Senator Murray Remarks on Six-Bill Appropriations Package


House passed legislation in overwhelming bipartisan 339-85

***WATCH: Senator Murray’s floor remarks***


ICYMI: Murray, Top Appropriators Release Minibus – MORE HERE


ICYMI: Murray Secures Full Funding for WIC, Protecting Lifesaving Benefits for Nearly 7 Million Moms & Kids Nationwide – MORE HERE


Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor in support of the six-bill appropriations package that she helped negotiate, which passed the House in an overwhelming 339-85 vote on Wednesday afternoon.


Senator Murray’s full remarks, as delivered, are below:


“Thank you, M. President, and I want to thank the Vice Chair who spent innumerable hours with me for a very long time through many, many different discussions and meetings and hearings—and for her incredible work to get here tonight to this vote. Thank you so much.


“You know, M. President, this week we will at long last be voting on bipartisan, bicameral, full-year funding bills. In fact, this package passed the House in a huge bipartisan vote today—over 300 members voting in favor.


It has been a long road and a tough negotiation to get here—and we are not done yet. I will have more to say, but I come to the floor today, to briefly talk a bit about what is actually in these bills, and why this is so important to families across the country and people back home in Washington state.


“My focus all the way through this process—from day one—has been: how can we produce the strongest bills given some tight constraints and how can we get a result that will make people’s lives better.


“While this package may not be what I would have written on my own—I’m sure my Vice Chair would say it would not be what she would write on her own.


“But we fought very hard to protect investments that matter to working people everywhere and help keep our economy strong—rejecting devastating cuts to housing, nutrition assistance, and a lot more.


“Importantly, we also blocked countless extreme Republican policies—like efforts to restrict abortion rights—that would have set our country back decades.


“This package includes investments in our economy like cutting edge research, renewable energy, key programs to continue rebuilding America’s infrastructure, and funding for my 21st Century Cures Act to support America’s world class biomedical research enterprise.


“Democrats fought hard to protect investments in rural communities and support our farmers.


“It also includes investments to keep America safe, like funding for more air traffic controllers, rail safety inspectors, food safety inspectors, and to implement the law I passed along with Senator Collins starting up FDA’s cosmetics oversight—a major achievement in this bill.


“And our bills reject unthinkable cuts proposed by House Republicans to federal law enforcement—the people who go after drug traffickers and do so much else to keep families and communities safe.


“Not to mention these bills protect pay for federal fire fighters, boost our investments in preventing violence against women, and fund a new program to increase sexual assault nurse exam access that I’ve worked on.


“This package also includes investments in our environment and allows Democrats to continue to deliver on historic climate action—even as House Republicans sought to gut agencies like EPA and Interior.


“We deliver in this bill investments to keep our commitments to tribes, including by continuing to provide advance appropriations so the Indian Health Service can serve patients with certainty, and hire staff for hospitals.


“It includes investments supporting our servicemembers—which is especially important to me as the daughter of a WWII veteran.


“It has crucial resources for military construction projects, including child care centers, housing, and other quality of life improvements for our troops and their families.


“It increases funding for the veteran caregivers program I helped establish and expand.


“And it makes record investments to help end veteran homelessness, deliver mental health care for veterans, and support women veterans’ health care—all longtime priorities of mine.


“And, of course, it includes support for American families.


“That means protecting investments to address the housing crisis—something important in Washington state—programs House Republicans wanted to hollow out!


“But we were able to protect and strengthen essential rental assistance, boost investments to reduce homelessness, and to increase our nation’s affordable housing supply.


“And it means full funding for food assistance programs families rely on, like SNAP, the Summer EBT program I helped establish—which will help half a million kids in Washington state alone, and WIC.


“You know, M. President, as someone whose family relied on food stamps after my dad’s MS diagnosis, I know firsthand that action here can be the difference between families having food on the table for dinner or kids going to bed hungry.


“So, when I saw that House Republicans proposed devastating cuts that would have forced states to deny families WIC benefits for the first time ever, that was never going to be an acceptable outcome.


“I said from the outset I would move mountains to fully fund WIC, and that’s exactly what I did.


“But let’s be clear—WIC should never have even been put into question.


“Because ignoring the mountains of evidence that this program works, the long history of bipartisan support for WIC, and the fact that this program actually saves us money in the long term.


“Ignoring all of that, there is still just no ignoring the fact that the basic question with WIC is: ‘Can the richest country in the world afford to feed babies?’


“And the answer is yes—it has to be.


“I can’t believe I have to say that—but I will say it as many times as it takes. And I’m glad we were able to reach a good outcome and fully fund WIC in this bill.


“And here’s the thing about our appropriations bills, they reflect the input and priorities of nearly every Senator.


“And as a voice for Washington state, I am proud of the ways these bills invest in the communities I know—from every part of my state—with funding for researchers, salmon recovery, infrastructure projects, fixes to ensure our ferries and harbors are getting their fair share, a historic amount of funding for the Hanford cleanup, and more.


“I will have a lot more to say about these efforts and other Washington state projects I fought so hard to include in these bills, but I am so excited to see this funding make progress, and make a difference, for folks back home.


“M. President, we said from day one that partisan poison pills were nonstarters. We said that together. Getting a result in divided government means putting aside partisanship and working to find common ground.


“That is how we managed to put together these six strong, bipartisan, bicameral bills, and it is the only way we are going to be able to wrap up the next six as well—which you should all know: we are working very hard on right now.


“I think we all recognize some far-right House Republicans have been trying to derail this process from the start. But as we saw in the overwhelming, 300-plus House vote to pass this bill. The vast majority, on both sides, wants to get this done.


“By passing these bills, we can turn the page and show America that the vast majority of Congress is still focused on doing its job, and working through tough negotiations, so we can help people and solve problems.


“Again, I want to thank my partner, Senator Collins, who’s been just tremendous in working with us, all of our staffs who have been working on this 24/7 for so long—they are exhausted and they still have six more bills to go. I want to thank our chairs of the appropriations subcommittees that are in this bill: Senators Schatz, Heinrich, Shaheen, and Merkley for their tremendous work and their Republican counterparts as well, who have really put in a lot of time and energy—and who have had to say yes and no way too many times, but we got this done.


“So I hope all of my colleagues will join me in sending that message this week by voting on the motion to proceed this evening, voting yes, and then working together to make sure we get this to the president’s desk before the deadline on Friday.”