At Hearing on Army Budget, Senator Murray Stresses Importance of Supporting Military Families—and of Keeping Pace with Global Competitors’ Investments
***WATCH: Senator Murray speaks at hearing on Army budget request***
Washington, D.C. – Today, at a Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing on the President’s fiscal year 2024 budget request for the Army, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, underscored the importance of passing bipartisan funding bills in a timely way to ensure our investments don’t fall behind our competitors’—and of delivering the support our servicemembers and military families are counting on and deserve.
“These hearings are also a reminder of why it’s so important we continue our work to return to regular order and pass our nation’s funding bills in a timely, bipartisan way—I’ll keep saying that until we’re back to regular order,” said Senator Murray. “Now, if we are going to stay ahead of our competitors like China and others, that means our investments have to keep up—not fall behind—or fall into uncertainty due to partisan gridlock.”
At Tuesday’s hearing, Senator Murray reiterated the need to deliver for our military families and ensure they can get the housing, child care, mental health services, high-quality education, and more they need. She also extended her condolences to the families of soldiers killed in recent helicopter crashes and underscored the importance of preventing future tragedies.
“It is so important to me that this conversation also focuses on getting our military families the support they need like child care and mental health care, good housing and schools, and so much more,” said Senator Murray. “And we also have to make sure we are keeping our men and women in uniform safe. My heart goes out to the families of the soldiers we lost in recent helicopters crashes. I expect to hear more following the Army’s review of safety procedures about how we are preventing future tragedies. Because, at the end of the day, the heart of our military isn’t our weapons or our equipment, it is the brave and talented men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to keep our country safe.”
In particular, Senator Murray raised with Army Secretary Christine Wormuth the barriers servicemembers in Washington state have faced in getting the quality, affordable housing they need—particularly at and around Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“Secretary Wormuth, in my state of Washington, we are still seeing issues with the availability of suitable and affordable housing, especially at and around Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I am hearing that as many as 250 servicemembers and their families can spend from three to 12 months in hotels, or other accommodations, while waiting for a home on base to become available,” said Senator Murray. “These servicemembers and their families need to have a safe, reliable, and affordable place to live, period. I want to ask you what you are doing to ensure housing needs are being met both on and off base.”
Senator Murray also asked Secretary Wormuth about the Army’s work to clean up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at installations across the country after a Department of Defense review last year found dangerous levels of PFAS in the drinking water supplying water to about 175,000 servicemembers at 24 installations.
“The presence of these environmental contaminants, including PFAS, on installations and their surrounding communities continues to be a massive concern of mine and I know many others here in the Senate—especially with some of the worst contamination levels at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Yakima Training Center,” said Senator Murray, asking: “Are there barriers you have identified in cleaning up these contaminants on active instillations?”
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