Patty in the News

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
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
ABOUT 25,000 Washington job openings in the science and engineering fields remain unfilled because of a lack of qualified applicants. Not only is this number growing each year, it highlights the failure of federal and state leaders in closing the widening skills gap for students and adults. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is collaborating with Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia on a bill to overhaul the nation’s workforce development system. After years of haggling between parties, Murray and Isakson shepherded the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act through the U.S. Senate last week by a vote of 95 to 3.

- Seattle Times
It takes a lot of effort to feed these kids lunch. To put the bananas and low-fat milk in front of these 78 kids, from silent hand-holders not quite reaching hip-level to recent fifth-grade graduates trying on new middle-school faces for the fall, it's taking efforts by the North Clackamas school district, support by Metropolitan Family Services, some federal summer food funding, some food from Oregon Food Bank, volunteers from GracePointe Church in Milwaukie and contributions from local suppliers like Dave's Killer Bread. Besides putting lunch on the plastic trays, the coalition sends home some apples for snacks and sets out some bread, oranges and cabbages in front of the school for parents to pick up. But even bigger than the effort is the hole it's trying to fill. Across the continent, another Northwesterner is working on a more direct plan to achieve that. Last month, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act, which would give children who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch $150 a month in food stamp benefits over the summer.

- Oregonian
Six months after negotiating a bipartisan budget compromise, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has again successfully worked with Republicans, this time to shape a long-overdue updating of the nation’s workforce development programs. The Senate approved the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act on Wednesday by a vote of 95-3. House action and a presidential signature are possible before lawmakers take their summer recess. A quick me-too from representatives, while not a given for the Do-Nothing 435, should follow because four of their number joined with an equal Senate cohort to write the bill. Among the House participants was North Carolina GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx, who has a lifetime rating from the AFL-CIO of 6 percent. This was not a stacked deck.

- Spokesman Review
The approval is a triumph for Sen. Patty Murray. The Washington Democrat was one of half dozen principle bipartisan architects of the bill, which melded clashing proposals passed separately by House Republicans and a Senate committee. Murray worked especially closely with Sen. Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia.

On the Senate floor, Murray said the updated law will enable Americans to fill the “high-tech jobs of the next century.”

- Seattle Times
Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Gov. Jay Inslee and local business leaders to call for Congressional reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, the nation’s official export credit agency and a key export tool that helps Washington companies sell their products overseas. The Ex-Im Bank is a financing tool that helps American companies sell their products or services to foreign customers. It has supported more than 180 exporters in Washington state, two-thirds of which are small businesses. About 85,000 jobs in Washington state are supported by sales involving Ex-Im Bank financing. Nationally, it has supported $189 billion in exports over the last five years.

Children shouldn't have to spend the summer months wondering when they'll get their next meal. We must do more to fight summer hunger.

Last month, I introduced a bill called the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act. The bill would use a common-sense strategy to address summer hunger. It would give families a Summer EBT card, which would act like a debit card, with $150 to buy groceries in the summer for each child who qualifies for free or reduced-price meals during the school year.

- Everett Herald