Patty in the News

More will be known about how well the mixing system will work at the $12.2 billion vitrification plant being built at Hanford after more testing is completed, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu at a Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee hearing today. He had been asked by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., what his level of confidence was that technical issues at the plant could be resolved. There also are opportunities to "buy insurance" on how well particles of solid waste will remain mixed by prefiltering the waste, he said. Construction started on the vit plant almost a decade ago and design is almost complete, yet several significant technical issues have been raised about the plant, Murray said. "Inside the black cells there is no room for error," she said. The plant is being built to treat up to 56 million gallons of radioactive waste left from the past production of plutonium for the nation's weapons program. Black cells will process high-level radioactive waste, making them too radioactively hot for workers to safely enter for maintenance after processing begins. Concerns have been raised that inadequate mixing of waste could lead to a criticality or buildup of flammable gases. The issues that have been raised, including keeping waste well mixed, have been known for several years, possibly before he became energy secretary, Chu said.

- Tri-City Herald
“The threats to women’s health care are very real, and they are only growing," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor Thursday. "We saw it on a panel on birth control in the House -- that didn’t include any women. We saw it in a young woman being called horrible names for telling the story of a friend in need. We see it in Republican efforts to allow a woman’s employer to dictate her access to birth control, and we are seeing it in state laws all across the country aimed at stripping women of their rights and so much more."

- Huffington Post
Brooke Baldwin talks to Sen. Patty Murray about Army PTSD diagnoses.

- CNN
EVERETT -- How does a state, or a community like Snohomish County, ensure it has enough qualified workers to sustain a growing industry like aerospace?

• You increase the number of engineers being educated locally.

- The Everett Herald
”: Sen. Patty Murray sat down Wednesday afternoon at Randy Heslop's dining room table and told him she was delighted to meet him. The Marysville resident recently wrote an email to the senator to tell his personal stories about being unemployed and about needing unemployment insurance. "Your letter really touched me," Murray said.

- The Everett Herald
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Local veterans told U.S. Sen. Patty Murray on Thursday that they’ve been mistreated, ignored and in some cases totally forgotten by the federal government in seeking medical care and applying for benefits.

- Yakima Herald
SEATTLE -- Three strangers gathered around a dining room table in Seattle Wednesday morning, sharing one thing in common: they're all unemployed.

They were brought together by Sen. Patty Murray, who hopes their stories will push Congress to extend unemployment benefits for people who are still out of work in this tough economy.

- King5.com
Senator Patty Murray wants to save Washington families money by extending a payroll tax cut into next year. The Senate should vote on the Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2011 this week. Murray says "This legislation will save an average middle class family in Washington over $1,700 and would provide broad tax relief to over 150,000 small businesses in the state". She's calling on her colleagues to support the legislation which proposes a 3.1% tax cut, up from the current 2% cut. The Senate is expected to vote later this week. Online: Her push has prompted an interactive map on the Senator's website to highlight the potential impact on each county if the tax is not extended. You can see it here and select your county.

- KXLY
I accepted the challenge of co-chairing the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to represent the families and small business owners across Washington state who desperately want their government to work for people like them. And although I was deeply disappointed that we were unable to come to a balanced and bipartisan deal by our deadline, I am not going to stop working to boost the economy, create jobs, and reduce the deficit in a fair way — because I feel very strongly that we can't simply leave it for the next generation to deal with.

- The Seattle Times
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Facilitating Outstanding Classrooms Using Size Reduction (FOCUS) Act of 2011 [bill summary, PDF], which the Senator says would provide states with the resources they need to reduce class sizes across the early grade levels in order to provide students and teachers with an educational environment that encourages maximum student academic growth. Murray's bill will also put in place evaluation tools to assess the program's effectiveness. "Studies show that smaller classes help children improve in all areas of life. As a mother and former teacher, I have a deep commitment to our nation's students and the environment in which they're educated," said Senator Patty Murray. "The FOCUS Act will provide school districts with the resources they need to reduce class sizes, recruit qualified teachers, and offer students the educational environment they need to learn and succeed."

- Education News