Patty in the News

Senator Patty Murray met with veterans and advocates in Southwest Washington Tuesday. Her wide-ranging discussion touched on everything from suicide prevention to the slow delivery of military paychecks. "We have a long ways to go, to meet the needs of our nation. We've been in conflict now for almost ten years, and we have returning veterans who can't get the services and support they need. At a time when we're cutting budgets, we have to be very cognizant that we can't take anything away from the people who have defended our country," Murray said. Murray was recently named to co-chair the so-called super-committee.

- Oregon Public Broadcasting
On Monday, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber provided opportunities for businesses to speak with two United States Senators in one day. The Chamber hosted an advocacy breakfast held at the Pacific Grill Events Center with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (below) and then an afternoon session for a small group of business leaders with U.S. Senator Patty Murray at the Chamber office. At the advocacy breakfast attended by about 100 people, Sen. Cantwell spoke on priorities such as access to capital under the Small Business Jobs Acts and expanding infrastructure improvement lending for roads and freight while highlighting accomplishments like the ASARCO cleanup and airborne tanker jobs. Sen. Cantwell also took questions from the audience. At the Chamber's afternoon advocacy session, Sen. Murray largely listened to comments from a group of business representatives. Sen. Murray asked about the business climate. Points raised included not losing sight of the multiple deficits in education and a skilled workforce while working on options for people who have lost jobs but are starting new businesses.

- Tacoma Daily Index
The bucolic Fallen Leaf Lake stood silent in the background as U.S. Sen. Patty Murray addressed a small audience gathered for a Tuesday afternoon ceremony recognizing the city’s purchase of 55 acres of land, including the lake. Murray, D-Wash., celebrated the leadership and teamwork it took to make the $2.05 million local project come to fruition then turned her remarks to an item of national importance with trillions of dollars in the balance. Murray was recently named the co-chair of a “supercommittee” tasked with developing a debt-reduction plan. She participated in the Fallen Leaf Lake Park dedication ceremony after holding a 90-minute meeting with veterans in Vancouver. “As many of you know, I have taken on a tough new challenge that will create a lot of stress in my life,” Murray told the Camas crowd without the benefit of a microphone. The device lost power earlier in the program.

- The Columbian
Washington, D.C., seems light years away from the Tri-Cities sometimes, not just in miles but in values.
Here, as there, we differ on how to get things done and what things we need to do. But we tend to work these things out, one local interest group to another, without a lot of drama.
There, the numbers are immensely larger but the concepts are quite similar -- finding the right balance between money and services. It is against this background that we welcome, enthusiastically, the appointment of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to co-chair the debt reduction supercommittee with Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

- Tri-City Herald
Seven months before graduation, Alex Dimas toured aviation manufacturer GE Aviation Systems and applied for a job. Then, the company and his instructors at Perry Technical Institute worked with him to strengthen his skills until he graduated. Three years later, he's still at the company, working as a machinist building hydraulic fuses for 737s. "They gave me the confidence to know I can come in here and know what I'm doing," the 29-year-old married father of two said. State and local officials say making that caliber of training available to young and laid-off workers is crucial to filling the available jobs, not just in Washington state, but nationally. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray calls it a deficit of infrastructure and innovation.

- The Seattle Times
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray was in town Monday, wearing her trademark tennies and sporting a listening ear. And there was plenty to hear as Murray, D-Wash., and her assembled panel sat in a room packed with veterans and others at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 992. Led by facilitator Doug Bayne, director of the Walla Walla Community College Foundation, panelists took turns explaining to the senator the issues they see in the universe of veterans. Housing challenges, for example. Renee Rooker, of Walla Walla Housing Authority, told Murray there are nearly 150 homeless veterans in the area. While there are programs in place to help get those men and women into housing, actually getting that done is a problem. "There is a lack of funding for deposits, security and utility deposits, to get veterans into a permanent home." Coupled with communication gaps between federal agencies that are supposed to help veterans and a retroactive 17 percent reduction in administrative fees -- that cut screening staff -- it all equals an inability to fully serve a vulnerable population, Rooker told Murray. She gets it, Murray assured her audience. Her father served in World War II. His war-caused injuries affected every component of family life.

- Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Washington Sen. Patty Murray on Wednesday encouraged state governments to start tallying veteran suicides, as her state already does. Her goal is to quantify an under-reported number that could help health agencies improve their outreach to service members who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs has an incomplete picture of suicide among former service members because it doesn’t count the deaths of veterans not enrolled in VA care. “One of the most significant obstacles to understanding veteran suicide is the lack of information available regarding these individuals,” Murray wrote with two of her Democratic colleagues in a letter to the National Governors Association.

- The News Tribune
The lawmaker who leads the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee pleaded Tuesday for passage of a $142 billion appropriations bill for veterans programs and military construction. The bill, HR 2055, has been pending on the Senate floor since July 11, but actual work on the bill by considering amendments or voting on the measure has been delayed because of objections from some senators to doing any business until Congress resolves the federal debt and spending crisis. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the veterans’ committee leader since January, said veterans and service members who would be helped by programs funded in the bill have become pawns in a political debate because of Senate inaction. “There is no question that we need to make smart decisions to tighten our belts and reduce our nation’s deficit and debt,” Murray said. “American families have done it and we owe it to them to get our fiscal house in order. But, there is also one group of Americans that we owe an even greater promise to, a group who we can never allow to become pawns or fall through the cracks or be forgotten altogether in these budget debates, and that is our men and women in uniform and veterans who have protected our nation for decades.”

- Army Times
About $145,000 will go to homeless vets living in Tacoma. That’s enough money for the Tacoma Housing Authority to provide rent vouchers to 25 families of homeless veterans over the next year.

- The News Tribune
“Any veteran who needs mental health services must be able to get that care rapidly and as close to home as possible,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the committee.

- The Washington Post