Patty in the News

The duty of the U.S. Supreme Court is to read the law, but its decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act demonstrates how high court justices have two other areas of close study. The Supreme Court follows election returns, and the nation’s social trends.

“They live in this country: They swim in the oceans of culture,” Pam Karlan, co-director of Stanford University’s Supreme Court litigation workshop, and herself a former clerk at the court, told a workshop in California last weekend.

- Seattle PI
Speaking both as an elected official and a former preschool teacher, Washington Sen. Patty Murray told a crowd of early-education advocates today that expanding access to quality preschool is a "moral imperative" and that she and other Senate colleagues plan to introduce a comprehensive bill that would align with Obama administration priorities. Murray, a Democrat, is the chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee. But her remarks, which are embedded in the video below, mixed policy discussion with personal anecdotes. At a meeting in Spokane, Murray said that the local sheriff, Ozzie Knezovich, spoke of how he was a "Head Start kid." Murray said her own political career began when she learned her children's preschool program was going to be shuttered. "One legislator in particular told me I was just a mom in tennis shoes—and I had no chance of changing things." But parents lobbied and were able to successfully save the program, where Murray ended up teaching before running for the local school board. Murray's speech, which was hosted by the Center for American Progress, was part of a continuing effort on the part of early-childhood education supporters to provide traction for the Obama administration's $75 billion proposal to bolster state preschool programs.

- Ed Week

Senator Patty Murray laid out her priorities for immigration reform Wednesday on the floor of the U.S Senate. Her comments come as the Senate begins debate on a landmark immigration bill.

The Democratic congresswoman said she sees the effects of a broken immigration system across her home state of Washington. 

“I see it in rural parts of my state. Cities like Yakima and Moses Lake, where farmers can’t get the seasonal AG workers they need to support one of our state’s largest industries," Murray says. "I see it in big cities like Seattle, and Vancouver and Spokane, where high-tech businesses struggle to hire the world’s best and brightest.”

Murray also called for immigration changes that would keep more families together, including same-sex partners. In the U.S, marriage-based citizenship is not an option for gay couples.

The reform bill sets out a 13-year journey to citizenship for some 11 million immigrants who are in the country illegally. But that citizenship process would only begin after certain border security goals are met.

Some Republican Senators argue that the bill’s provisions to secure the border are still too weak.

President Barack Obama has urged Congress to pass an immigration reform bill by the end of the summer.


- Northwest Public Radio

Several provisions of a bill to combat military sexual assault introduced by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wa and Sen. Kelly Ayotte R-NH, have been included in legislation under consideration by the Senate Armed Services Committee. They include a measure to provide victims of sexual assault with a special victims counsel — a military lawyer who would assist sexual-assault victims throughout the legal process. Another provision would help improve the tracking of military sexual-assault statistics.

- Seattle Times
The fallout from the Skagit River Bridge collapse will head to the nation's capital on Thursday when Sen. Patty Murray brings up the issue of America's crumbling infrastructure. As work continues on a temporary span to get the Skagit River Bridge reopened to traffic, there's also a sense of urgency in Washington D.C. Murray called a Thursday hearing to asses America's infrastructure challenges and the safety issues they bring.


The Most Underestimated Feminist in DC

With a two-seat gain while chair of the DSCC and a successful effort to get a budget through the Senate under her belt, Patty Murray has become a major force in the Senate.

Jun 04 2013

Not listening in the taut senatorial style of waiting for an opening to talk, but actually listening, quietly and intently, as if the mother telling Murray how the sequester would endanger her son’s health care might provide the key to persuading the entire U.S. Senate. Lakewood, just southeast of Tacoma, lives in the shadow of the massive (six freeway exits) Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and shutdowns and furloughs created by what people here call “the other Washington” have put everyone in this fire station meeting room on edge.

- The Nation
When our best and brightest don a U.S. military uniform, they do so with the understanding that they will sacrifice much to defend our country from dangerous threats. But they shouldn’t have to face a threat from within their own ranks. Twice in two weeks, the very people in the military who are responsible for protecting victims of sexual assault have been accused of committing these crimes. These incidents are disturbing — and the secretary of defense must act swiftly to re-examine sexual assault services across the department. It is also time for Congress to enact legislation that gives victims the protections they deserve to seek justice and provides the Pentagon with the necessary tools to deal with this growing crisis. When a service member fails to live up to our values and commits sexual assault, we must ensure he or she is held accountable and that victims can come forward without fear of retribution. While the Pentagon has made good faith efforts to address this problem, it has fallen well short. This month, the Pentagon released its annual report on sexual assault in the military, showing an alarming increase in the estimated numbers of sexual assaults, from 19,000 in 2010 to 26,000 in 2012. Equally disturbing is that while the number of assaults rose, the number of assaults that were reported did not change significantly. With 3,158 cases reported in 2010 and fewer than 3,400 being reported in 2012, the vast majority of sexual assaults continue to go unreported. As military sexual assaults are becoming increasingly common, too many victims are suffering silently, unable to receive the care they need and the justice they deserve — all while continuing to bravely serve our country.

- Politico
Military sources tell NBC News the man in charge of sexual assault prevention in Fort Hood, Texas, may have allegedly coerced a female soldier into prostitution. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

- NBC Nightly News
Democrats in Congress have had a hard time convincing the public that sequestration is a problem. Their assertions that the automatic federal spending cuts are imperiling services for poor children, vulnerable seniors and the disabled are falling on disinterested ears. They know children are not getting booted in droves from Head Start programs, seniors are not getting dropped by the thousands from Meals on Wheels services and homeless teenagers are not getting sent back to the streets as shelters are shuttered. Not yet, at least. To most Americans, the sky hasn't fallen on their lives. And when the skies did get a touch unfriendly recently, Congress moved swiftly to end furloughs of air traffic controllers in order to end long waits for travelers.

- Everett Herald
Ever since the federal sequestration went into effect, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is on what you might call a “sequestration tour” to point out how the cuts are affecting this state. She’s been to Head Start classes, met with furloughed military families, talked to seniors who rely on Meals on Wheels, and, today, met with cancer researchers and patients to hear their stories about worries about the cuts. “We need to replace the entire sequestration and do it in a responsible way,” Murray said. “I am deeply concerned that the message in Washington D.C., has been, oh the sequestration, a few airport lines, we’ve fixed it, all’s good.” During a tour of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Murray met a former patient, Lisa Verner, who had stem cell transplant a few years back to treat a life-threatening lymphoma. “If we don’t have the NIH funding these clinical trials, then people like me die,” Verner said, calling the sequester cuts “disastrous.” In all, there will be $44 million in NIH sequestration cuts in Washington state between now and September that will directly impact medical research. “We are severely hampering our ability to save lives in the future, to save costs in the future, and to do what the country has always done, which is to innovate and be a leader in the world,” said Murray.

- Q13