Patty in the News

They are casualties of war not often heard about: wounded soldiers who can no longer start a family. Under its current policy, the Veterans' Administration does not assisting military families with in-vitro fertilization. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., calls the policy a disgrace, and is working to change that. Thinking of coming home to family is what gets members of the military through deployments. But some of them return home wounded and unable to conceive. Capt. Niall Kennedy is in a wheelchair with a spinal cord injury. His wife, Margeaux, is worried about him and their prospects of starting a family. "I have the ER doctors looking at me, (saying,) 'We're just trying to keep your husband alive.' And I'm like, 'Oh, he'll be fine, but I need to make sure that I can be a mom one day, like this is my dream."' Sarah and Sean Halsted found themselves in the same situation several years ago. "I fell from a helicopter about 40 feet," said Air Force veteran Sean Halsted. "Shattered all vertebrae, became a spinal cord injury." The couple chose in-vitro fertilization and conceived twins, but had to pay for the procedure themselves.

- KOMO
Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked Sen. Patty Murray’s $1 billion legislation to create a jobs corps for veterans, invoking a budget rule to kill what they contend is an unproven and unaffordable program. The 58-40 vote to waive a procedural budget motion fell two votes short. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had already postponed the vote from last Friday, when Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said the bill violates the Budget Control Act. Five Republicans sided with all 53 members of the Democratic caucus to override the GOP objection, but that was insufficient. Sixty votes were needed. The Veterans Jobs Corp Act would have trained and employed veterans for jobs in forests, wildlife refuges, parks, cemeteries and other public lands. Murray proposed paying for the $1 billion tab over five years in part by collecting delinquent taxes from Medicare providers and suppliers and from individuals with more than $50,000 in unpaid taxes. Speaking on the Senate floor before the vote, Murray said the GOP’s motion in effect told veterans the nation has spent enough money on them. The Washington Democrat, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said the bill incorporated many ideas from Republicans to improve its chance for passage.

- The Seattle Times
Senate Democrats made another push Thursday to shake a veterans jobs bill loose from procedural hurdles for passage this week. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) and bill sponsor Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida expressed frustration that the bill is being held up, and suggested lawmakers put politics aside and pass the measure bill that would provide $1 billion to help veterans find jobs. "For this to be drug out utilizing the delay tactics of the Senate rules is unconscionable and it's all balled up in the presidential election," Nelson told reporters. The legislation, which would help train veterans and help them transition into police officers, firefighters and EMTs, as well as work in the park system, is mired in a political quagmire by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who wants a vote on his bill to end aid to Pakistan before letting the Senate take a vote. "Veterans are watching, and they have no stomach for political posturing," Murray said. The lawmakers stressed that the bill is a collaboration between Democrats and Republicans and includes the bulk of an alternative bill offered by Veterans Committee ranking member Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

- The Hill
Murray, Miller, and others at the news conference had to say. (In case you are wondering, no, this is not a campaign visit – Sen. Murray won a new six-year term two years ago.) Miller introduced Sen. Murray by talking about his 80-year-old family business and its 40 or so employees, and the challenges of competing against “big stores,” as well as the importance of tax breaks. Sen. Murray said that taxes will go up unless Senate Bill 3412 is passed to extend current tax cuts.

- West Seattle Blog
After three years of work, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Congressman Norm Dicks say the compromise “Wild Olympics” bill they filed in June will suit the interests of pretty much everyone, from the hard-core environmentalists to the timber industry.

The two gathered with others at the Taylor Shellfish Works on Skookum Bay on Thursday, Aug. 16, to discuss the bill’s contents and to promote its passage.

- The Sequim Gazette
WASHINGTON — In 1973, the Suquamish Indian Tribe of Washington state accused a non-Indian man of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest and ordered him to appear in tribal court. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the charges, saying the tribe had no authority to try or punish the man.

Decades after the landmark ruling, it remains a source of irritation and frustration for tribal officials across the country, who complain they’re powerless to bring non-Indians to justice when they commit crimes on Indian lands. Tribal leaders say it’s particularly hard to prosecute rape cases.

- The News Tribune
The U.S. Senate stands behind its strengthened, bipartisan version of the Violence Against Women Act and will never accept a weaker bill from the House of Representatives, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Wednesday.

“I will not abandon Native American women, nor leave out victims of domestic violence who happen to be gay, nor immigrant women who find themselves victims, ” Murray said in an interview, referring to three groups included in the Senate legislation.

- SeattlePI
Sen. Patty Murray, (D-Wash), chairwoman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee, on Sunday said lawmakers needed to better address the long-term funding needs of Iraq and Afghan war veterans over the coming decades. “We weren’t prepared for a war that’s lasted this long with that many soldiers who had repeated deployments,” said Murray on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Murray said she feared Congress had failed to appreciate the resources that would need to be directed to care for veterans from over a decade of conflict. “This is a question our country needs to come to grips with,” she said. “This is not just going to be what do we next year or what do we need as we pull our soldiers from Iraq.

- The Hill
On Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Senator Patty Murray continued to ask questions Wednesday into why military service members have to wait so long to receive their medical disability rating and benefits. That waiting period has been described by injured soldiers as extremely stressful -- and could be contributing to mental health issues, drug abuse, even suicide. After six years in the Army and two tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan, Specialist Christopher Boettcher has a heart condition that prevents him from deploying. He’s spent the past seven months waiting for the Army and the Veterans Administration to determine how sick he is and what his disability benefits should be. “Seven months just to get to first step,” said Boettcher. “I had to go to the Ombudsman and magically they have some powers. So three days later, they gave me a call, but that's still step one.”

- King
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray from Bothell teamed up with some Seattle Sounders Women players today to celebrate 40 years of Title IX, which allowed women equal access to athletic opportunities. Murray, Sounders players Megan Rapinoe, Stephanie Cox and Sydney Leroux and one Garfield High student-athlete spoke to a crowd of female athletes this afternoon at Garfield High. "Forty years ago, 37 words threw open the doors to athletics, education and success for millions of young women in our country," Murray said. Title IX reads: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. "That law was simple, it was powerful and it has delivered amazing results. Over the past 40 years, participation in girls high-school sports has increased over 900 percent. We went from 32,000 women who were participating in college athletics in 1972, when I was in college, to almost 200,000 today," Murray added. "In 1972, fewer than 300,000 women across the country played competitive sports. Forty years since this law has passed, today this number is approaching 3 million."

- Bothell Reporter