Patty in the News

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
Ever since the first “Year of the Woman” in 1992 saw an increase in female lawmakers in Congress from 6 to 10 percent, the catchphrase has become an increasingly cliched way to describe the growth of women in politics. The moniker was attached to the 2010 boom in GOP women running for the House and then again to the 2012 election, which saw 11 women elected to the Senate. In 2014, however, it’s clear that the initial “Year of the Woman” was the most influential to date. This has nothing to do with the numbers elected: Only four female Senate candidates were elected that year and one re-elected, giving America a lower number of women there than it will see this fall. But what voters and the political elite could not have known 22 years ago was that two members of that historic class — Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland — would have the staying power and political savvy to attain Congress’ most valued and important asset: seniority.

- Yahoo News
Thanks to rulings in both Oregon and Pennsylvania striking down bans on same-sex marriage, May was quite a month of joy for the loving, committed LGBT couples in those states, and for all of us who respect and support them. These rulings were also joyous news for many residents of states that don't allow same-sex marriage, such as Colorado and Wisconsin. With the addition of each new marriage-equality state, loving couples have more options to travel to a nearby jurisdiction that will allow them to officially declare their commitment to each other under law.

- Huffington Post
Runaway college tuition and growing student debt are burdening both borrowers and the U.S. economy, witnesses testified Wednesday at a Senate Budget Committee hearing chaired by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The consequences from $1.2 trillion in outstanding loans likely will shape the entirety of young Americans’ financial lives, from being able to buy homes and cars to their choice of careers and whether they can afford to retire. Tuition and fees at colleges and universities historically have risen faster than the prices of most goods and services. In the past decade, that pace has quickened even further.

- Seattle Times
A new Federal Aviation Administration research center, co-led by Washington State University in the Tri-Cities, is in line to receive $5 million in federal funding for 2015. The center, which also received money this year, is in the initial stages of being set up, said Ralph Cavalieri, WSU associate vice president for alternative energy and the director and technical leader for alternative jet fuels for the FAA Center of Excellence at WSU. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., used her influence as chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development to include money for the center in the 2015 federal transportation and housing bill. The bill passed through the subcommittee Tuesday with bipartisan support and should be considered by the full Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

- Tri-City Herald
Two months ago, the future looked bleak for students hoping for a hand up at YouthBuild. The program that has trained hundreds of high school dropouts in construction trades while simultaneously preparing them for a GED faced an end to its funding after 20 years in Seattle. But last week, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers announced a deal that would fund YouthBuild through 2020, along with a host of other programs promoting workforce training for dislocated workers, the disabled, migrants, Native Americans, adults seeking literacy education and high school dropouts. “Millions of Americans rely on federal workforce programs to get the skills they need to compete,” said Senator Patty Murray, announcing the $10 billion Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which has support in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

- Seattle Times