At Hearing on HHS Budget, Senator Murray Makes Clear: Investing in Families’ Health and Basics Pays Dividends

ICYMI: Senator Murray Statement on the President’s Budget Request – MORE HERE


***WATCH: Senator Murray’s full remarks and questioning***


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, at a hearing with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on the President’s FY24 budget request, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, underscored the importance of continuing to invest in families’ health and prosperity as House Republicans propose drastic funding cuts that would cause people across our country to lose access to child care, mental health services, substance use disorder treatment, and so much more.


Senator Murray made clear that investing in families isn’t just good for families—it’s how we build a stronger economy and safer communities, and she is going to be working hard alongside Vice Chair Collins and her colleagues on the committee in the months ahead to craft bipartisan spending bills that do exactly that.


“Today’s hearing really offers a really important reminder that when it comes to making our country safe and strong, investing in families and workers is key to our economic success,” said Senator Murray. “Defense spending is absolutely important, but it is just part of the equation.


Because, for families across the country, being safe includes knowing they can get the health care they need. It means addressing the devastating maternal mortality crisis and the opioid epidemic. It means training and retaining a strong, health care workforce. It means building a robust public health system so we can prevent and respond to threats like dangerous disease outbreaks. And making sure women in every corner of this country can get the health care and family planning services that they need,” continued Senator Murray.


At Wednesday’s hearing, Senator Murray emphasized the critical need to tackle the child care crisis with renewed federal investments—to get families the child care they need to go to work and strengthen our entire economy. She discussed how the Child Care Stabilization Program—a federal program Democrats created in the American Rescue Plan—helped save the child care sector from collapse during the pandemic, allowing child care centers to keep their doors open and serve nearly 184,000 kids across Washington state alone. But with the funding set to end and the nationwide child care crisis worsening—costing our economy $122 billion a year—it’s critical the federal government invests in solving the crisis.


“There is also the child care crisis, which is straining parents’ budgets and forcing them out of the workforce. We have to solve this crisis, which is why I will continue to raise this as a top priority of mine,” said Senator Murray, who asked Secretary Becerra about why more action is needed.


Senator Murray also underscored the vital need for more federal action to tackle the unacceptable and worsening maternal mortality crisis in our country—which was underscored recently by new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the U.S. maternal death rate continues to rise.


“Let me ask you about a report that the CDC released—it’s really shocking—on the alarming maternal mortality crisis in our nation, which found that the maternal mortality rate has risen 40 percent since 2020,” said Senator Murray. “Can you tell me how the Department’s existing work is going, and what the additional investments in maternal health in this budget will do?”