Patty Murray's Washington View: Protecting Healthcare, Avoiding Manufactured Crisis Again

Senator Patty Murray
2013-09-24 19:07:27
September 24, 2013 The Affordable Care Act Last week, I spoke on the Senate floor about the irresponsible Tea Party threats to shut down the federal government if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not repealed. I shared the story of Nikki Mackey, a woman I met last month in Seattle, who is fighting breast cancer. Nikki was laid off from her job in the midst of the recession and just nine months later was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer. She was only 36 years old. And instead of focusing on her treatment, she had to worry about her coverage. Fortunately, due to the ACA, Nikki will not need to worry that her coverage is in jeopardy due to a lifetime limit. And she will never have to worry about not getting coverage in the future due to her pre-existing condition. I urged my colleagues to drop these misguided attacks and work together to make sure the ACA is implemented in the best possible way for families, businesses, communities and millions of people just like Nikki. I’d also like to remind all of you that the next phase of ACA implementation starts on October 1, when enrollment in new state-based health insurance marketplaces will begin. Because of these marketplaces, across the country 25 million currently uninsured Americans are poised to get health insurance coverage. In Washington state, that means over 800,000 uninsured Washingtonians, or 15% of the state’s population, will be eligible for coverage in the marketplace! I look forward to working with health care providers, community leaders, and state health officials on the challenges and opportunities they will face as the marketplace is set up.
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September 24, 2013

The Affordable Care Act

Defending the Affordable Care Act

Last week, I spoke on the Senate floor about the irresponsible Tea Party threats to shut down the federal government if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not repealed.  I shared the story of Nikki Mackey, a woman I met last month in Seattle, who is fighting breast cancer. Nikki was laid off from her job in the midst of the recession and just nine months later was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer.  She was only 36 years old.  And instead of focusing on her treatment, she had to worry about her coverage. Fortunately, due to the ACA, Nikki will not need to worry that her coverage is in jeopardy due to a lifetime limit. And she will never have to worry about not getting coverage in the future due to her pre-existing condition.  I urged my colleagues to drop these misguided attacks and work together to make sure the ACA is implemented in the best possible way for families, businesses, communities and millions of people just like Nikki.

I’d also like to remind all of you that the next phase of ACA implementation starts on October 1, when enrollment in new state-based health insurance marketplaces will begin.  Because of these marketplaces, across the country 25 million currently uninsured Americans are poised to get health insurance coverage.  In Washington state, that means over 800,000 uninsured Washingtonians, or 15% of the state’s population, will be eligible for coverage in the marketplace!  I look forward to working with health care providers, community leaders, and state health officials on the challenges and opportunities they will face as the marketplace is set up. 

Read more | Watch my full speech

Go to www.WAHealthPlanFinder.org to learn more.

“Defund Obamacare? Sen. Murray: ‘It’s not gonna happen’”  -  KPLU 

“Murray: ‘Full-scale civil war’ has broken out within GOP ranks”  - The Hill


An End to Governing from Crisis to Crisis

As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I believe strongly in ending the harmful cycle of governing from crisis to crisis that we have seen far too much of recently, especially when it comes to the budget.  Democrats understand that as the economy continues to recover, our first priority must be ensuring that more Americans get back to work and regain financial security.  That is why we have taken action to restore certainty to the budget process.  We passed the Senate Budget and have been ready to try to resolve the difference between the two parties on fiscal issues for months.  In fact, we called for unanimous consent to proceed to a budget conference 18 times.  Unfortunately, Tea Party Republicans and Republican leadership are doing everything they can to pull us back into crisis mode, regardless of what it will mean for American workers and our economy.  They refused to negotiate over the budget, are now pushing us closer and closer to a government shutdown, and are promising a fight over the debt ceiling.  Republicans believe the only way they can advance their extreme agenda is to—once again—manufacture a crisis over the debt limit.   I am working hard to ensure that this gets resolved.  It is simply unacceptable for Republicans to play partisan games when the impacts would harm economic growth and the economic security of all Americans.


House Republican Cuts to Food Assistance Programs

SNAP Works

Though I’m not surprised, I’m extremely disappointed that the Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives continued its systematic assault on programs to support poor and working-class Americans today by passing legislation that cuts almost $40 billion from vital food assistance programs last week .  On its own, the policy is bad enough – it denies hungry children, seniors, veterans, and struggling families modest assistance to put food on the table, and it abandons the moral principles our country is built on.  But the twisted justifications from House Republicans are even worse.  They claim that food assistance programs foster a dependency culture in our country, add to our national debt, and hold back our economy, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.  Study after study shows that food assistance programs lift millions of families out of poverty each year, provide a literal lifeline for children, seniors, and disabled Americans, and dramatically reduce homelessness and serious public health issues.  And as Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, I know as well as anyone that every serious, bipartisan budget approach has protected food assistance from cuts because they are clearly not a driver of our long-term debt issues.

Aside from the awful consequences this legislation would have on millions of struggling Americans, the message from House Republicans today also offends me in a very personal way, as a former recipient of federal food assistance.  When I was young, and my family fell on hard times, our government helped my parents put food on the table for six children who are now contributing to our country as adults, so I will not turn my back on children and families who desperately need the help I got as a child.

Read more.

“Guest: Proposed cuts to food stamps devastating” - The Seattle Times


I-5 Bridge Update

Since the Skagit River bridge collapsed in May, we've all been reminded of just how much we rely on a safe, efficient transportation system, so I’m thrilled that work is being completed to replace this crucial bridge along I-5.  Every day, thousands of Washington state families rely on our roads and bridges to get to work, and businesses depend on them to move goods and grow, so it’s vitally important that we invest in transportation infrastructure to remain competitive, support key industries like aerospace, and prevent another tragic incident.

If we don’t take action at the state and federal levels, the problems created by our aging infrastructure will only get worse.  That’s why I’m working hard in the Senate to make desperately-needed investments in our infrastructure, because crumbling roads and bridges across our country, including dozens more in Washington state, are in urgent need of repair or replacement.  I’m so glad to see the installation of the permanent replacement, but this problem isn't going away, so I hope this good news can also serve as another reminder that we have more work to do.

Read more.

“New I-5 bridge section over Skagit River opens”   - Seattle PI

“I-5 Skagit River Bridge reopens with new permanent replacement”  - KIRO


Bipartisan Child Care Legislation

As a mom and former preschool teacher, I know how import high-quality child care options are for parents, and that is why I was so proud last week when the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013  passed out of Committee. It will now move to the full Senate for consideration.  This bipartisan legislation works to ensure the best possible care and places a primary emphasis on promoting policies that will contribute to the healthy development of the more than 1.5 million children who benefit from the federal child care subsidy program, including 44,800 children in Washington state. I am especially glad this bill includes new provisions to help more homeless families access child care, and that this legislation authorizes a national toll-free hotline and website for families seeking safe, affordable, quality child care in their community.

Read more.

“Senate education committee gives bipartisan approval to child care legislation”
– Education Week


Twitter Round-up

Twitter Round-Up - September 23, 2013

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Senator Patty Murray
154 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-2621
Comment: http://murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactMe