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Working against popular opinion, Republicans ended the year without renewing critical funding for CHIP & CHC/THCs, permanent solution for DACA recipients

“…we’re headed into 2018 ready to fight back harder than ever against the backward policies and even more backwards priorities this Republican-controlled Congress is forcing on families and communities”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S REMARKS HERE*** 

(Washington, D.C.) Joined by fellow Senate Democratic leaders at an end-of-year news conference, today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) criticized Senate Republicans for their lack of action before the end of the year on several legislative priorities that would provide critical support to middle class families in Washington state and nationwide, and highlighted a number of ways Republicans have hurt women, workers, retirees, and students by rolling back rules intended to put them first—choosing instead to prioritize massive corporations and special interests.

Republicans have wasted months failing to pass their disastrous Trumpcare bill and rushing to jam through their unpopular tax plan instead of taking up several policies aimed at helping working families, like renewing funding for community health center and special diabetes programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or finding a permanent legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals program, known as DACA. Additionally, Republicans undertook several actions over the last year that weaken protections for middle class families, including eliminating rules for worker safety, undermining women’s access to reproductive health care, taking away retirement savings options, and undermining guardrails intended to ensure all children receive a quality education, no matter who they are or how much money their parents make.

In her remarks, Senator Murray blasted Republicans for wasting the past year championing legislation that primarily benefits the wealthiest corporations and richest Americans, and refusing to work across the aisle to advance policies that would aid middle class families, saying “…this year, more than ever, Republicans have made clear exactly what it is they want to do: take from the very people President Trump said he would help and give to the wealthy and special interests. “

“…the massive burden they’ve put on the middle class is wrong—for families and for our country as a whole,” Senator Murray added. “This isn’t the direction we should be headed in.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s remarks HERE. 

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Senator Durbin. I have to say—at the beginning of this year—I held out some hope that President Trump was serious about what he’d said over and over again the campaign trail, that he was going to put workers first—and fight for the middle class, and I hoped that maybe—just maybe—Republicans in Congress would take those promises seriously too—and work with Democrats to make them a reality.

But instead, as Senators Schumer and Durbin said—this year, more than ever, Republicans have made clear exactly what it is they want to do: take from the very people President Trump said he would help and give to the wealthy and special interests. Now, thanks to the work of people across the country who stood up and fought back, Republicans haven’t always succeeded.

But one way they’ve jammed their damaging agenda through is by rolling back rule after rule designed to protect workers, retirees, students, and women. Instead of helping workers left behind in today’s economy, Republicans made it easier for corporations to hide workplace dangers from workers—putting their lives at risk. And they rolled back a rule simply designed to help make sure that everyone—men and women—gets paid fairly on the job. Instead of dealing with the retirement crisis keeping workers up at night—Republicans took away options to help them save for their retirement.

Rather than simply leaving key protections in place designed to help all students get a high-quality public education, which really should not be controversial, Republicans acted to undermine those guardrails. And even though millions of men and women get affordable, quality care at Title X family planning clinics each, care that they otherwise might not be able to afford, Republicans bowed to extreme right-wing ideology and made it possible for states to discriminate against these providers when making funding decisions, a choice which could leave people who are most in need of care going without.

This is a long, long list of damage done to the middle class—to Democrats and Republicans and people from all across the country—and unfortunately I could keep going. With so many middle class workers and families are being hurt by these policies, it’s worth asking—who is getting help? Just like the in the Republican tax bill—the answer is special interests, and those already at the top, massive corporations who care more about boosting profits than treating their workers fairly. And special interests who drown out women who can’t access health care they need, and children who all deserve a quality public education.  So this isn’t a mystery. It’s very clear who Republicans are putting first and who frankly isn’t on their list at all.

But the massive burden they’ve put on the middle class is wrong—for families and for our country as a whole. This isn’t the direction we should be headed in. Democrats know it. You better believe people across the country know it. And we’re headed into 2018 ready to fight back harder than ever against the backward policies and even more backwards priorities this Republican-controlled Congress is forcing on families and communities.

Thank you and I’ll turn it over to Senator Stabenow.