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Sen. Patty Murray calls lack of affordable child care ‘silent epidemic’ during virtual Northwest Passages forum – MORE HERE FROM SPOKESMAN-REVIEW

***WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE***

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday during a live interview with Spokane Spokesman-Review reporter Orion Donovan-Smith, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, highlighted the pressing need for quality, affordable child care in Washington state and outlined her plans to address this crisis and other longstanding challenges that families across the state have faced even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I grew up in a family with 7 kids, and my dad went to work while my mom stayed home with us. Then suddenly, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. All of a sudden, my mom could no longer take care of her kids, take care of my dad, and work. So I saw, generations ago, the challenge of women being able to provide for their families,” said Senator Murray. “Then of course, I went to work and I saw the same things happening. Now, here we are today where my daughter is still facing the same challenges because our families don’t have a good child care policy in this country.”

During the interview, Senator Murray discussed how her childhood and her experience as a mother have influenced her work as a voice for Washington state in the Senate and led her to fight for increased access to quality, affordable child care and paid family leave for working families in Washington state. Senator Murray also outlined her solutions to the challenges families are facing when it comes to child care and paid family leave; citing the Child Care for Working Families Act and the FAMILY Act. Major provisions from these two pieces of legislation have largely been included in President Biden’s American Families Plan.

“We’re finally bringing these policies back to the forefront. At this time, where so many families have struggled with this. It is a silent epidemic in our country. What do I do if my child is sick or my husband is sick? How do I keep my job and my income and my ability to put a roof over my kids’ heads?” said Senator Murray. “This is a country where we should be supporting peoples’ choice to go to work, to contribute to our economy. And that’s why I feel so passionate about it.”

Senator Murray highlighted the importance of passing the American Families Plan along with the American Jobs Plan to ensure that the progress gained following the American Rescue Plan isn’t lost and we do more than just get back to “normal” for people when “normal” wasn’t working for Washington state families even before the pandemic. And Senator Murray made clear that the best way to get this done is to ensure the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share to invest in the working and middle class families that have built and strengthened America’s economy. 

“I see this as an era where we are saying the ‘you’re on your own, good luck’ philosophy didn’t work. It didn’t work before the pandemic, the pandemic split it wide open, and now we have to put together a United States of America where we have the confidence to say we want people at work, we want them to be able to do a good job, we want to utilize people’s abilities, and in order to do that [The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan are] what we need in place to make that work. That is going to help our country grow and expand and be prosperous,” Senator Murray said.

Finally, Senator Murray made clear that inaction on the American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan is not an option.

“You have to have partners on both sides that are willing to reach out and work together to find a path forward,” Senator Murray said. “I think that is the right way to go, but if our partner is Mitch McConnell saying ‘I don’t want any of this to pass because I don’t want Democrats to win,’ I’m going to say wait a minute, this is about our country winning, this is about parents who are struggling at home to try to make ends meet and who are worried about how they’re going to go to work tomorrow without child care, or worried about how they’re going to be able to send their kids to college; worried about the future of their own families, and at some point we have to say we’re going to get this done, we’re going to go through reconciliation.”

To watch the whole interview, see HERE and for the Spokesman-Review’s article on the interview see HERE. 

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