Patty in the News

Reversing itself, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday that it will pay thousands of family members who care for severely wounded soldiers at home under a new and expanded program approved by Congress last year... the program has been a disappointment for military families, late in getting started and excluding many who thought they would qualify. Some of the loudest complaints had come from members of Congress, led by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, the chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

- The News Tribune
Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray toured Ballard's Pacific Fisherman Shipyard with local workers, businesses owners and students to discuss the importance of making sure workers have the skills and training they need to fill local jobs. Doug Dixon, General Manager of the Pacific Fisherman Shipyard, led the tour and pointed out the various new editions to the shipyard funded by a $1 million dollar Small Shipyard Stimulus Funding Grant under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This funding also paid, in part, for worker training, Dixon said.

- Ballard News Tribune
DRIVERS emptying their wallets to fill up the tank should know that skyrocketing gas prices are due in part to out-of-control betting by big investors. Washington drivers, now paying an average of $3.93 per gallon, could soon breathe a collective sigh of relief. U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington have called on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, CFTC, to immediately impose regulations on oil speculation. The senators and President Obama acknowledged last week that speculators are driving gas prices far beyond supply and demand.

- Seattle Times (editorial)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory celebrated the completion of the Department of Energy national lab's largest construction project in its 46-year history. About 750 staff are working today in renovated buildings or in new state-of-the-art offices and laboratories designed to provide space for the nation's cutting-edge science for decades to come. The project cost more than $300 million... The odds were unbelievable at times, with challenges including administration budget requests not sufficient to keep the project on schedule, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a proclamation read by her staff at the ceremony.

- Tri-City Herald
At a media event in Fremont yesterday, Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray demanded that federal regulators crack down on excessive oil market speculation that may be contributing to artificially high gas and diesel prices in Seattle and around the country. New Roots Organics hosted the event which highlighted local small businesses hurt by the oil spike. These small businesses were represented by Warren Aakervik from Ballard Oil, which supplies fuels for fishing boats; and Carolyn Boyle, owner of New Roots Organics and Doug McClure of Zeek's Pizza.

- Ballard News Tribune
Many returning veterans are learning that skills obtained in the military do not always lead to jobs without licensing and certification. More than 27 percent of veterans ages 20 to 24 are unemployed, said Sen. Patty Murray, (D-Wash.) “That is over one in five of our nation’s heroes who cannot find a job to support their family, do not have an income that provides stability and do not have work that provides them with the self-esteem and pride that is so critical to their transition home.” At a hearing on the problem recently in Washington, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC.) said the federal government has programs to help veterans find jobs, but maybe too many.

- Chicago Sun-Times

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the “Act Relating to the Abatement of Violations of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act During an Appeal” was signed into law in Washington state by Governor Christine Gregoire. The law, which is only in place in Washington state and Oregon, will ensure that employers remedy safety violations to protect their workers in a timely fashion, even if the company is appealing said violations.

Read Senator Murray’s statement below:

“I applaud Washington state’s efforts to lead the nation in making our workplaces safer. The bill that Governor Gregoire signed into law today will ensure that workers won’t have to wait for the completion of a lengthy contest and appeals process for cited safety violations to be resolved.

“The bill that was signed into law today should serve as a model for the nation. Companies should be held accountable for safety violations in states across the country, not just in Washington state and Oregon. That’s why as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee, I will continue working to pass similar legislation on the national level.”

Vet¬eran employ¬ment issues took cen¬ter stage on Capi¬tol Hill today, as the Sen¬ate Vet¬er¬ans’ Affairs Com¬mit¬tee held hear¬ings on a sub¬ject which was recently cov¬ered in this blog by Ben Krause – the increas¬ing vet¬eran job¬less rates. Sen¬ate Vet¬er¬ans’ Affairs Com¬mit¬tee Chair¬man, Patty Mur¬ray (D-WA) stated that the “high rate of unem¬ploy¬ment for recently sep¬a¬rated vet¬er¬ans is an issue that at first glance defies com¬mon sense.” She noted, that despite their train¬ing, skills, and desire to achieve, “over 27 per¬cent of vet¬er¬ans age 20–24 were unem¬ployed.”

- Military Advantage
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray vowed Thursday that she would fight Republican efforts to strip federal support for women’s health and family planning programs from a budget to fund the federal government through Oct. 1.

- The Columbian
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Thursday that Republican pressure to include a rider to a budget deal defunding Planned Parenthood is “stunning” to her as a woman and that Senate leadership will not back down in their support of women’s health issues.

- Politico