures rape or incest, she would have to go to the police before getting the care she needs—and it would take the right to choose away from adult victims of incest entirely. And finally, this bill would allow politicians in Washington, D.C. to get between a woman and her doctor, by making it a crime for doctors to provide health care their patients need. Now—this kind of dangerous, extreme legislation might appeal to the Tea Party, but it is going nowhere.”

“A new report from the CBO shows that if Republicans get their way and Planned Parenthood loses funding, as many as 630,000 women would be unable to get birth control. And hundreds of thousands of women—many of whom don’t have convenient access health care clinics or providers besides Planned Parenthood—would experience reduced access to care.  It is appalling that in the 21st century, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are pushing to take health care away from women who need it.’

 “Republican leaders have a choice. As Senator McConnell said, they inevitably will have to work with Democrats – whether now, or later. And the only question is how much pain they are willing to put workers and businesses through before they drop the politics, stop pandering to the Tea Party, and come to the table. Democrats are ready to get to work, and I hope that—finally—Republican leaders are too.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“Thank you, M. President.

 

“Right now, we are on course for yet another Republican government shutdown in just thirteen days. We know what this looks like—and how damaging it is—because we saw it just two years ago, when Tea Party Republicans dug in their heels, and tried to use shutdown threats to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

 

“We know that during the 16-day shutdown that followed this Tea Party tantrum, workers across the country didn’t know when they would get their next paycheck, businesses felt the sting of fewer customers, and families across the country lost even more trust that elected officials in Washington, D.C. could get anything done at all.

 

“And after all that—after all the damage families and communities felt—we also know that the 2013 government shutdown did nothing to stop the Affordable Care Act.

 

“M. President, once that shutdown ended, I was proud to work with Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan to do what we shouldn’t have needed a shutdown to get done: negotiate a two-year bipartisan budget deal that prevented another government shutdown, restored critical investments in priorities like education, research, and defense jobs, and showed families that their government can get something done when both sides are willing to come to the table and compromise.

 

“I was hopeful that after that economy-rattling exercise in futility, and the bipartisan deal that came out of it—Republican leaders would learn a few lessons. Well—two years later as our bipartisan deal is set to expire—here we are, with another Republican government shutdown just around the corner.

 

“And what, M. President, are Republican leaders doing about this? What is their plan to avoid a repeat of 2013? Are they working with Democrats to keep the government open and negotiate a budget deal—like we’ve been pushing them to do for months?

 

“Unfortunately, the answer is no.

 

“Instead, just days away from the looming fiscal deadline, Republicans are backed as far into their partisan corner as they can get and are focused on their favorite political past-time: attacking women’s health.

 

“M. President, instead of spending the coming week working to avoid a budget crisis, Republicans are—unbelievably—planning to vote on yet another restriction on women’s health and rights.

 

“Honestly—they should be ashamed of themselves. This is transparent pandering that is bad for women, bad for the economy, and bad for our country. People across the country are watching this—and they are appalled.

 

“This particular bill—an extreme, unconstitutional abortion ban, would restrict a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own choices about her own health and body.

 

“It would mean that if a young woman endures rape or incest, she would have to go to the police before getting the care she needs—and it would take the right to choose away from adult victims of incest entirely. And finally, this bill would allow politicians in Washington, D.C. to get between a woman and her doctor, by making it a crime for doctors to provide health care their patients need.

 

“Now—this kind of dangerous, extreme legislation might appeal to the Tea Party, but it is going nowhere.

 

“Voting on it certainly won’t keep the government open. And just like the Republican attacks on the Affordable Care Act in 2013, this latest GOP effort to turn back the clock on women’s health is a dead end.

 

“A new report from the CBO shows that if Republicans get their way and Planned Parenthood loses funding, as many as 630,000 women would be unable to get birth control. And hundreds of thousands of women—many of whom don’t have convenient access health care clinics or providers besides Planned Parenthood—would experience reduced access to care.

 

“It is appalling that in the 21st century, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are pushing to take health care away from women who need it.

 

“So M. President, let me be very clear:  Democrats aren’t going to let Republican political pandering come before women’s health and rights—not on our watch.

 

“Now, I want to be sure that families and communities across the country heard something that Senator McConnell said yesterday.

 

He said that ‘inevitably’ Democrats and Republicans will have to work together to reach a bipartisan budget deal. Well, M. President—I think the workers and businesses who struggled through the last government shutdown are wondering what the holdup is.

 

“Why do we need another round of drama and brinkmanship before we can work together? Why do we need to see the countdown clocks—once again—counting down the days until another Republican shutdown? And why—once again—do women and their health care need to come under attack before Republicans can do the right thing?

 

“I’m certainly wondering—and I know my Democratic colleagues are too.

 

“M. President, Republican leaders have a choice. As Senator McConnell said, they inevitably will have to work with Democrats – whether now, or later.

 

“And the only question is how much pain they are willing to put workers and businesses through before they drop the politics, stop pandering to the Tea Party, and come to the table.

 

“Democrats are ready to get to work, and I hope that—finally—Republican leaders are too.”