Patty in the News

It took some doing to make it happen, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., reminded listeners. For more than a decade, Murray worked with veterans, community leaders and federal VA officials to push for funding for a veterans home in Eastern Washington. In 2014, she helped secure $23 million in federal funding to help the project keep moving.
In 2004, the Veterans Affairs put the entire VA hospital on the chopping block, which would have forced veterans to go to Spokane or Seattle for care. But because community members spoke up by writing to their elected officials, attended committee hearings Senator Murray chaired, and joined her in countless meetings making their voices heard, they not only saved the facility from closure, they helped prove that it was worth expanding.
“If you served our country, then we will serve you. No questions asked about length of service or how you left,” said Murray, a Democrat and former chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
The Washington state Democrat, once famously dubbed “just a mom in tennis shoes,” is the reason behind an uncomfortable power standoff between two men who intend to lead the Democrats after Minority Leader Harry Reid retires. Murray, her quiet style and her clout amassed more than 22 years in the Senate, poses a challenge to the way things work in Washington. She’s poised to be the first woman in the Senate’s top-tier leadership. And she’s outgrown her image as the ultimate underdog, if not the mom in storied footwear.
If former preschool teacher U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has her say, the so-called No Child Left Behind Law will be rescued from limbo in the near future. Murray says her new role as ranking Democrat on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee is the assignment that will help her meet the rest of her education goals. Murray will replace Sen. Tom Harkin, the committee's current chairman, as the committee's Democratic leader. She has accomplished other education goals in Congress in recent years, including worker retraining, Head Start and federal college grants. But no one in Congress has succeeded in reauthorizing the federal framework for the nation's schools.

- AP

Patty Murray and Paul Ryan’s teamwork is a model for Congress

The bipartisan Murray-Ryan proposal is a collaborative template for a dysfunctional Congress.

Dec 15 2014

): OUT of what is likely the least productive and most dysfunctional Congress in American history, a sliver of good governance has sometimes escaped. One such ray comes in the bipartisan proposal put forth by respective budget chairs Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Their Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act would create a 15-member commission to study the effectiveness of federal programs and tax expenditures via data analysis. It would also explore how to best protect the privacy rights and confidentiality of people interacting with federal agencies. Debate on the proposal, let alone passage, can’t come until the new GOP-controlled Congress is seated early next year. But Murray, who will then be in the Senate minority, and Ryan, who is expected to retain his powerful House perch, both intend to reintroduce the measure then and push for ratification.

- Seattle Times
For years Yakima Valley officials have complained the odds were stacked in favor of major cities when it came to obtaining federal funding to fight gangs. Now the final $1.1 trillion spending bill for 2015 before Congress could make it easier for Yakima County to get that much-sought federal aid. The bill contains an amendment by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., which was drafted with help from Yakima County officials, directing the federal Department of Justice to review how it awards grants to prevent and suppress gang violence. Specifically, it directs the department to give stronger consideration to smaller communities with gang crime rates above the national average. “We’re making some good headway (at gang suppression) in the Valley and any additional resources would be welcome,” said Yakima County Commissioner Kevin Bouchey, who worked on the amendment’s language with Harold Delia, the county’s court consultant.

- Yakima Herald
The senator said she wrote the language into the bill to make sure that communities like Yakima will get the federal help they need to fight gang activity. The language, which was first written by Senator Murray earlier this year, will require the Department of Justice to review the criteria by which it awards grants relating to gang violence and prevention. In recent months, community and law enforcement leaders in the Yakima area have raised concerns to Senator Murray that they are not getting the federal funding they need to address gang-related violence. The bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives and the Senate in the coming days and be signed into law
A proposed cut to the Department of Energy’s Hanford Richland Operations Office would be restored under a compromise federal spending bill released Tuesday night, according to the staff of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “The funding secured in this bill is a critical win for Hanford and our entire state,” Murray said in a statement. The omnibus spending bill would increase the budget for Hanford this year by $69.9 million, for a total budget of almost $2.2 billion. The bill includes $941 million for the Department of Energy’s Hanford Richland Operations Office, an increase of $93 million over the administration’s fiscal 2015 budget request. The office is responsible for all Hanford cleanup work except for managing radioactive waste held in underground tanks and the vitrification plant being built to treat the waste.

- Tri-City Herald
The $1.1 trillion spending bill filed by House appropriators late Tuesday likely will avert a federal government shutdown after Thursday. But lawmakers (or, more accurately, their staff) were combing through the omnibus legislation Wednesday morning to tally how much money will flow to their states. Sean Coit, spokesman for Sen. Patty Murray, said the spending bills include “big wins” for several of Murray’s priorities. They include enhancing safety of oil trains that are increasingly traversing through Washington, averting cuts proposed by President Obama for clean up of the Hanford nuclear reservation and a final $89.7 million in federal funding for the University Link light rail extension in Seattle. Federal job-training grants — another of Murray’s priorities — will get a slight increase to $2.6 billion, $36 million more than in fiscal 2015. But appropriators knocked $100 million off the $600 million allocated for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants that pay for highway and public transit programs. Murray chairs the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. As chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, Murray in 2013 forged a deal with her House counterpart, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to lift mandatory budget cuts called sequestration for two years.

- Seattle Times