At Hearing on Treasury Budget, Senator Murray Highlights Need to Strengthen Main Street Economy

Senator Murray emphasized Treasury’s role in supporting and safeguarding the economic wellbeing of Main Street while also highlighting the important role the agency plays in advancing key national security imperatives


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


***WATCH: Senator Murray Discusses Treasury Budget with Secretary Yellen***


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, at a hearing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the President’s FY24 budget request, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, underscored the importance of investing in the Treasury to help ensure the economic prosperity of Main Street, not just Wall Street. Senator Murray went on to emphasize that she would be working closely with Vice Chair Collins to write a bipartisan spending bill that provides Treasury with the resources it needs to safeguard and promote the American economy while also advancing key national security interests like enforcement of sanctions against American adversaries. Senator Murray also made clear, once again, that Congress should waste no time in raising the debt limit in a bipartisan way to avoid a needless and unforced economic catastrophe.


“This hearing is really an important reminder that when it comes to keeping our nation strong, secure, and competitive, it is not just about how much we spend on defense, which is important, it is also about how strong our economy is—and I mean on Main Street, not just Wall Street,” said Senator Murray. “The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank have been a really stark reminder of the important role Treasury does play regulating our banks, ensuring our economy is sound, and protecting American workers and savers from paying the price for Wall Street’s mistakes.”


“Strong funding for Treasury means strong enforcement of our sanctions against Russia, Iran, drug cartels, and other dangerous actors. It also means when my constituents call the IRS with a question about their taxes, they can actually get a real person on the other end of the line,” continued Senator Murray. “We need a modern IRS, and that won’t just mean fewer tax cheats stiffing working families when it comes to paying their fair share, it means that Americans’ personal financial information is safer from cyberattacks or nefarious actors—and it will mean we can put more money back in families’ pockets when it comes to the tax refunds and relief that they are entitled to, like the child tax credit President Biden proposes reinstating in this budget.”


During the hearing, Senator Murray reiterated to Secretary Yellen that she expects to see Treasury’s spend plan for the Inflation Reduction Act funding provided for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—and that she expected the Secretary to keep her closely apprised of the Treasury’s response to the recent bank failures at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.


“Secretary Yellen, I asked you about the IRS’s spend plan for the IRA funding in our call when we talked last month,” said Senator Murray. “Congress still doesn’t have it, and I want to join Chair Van Hollen in saying the Department has had enough time to produce it, and we expect to see it.”


Senator Murray went on to ask Secretary Yellen what resources would be needed to implement the Murray-negotiated SECURE 2.0. As Chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in the last Congress, Senator Murray secured provisions in the legislation to bolster savings by allowing employers to offer emergency savings accounts; expand access to employer-sponsored retirement plans through multiple employer plans and through increased access to plans for part-time workers; improve communications to retirement plan participants and transparency around lump-sum buyout offers for pension plan participants; ensure people get clear information about fee disclosures regarding their retirement plans; and more.


“Last year, I was able to help pass a sweeping bipartisan retirement bill in our SECURE 2.0 Act that will increase families’ financial resiliency, help more families save for a dignified retirement, and make it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans,” asked Senator Murray. “Can you tell us what resources Treasury will need to implement all of SECURE’s directives in a timely manner?”


Senator Murray also asked Secretary Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, to outline how the President’s budget would strengthen the American economy and provided her with an opportunity to rebut false Republican talking points that wrongly suggest the President’s budget would have any meaningful effect on inflation.


“President Biden’s ’24 budget is rightly called ‘a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.’ And that blueprint would not only help families with lower health care costs, but also invest in quality child care, ensure giant corporations and billionaires pay their fair share, and a lot more,” said Senator Murray. “Do you think that the President’s budget would increase inflation or put us on a path to ‘fiscal ruin’ as some of our colleagues have suggested?”


“No I don’t. It does invest in America, in our people, in our economy in ways that will make it more productive—but it proposes ways to pay for that, and in fact, over ten years, it involves deficit reduction amounting to $3 trillion,” replied Secretary Yellen. “So it puts us on a more secure and prudent fiscal path.”