News Releases

Senator Murray: “Republican Budget Proposal Would Devastate Middle Class Families and the Economy”

Mar 09 2011

Highlights estimated impact of Republican proposal: 700,000 jobs lost across country, 15,000 in Washington state

Watch Senator Murray on Senate floor

 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to contrast the Republican and Democratic spending proposals currently being debated on the Senate floor. Murray told the stories of Washington state workers and students to highlight the impact that the Republicans’ extreme proposal would have on families across the country. And she urged her colleagues to come together around the Democrats’ plans to cut spending responsibly while not threatening our economic recovery and continuing to make the investments we need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our competitors.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech:

“…our nation’s budget is a statement of our values, our priorities, and our vision for what kind of country we will be handing off to our children and grandchildren.”

“I am extremely disappointed that Republicans who came into office talking about the economy, have proposed an extreme budget that would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, devastate workers and small businesses across the country, and threaten our fragile economic recovery.

“I am disappointed that at a time when middle class families still need some support to get back on their feet after the Wall Street Crisis, Republicans have proposed a highly politicized, slash-and-burn budget that would pull the rug out from under these families and their children.

“And I am disappointed that while the Senate Democratic proposal makes responsible and practical budget cuts that will allow us to continue out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our competitors—Republicans are proposing a budget that would hack away at investments across the board and threaten our nation’s ability to compete now and in the future.”

“…not only will the Republican proposal devastate middle class families across the country—it would also halt the beginnings of an economic recovery that our families and small business owners desperately need to take root.  Last month, our economy added over 200,000 private sector jobs and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in two years. We have a long way to go, but I am confident we have turned the corner and are moving in the right direction. But economists on both the left and the right have come out and said that if the Republican proposal were to pass, the economic recovery and millions of jobs across the country would be threatened.”

“I urge my Republicans colleagues to come to the table and work with us to pass a responsible, long-term budget that reflects our priorities, gets workers back on the job, and invests in America’s future. “


The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:

“Madam President, our nation’s budget is a statement of our values, our priorities, and our vision for what kind of country we will be handing off to our children and grandchildren.  

“Working together to pass a responsible and forward-looking budget that works for the American people is one of the most important jobs we have here in the United States Senate.

“The outcome of this process will affect millions of families across the country, and the decisions we make this week will go a long way toward determining if our economy will continue moving in the right direction.

“So I would like to speak about two very different budgets being debated today, with two very different statements about what we should be focused on as a country, and two very different visions for how we need to be positioned to compete successfully and win the future.

“Madam President, this shouldn’t be a partisan process. And I am still hopeful we can work together on budget plan that cuts spending responsibly and works for the American people.

“But I am extremely disappointed that Republicans who came into office talking about the economy, have proposed an extreme budget that would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, devastate workers and small businesses across the country, and threaten our fragile economic recovery.

“I am disappointed that at a time when middle class families still need some support to get back on their feet after the Wall Street Crisis, Republicans have proposed a highly politicized, slash-and-burn budget that would pull the rug out from under these families and their children.

“And I am disappointed that while the Senate Democratic proposal makes responsible and practical budget cuts that will allow us to continue out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our competitors—Republicans are proposing a budget that would hack away at investments across the board and threaten our nation’s ability to compete now and in the future.

“Madam President, we are going to hear a lot of big numbers here today—I am going to mention some myself. But I think it’s important we keep in mind that this debate is about more than dollars and cents—it’s about real people, with real lives.

“I recently heard from the South Central Workforce Development Council in Washington state, who told me about a man they worked with named Damon.

“Damon had been laid off from his job testing machine equipment—work he had held for almost ten years.  He and his wife had to move back in with his father, and no matter how hard he tried, he simply couldn’t find work that matched his skills.

“So Damon decided to do something about it.  He went to his local one-stop career center, sat down with counselors who talked him through what local employers were looking for—and decided he was going to learn computer networking.

“Damon studied hard and graduated from a local computer technology program—and despite the tough economy, he was able to work with the one-stop center to find a new job in his new industry.

“Damon was able to get back on his feet and support his family because of this program—and he’s not alone.

“Millions of Americans depend on workforce training programs to get the skills they need to get back to work and help our economy grow —including nearly 400,000 in my home state of Washington.

“But House Republicans have proposed eliminating these critical programs and cutting off services for the workers who depend on them.  And at a time when so many workers are fighting to get back on the job, this would be simply devastating.

“Madam President, I also recently met with a woman named Tiffany, from Chehalis, Washington.

“Tiffany told me that her stepson, Rodney, had some difficult family circumstances and had fallen behind his peers—but that she and her husband couldn’t afford the private education they thought he would need to catch up.

“Then she heard about Head Start from a friend, and enrolled Rodney in her local program.

“Tiffany told me she saw the difference within months. And just a short time later, Rodney was ready for Kindergarten, and is now the top reader in his first grade class!

“Tiffany and her family got the support they needed—and they too are far from alone. 

“Nearly one million families and their children depend on Head Start—but the Republican proposal would eliminate services for about 218,000 children—including more than 3,000 in my home state of Washington, close 16,000 classrooms across the country, and cause up to 55,000 teachers and staff to lose their jobs.

“Again, this extreme, slash-and-burn approach is simply wrong—it would hurt the most vulnerable children and families in our country, and leave us at a competitive disadvantage in the future.

“Madam President, the Republican proposal also slashes Community Development Block Grants by 62%, which would eliminate services and decimate housing and economic development programs in communities across the country.

“It guts the community health centers that so many Americans depend on for their care, eliminating funding outright for 127 clinics in 38 states, reducing services at over 1,000 centers nationwide, cutting off health care for almost 3 million Americans, and causing up to 5,000 workers across the country to lose their jobs.

“But Madam President, not only will the Republican proposal devastate middle class families across the country—it would also halt the beginnings of an economic recovery that our families and small business owners desperately need to take root.

“Last month, our economy added over 200,000 private sector jobs and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in two years. We have a long way to go, but I am confident we have turned the corner and are moving in the right direction. But economists on both the left and the right have come out and said that if the Republican proposal were to pass, the economic recovery and millions of jobs across the country would be threatened.

“In fact, one independent analyst said the Republicans’ plan could destroy up to 700,000 American jobs across the country. Including an estimated 15,000 in my home state of Washington.

“This would be absolutely devastating—and we simply can’t afford to let that to happen.

“That’s why, Madam President, the Senate Democratic proposal would take our country in a very different direction.

“It would also cut spending—billions of dollars, in fact—but it would do so in a responsible and practical way that protects the middle class families who need it most.

“And Madam President—our proposal also continues to make the investments we need as a country to compete and win in the 21st century economy.

“Take the highly successful TIGER program I helped create, for example.  Communities across the country have been competing hard for resources from this program so they can invest in transportation projects that make a significant contribution to the nation, their region, or their metropolitan area.

“The TIGER program is putting workers on the job, and it is helping lay down a strong foundation for economic growth across the country.

“But Madam President— the Republican proposal would not only eliminate this program completely and slam the door on communities that want to invest in their infrastructure,  it would also take back every penny of funding already promised in last year’s budget—which would halt 75 projects in 40 states that are ready to go, and put over 33,000 jobs at risk.

“This doesn’t make any sense—and the Democratic proposal would protect this critical investment.

“Madam President, the Republican proposal would also jeopardize public health and the environment by gutting the laws that keep our air and water clean. 

“It cuts nearly $2 billion in funding for clean water infrastructure which local communities need to keep our families safe from dangerous pollution. And it slashes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses revenue from offshore oil leases to protect some of the most treasured places in our country. 

“But Madam President, that’s not all—the extreme Republican proposal would also slash investments in our students and children—including a $700 million cut to Title I funding, which would affect 2,400 schools serving 1 million students, and a 15% cut to Pell Grants, which would make it harder for low-income students to go to college.

“Their proposal would even slash some of the bipartisan programs we’ve created to keep our families safe, including massive, 66% cuts to both the transit security grant program that helps communities keep their trains and subways safe, as well as the port security grant program that helps protect critical economic and national security assets across the country.

“And this just doesn’t make sense.

“If a terrorist attack were to occur at one of our ports or transit systems, it would be absolutely devastating for our families and our economy—which is why the Democratic proposal protects these critical national security investments.

“Madam President—these are just a few examples of the radical and irresponsible cuts proposed in the Republican budget—there are many more.

“We absolutely need to cut spending and bring down the deficit. Democrats and Republicans agree about that.

“But we need to do that responsibly. And we can’t allow it to happen on the backs of middle class families across the country.

“Madam President, I believe the Republican proposal fails to meet those standards.

“It would hurt middle class families, it would threaten our economic recovery, and it would devastate our ability to compete now and in the future.

“So I urge my colleagues to support the Democratic proposal.

“And if we can’t pass something today, I urge my Republicans colleagues to come to the table and work with us to pass a responsible, long-term budget that reflects our priorities, gets workers back on the job, and invests in America’s future. 

“Thank you. I yield the floor.”