Patty in the News

Two Tacoma nonprofits will each get $1.5 million to help homeless veterans in Pierce County find safe places to live over the next three years, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday. Both grants augment programs already in place connecting homeless veterans with transitional housing…“These vouchers are a huge boost in the effort to end homelessness among veterans in our state,” U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in announcing the HUD funding. “Each one of these vouchers represents a step toward finding a permanent home for someone who sacrificed for our nation, but is struggling to find stable housing.”

- Tacoma News Tribune
No matter your politics, we should all be able to agree on this: When a sexual assault survivor walks into an emergency room seeking care, it is crucial she has all the support and resources she needs. That includes the ability to prevent the added trauma of an unwanted pregnancy by using emergency contraception. Unfortunately, too many women are unfamiliar with this highly effective prevention method. And, in many cases, hospitals simply do not provide access to it. Or, if they do, it is not offered in a timely manner — despite the fact that the morning-after pill is readily available at the drugstore counter down the street. The last thing survivors of sexual assault want or need is a murky and confusing process to get necessary help.

- Refinery 29
They focused on some of today’s most politically divisive issues, at least in Congress: fatter paychecks for lowest-paid workers, paid sick leaves, affordable child care, gender pay parity. Five female liberal Democrats, among them Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Patty Murray, gathered Thursday in Washington, D.C., to talk about economic security for women — a concern they believe animates many silent Americans and who they believe should have a bigger voice in electoral politics. The round-table at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy think tank, had an air of a campaign stop for Clinton’s undeclared presidential run, with half of the more than 100 seats occupied by journalists.

- Seattle Times
A childcare center at the VA Puget Sound’s American Lake campus could get a lifeline for a couple more years if Congress adopts a measure by Sen. Patty Murray to extend the program. The center is slated to close at the end of this month. It opened in September 2011 after Congress passed a measure Murray wrote to expand VA services for women. The childcare center was considered a pilot program with special funding.

- The Olympian
The nation isn’t supplying enough primary care physicians to meet future demands, and the need is particularly acute in rural communities. The Affordable Care Act provided some assistance, but the aid isn’t permanent and it won’t be enough. Last month, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray introduced a bill to address the shortage. The Community-Based Medical Education Act of 2014 would extend the ACA-funded Teaching Health Center program to 2019. It’s set to expire next year. The program helped the partnership of Providence Health Care, the Empire Health Foundation and Washington State University-Spokane launch the Spokane Teaching Health Center. The goal is to locate the clinic on the Riverpoint campus. The WSU Board of Regents will decide this month whether the university can sell revenue bonds to build the facility.

- Spokesman Review
As chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is well positioned to sound the alarm about the long-term financial consequences of climate change. A memo she released to Senate Democrats Aug. 1 makes a strong case that without clear, decisive action today, climate change will burden the federal budget with future costs that will undermine the nation’s long-term fiscal health. While climate change is often discussed and debated as an environmental issue, Murray makes a strong case that such thinking is narrow-minded. Global warming will have major repercussions on the nation’s economy and federal spending. A recent poll of citizens in 20 countries by Ipsos MORI, a London-based market research firm, shows how suspicious Americans remain about climate change. When asked if it is largely the result of human activity, 54 percent of Americans said yes. That compares to 93 percent in China, 80 percent in India, 70 percent in Japan and 64 percent in Australia.

- The Olympian
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is pushing a plan to give parents a bigger tax credit for child care expenses. The high-ranking Democrat and former preschool teacher dropped in at a downtown Seattle daycare center Thursday to publicize the legislation, called the Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act. Several moms spoke out about just how tough it is to afford a quality daycare. Erin Welch, a mother of three, described how hard it was when she no longer qualified for a state child care subsidy because she got a raise that bumped her just over the threshold. "What that meant was skipping bills, falling behind on utility bills, making decisions about what type of things we’d go without each month and every month,” Welch said.

Well, it looks as if the finish line — completion of a veterans nursing home on the grounds of the local VA Medical Center — could soon be in sight. It’s still too early to say the project will get done given the spasmodic journey over the past 10 years. The home’s funding always seems to be in flux and its size changing from year to year. Nevertheless, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has been told by acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson that $23 million has been allocated for the veterans nursing home, which is a joint project of the federal and state governments. Murray has championed this project every step of the way for the past decade. So, too, has state Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla. And others in Congress and in the state Legislature, Democrats and Republicans, have gotten behind the effort.

- Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Taking up advice from the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is pushing a legislative fix to override a court decision that blocks access to free contraceptives for some women. The fast-track legislation filed Wednesday is Murray’s latest foray into reproductive rights and women’s issues, twin concerns that have long been among her top priorities. It also marks perhaps the sharpest pushback by Congress against judicial authority since the 2010 Citizen United ruling that greenlighted unlimited independent political spending by corporations and unions.

- Seattle Times
Sixty-six years ago, Harry Truman barnstormed the country on his whistle-stop tour, lamenting the 80th “do nothing” Congress. “The big fundamental issue in this campaign is the people against the special interests,” Truman said. The confection is identical: Special interests mix with partisan intransigence to make legislative gridlock. But Truman's lament would register as static in today's media din. The current 113th Congress defines “do nothing” down. It ranks as the least productive in U.S. history, eclipsing the 80th Congress. So, when there's a wash of light — thoughtful, bipartisan lawmaking in the public interest — it needs to be celebrated and, ideally, emulated. On June 25, the U.S. Senate passed Sen. Patty Murray's Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, 95-3. It's a testament to the leadership and legislative finesse of Washington's senior Senator that she managed to corral colleagues from both sides of the aisle, fine-tuning a host of workforce programs, some of which were pioneered in Snohomish County.

- Everett Herald