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During a series of roundtable phone meetings with local small business owners, veterans’ service providers and rural health care providers, Senator Murray discussed the coronavirus’ impact on Eastern Washington—and what she’s doing to help

Senator Murray heard from small business owners about their issues accessing federal aid, and discussed what she’s doing to help secure additional relief going forward 

During roundtable discussions with health care providers and veterans’ service providers in Eastern Washington, Senator Murray discussed what the measures she’s fighting for to specifically support small and rural hospitals, as well as veterans, during this crisis

Senator Murray: “I’m going to continue pushing to make sure Washingtonians on both sides of the Cascades have the federal support needed to get through this crisis”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee and a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, met by phone with Eastern Washington health care providers, veterans’ service providers, and small business leaders to hear about the myriad challenges they’re facing during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and how the federal government can better assist. During the discussions, Senator Murray also highlighted her oversight work to ensure that vital funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act quickly reach those in need, and her efforts to secure additional funding for Eastern Washington priorities in future coronavirus relief legislation.

“I’m going to continue reaching out and listening to people across the state about how Congress can better support workers and communities being directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and response—including in Eastern Washington,” Senator Murray said. “More than ever, I believe the purpose of government in times like this is to step up and make sure none of us is left out on our own, and I’m going to continue pushing to make sure Washingtonians on both sides of the Cascades have the federal support needed to get through this crisis.”

Senator Murray first spoke with small business owners and leaders from Spokane, Walla Walla, Pullman, Colville, and other Eastern Washington communities to hear about the challenges they are facing as they try to weather the economic storm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and response. During the discussion, Senator Murray heard from local business owners about their difficulties procuring loans and relief funding, and the need for more government assistance through programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program in order to keep local businesses afloat. Senator Murray highlighted the work she is doing in the Senate to improve the current grant and loan relief system, and secure increased funding for small businesses in Eastern Washington and across the country.

Additionally, in an afternoon phone meeting with veterans service providers in the Spokane area, Senator Murray highlighted some of the specific relief for veterans’ health care that she fought to include in the CARES Act, including telehealth at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, and how she would continue prioritizing veterans in the next coronavirus package. Senator Murray also heard from health care providers at the Spokane Veterans Home about how they are dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak there and how staff at Mann-Grandstaff and Spokane Veterans Center are adapting to support veterans during this crisis.

Senator Murray closed out the day by talking to the heads of rural hospitals from Pullman, Davenport, Republic, and other regional communities about how the federal government could best support their health care efforts on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. The providers highlighted a number of unique challenges they’re facing such as severe revenue drops, limited PPE access, and dire funding needs to continue serving their communities and retain employees, and Senator Murray discussed her efforts in previous and future coronavirus relief legislation to get rural hospitals the funding they need and health care workers the supplies they need to safely treat patients and help save lives.