Patty in the News

A new bipartisan budget agreement, hammered out with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as a lead negotiator, promises to end nearly three years of fiscal crises that have paralyzed Washington, D.C., provide relief from the budget sequester and avoid another federal government shutdown.
“We have brought certainty and stability,” Murray said in an interview. “Agencies will again be able to plan their budgets. We won’t have more furloughs of employees. Stability will bring back confidence, and the country can get on with celebrating the Christmas holiday.”

- Seattle PI
"We have broken through the partisanship and the gridlock," Sen. Patty Murray, one of two chief budget negotiators, said of Tuesday's deal to avoid another government shutdown.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray says the budget deal she and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan announced Tuesday will “restore trust that had been lost by people across the country that we could function as a Congress and as a democracy.” In an interview with The Seattle Times shortly after a news conference announcing the deal, Murray, the Senate’s Democratic budget chair, said while the deal is far from perfect, it will ease some of the effects of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration and avert the threat of a government shutdown for the next two years.

- Seattle Times
Two of Miranda Fort’s three children have different developmental disabilities that affect the way they relate to the world. To help them, doctors recommended both try behavioral therapy that would teach them social and coping skills. Yet that treatment, known as applied behavioral analysis, is covered for only one of the two children under the Navy family’s Tricare health insurance. The other daughter, Josie, can’t get the therapy because she has not been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, the condition for which Tricare offers the treatment. “We wait until all children that need the therapy have access to it,” said Fort, of Silverdale. Her family is working to make that goal happen as fast as possible by getting behind a proposal from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that would compel the insurance agency to expand its offerings for behavioral therapy. The Forts joined Murray on Tuesday at a Seattle press conference to promote the effort.

- The News Tribune

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and U.S. Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE) and Eliot Engel (D-NY)  introduced bi-partisan legislation in the Senate and House that will continue the federal government's vital support for the nation's poison control centers. Specifically, the bill reauthorizes the poison center national toll-free number, national media campaign, and state grant program.

The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that in any given year there will be between 3-5 million poison exposures. Sixty percent of these exposures will involve children under the age of 6 who are exposed to toxins in their home. Poisoning is the second most common form of unintentional death in the United States and accounts for 285,000 hospitalizations. According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, every dollar spent on poison control center services saves $7 in medical spending. 

“The Poison Control network is literally a lifeline for millions of Americans,” Senator Murray said.  “This bill means that parents around the country can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that help is always available.”

“The Poison Control network is a vital program that impacts thousands of lives every year through prevention and treatment efforts at centers around the country,” said Senator Burr.  “This bill gives American families the peace of mind to know that help will continue to be there when they need it the most.”

"Poison control centers provide free, critical life-saving support at the moment the unthinkable happens," said Rep. Terry. "I'm pleased to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to get this common-sense and must pass legislation signed into law."

“Poison centers are a life-saving service for Americans,” said Representative Engel. “They offer free medical advice around the clock. They are a primary source for poisoning information that saves lives and reduces costly emergency department visits. They also offer reassurance and relief when they can tell parents, for example, that glow sticks used by children, or other toys, are not harmful. We owe it to our citizens to continue this service.”

The poison center national toll-free number, national media campaign, and state grant program that will be reauthorized in this bill provide the federal assistance for the nation's network of poison control centers to support poison prevention. There are currently 61 poison control centers (PCCs) nationwide. Each PCC is a medical support facility staffed by toxicologists, nurses, and other professionals operating 24 hours a day seven days a week to provide a free, but critical medical service.

The toll-free nationwide poison-control hotline number is 1-800-222-1222.

proposing to offer free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. The bill, being introduced Wednesday, is an ambitious follow-up to President Obama’s pledge during his February State of the Union address to narrow early learning deficits, where some children enter kindergarten already reading and others unable to write their names. The Strong Start for America’s Children Act calls for spending $34 billion in the first five years alone. Among other things, the money would pay for voluntary preschool for kids from households with up to twice the poverty level ($47,100 for a family of four), raise education requirements for preschool teachers and help boost their pay to parity with K-12 teachers. In Washington state, some 50,000 children could potentially qualify for taxpayer-paid preschool, based on poverty estimates and census data. Currently, 20 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds and 9 percent of the 3-year-olds receive free pre-K education, either through the federally funded Head Start program for low-income families or the state-funded Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), open to families with incomes up to 110 percent of the poverty level.

- Seattle Times
Washington's Senator Patty Murray is in the national spotlight with high-stakes budget talks in Washington, DC. She is leading the negotiations on how to reach a compromise budget. The first committee conference of 29 Democrats and Republicans was held on Wednesday. "It's not going to be easy. There are a lot of proposals on the table and we are going to have to work our way through them to find compromise and common ground." said Murray after the meeting. The difference between the two sides is a $91 billion gap. Republican Congressman, Paul Ryan, leading the Republican side, says Republicans won't budge on raising taxes. Murray wants to close some tax loopholes for corporations. Murray says since the government shutdown, more public pressure is on Republicans to compromise. "I think there are a number of them who want to stand up, be adults in the room, compromise and move forward."

Washington Sen. Patty Murray is the top Democrat on a conference committee charged with hashing out a budget by mid-December, and she’s well aware many pundits and citizens have low expectations. “I don’t blame anybody for being pessimistic about this,” Murray said at an appearance in Seattle. “Our country’s been through a lot.” That includes the recent government shutdown and threat of default, which birthed the conference committee Murray is chairing, along with Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan. Ryan and eight of his fellow Republican conferees voted against the compromise that ended the shutdown. But Murray says a new round of cuts under sequestration due to take effect in January could light a fire under negotiators. “I have both Republicans and Democrats alike in the Senate saying to me that sequestration needs to be replaced. So I think that is a motivation for both of us,” she said. Those looming cuts would hit the defense budget hard. The first round targeted domestic programs, such as early education and housing vouchers. Murray appeared alongside several constituents who depend on those programs, and said she’d fight to restore the funding. Murray has nice things to say about Ryan, her opposite number on the committee. She called him a decent man who cares about his country. But asked whether Ryan is ready to make a deal, Murray was more cautious.

Congress barely avoided a debt default at the 11th hour earlier this month, but many worry that the country will relive that same turmoil when the next fiscal deadlines hit early next year. The recent deal specifically calls for the heads of the Senate and House budget committees, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to hammer out a compromise spending plan by mid-December, right before the country faces yet another possible shutdown and default. That’s exactly what Congress has been unable to do for several years now. But this time is different, according to Murray, with the chances of success much better. First, she argues, Republicans will be more willing to negotiate now since they suffered so much in the polls from the 16-day government shutdown. And, second, she said, is because both parties, but Republicans especially, will want to avoid the next round of harsh sequestration cuts, which start in January. “The vast majority of the next sequestration cuts come from defense,” Murray said. “I do believe the Republicans this time are much more willing to come to the table to find a replacement for that.” But so far, at least, Republicans aren’t budging on their strong support of the automatic sequestration cuts, which they argue have been the only way to control spending. “Washington actually can cut spending,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “Because of this law, that’s just what we’ve done. For the first time since the Korean War, government spending has declined for two years.” Perhaps the next showdown can be avoided if Murray and Ryan can find some kind of personal connection and level of trust.

- Q13
It was 1992. Bill Clinton had just been elected to the White House, despite election-time allegations of an affair with Gennifer Flowers. Clarence Thomas had just been confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, despite Anita Hill's accusations of sexual harassment. And despite naysayers, four women had just been elected United States senators. One of them, Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, recently reflected on those early years in an Atlantic interview with MSNBC’s Karen Finney. Self-labeled as “the only preschool teacher in the United States Senate,” Murray claims she never wanted to get into national politics, but was moved to run by what she saw as blatant sexism in the Anita Hill hearings. After defeating a Republican opponent who fatefully dismissed her as “a mom in tennis shoes,” Murray joined Barbara Mikulski and Nancy Kassebaum, as well as the newly elected Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Carol Moseley Braun in the Senate. The press called it “the year of the woman,” prompting some well-deserved eye-rolling. “Calling 1992 the ‘year of the woman’ makes it sound like the ‘year of the caribou’ or ‘year of the asparagus,’” quipped Mikulski. “We’re not a fad, a fancy, or a year.”

- The Atlantic