Senator Murray Emphasizes Need to Deliver for Military Families, Keep Pace with Adversaries at Hearing on Air Force and Space Force Budgets

***WATCH: Senator Murray speaks at hearing on Air Force and Space Force budget requests***


Washington, D.C. – Today, at a Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing on the President’s FY24 budget request for the Air Force and Space Force, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, highlighted the importance of passing robust funding bills in a timely way to keep pace with our adversaries—and ensure that we support our military families.


“As Vice Chair Collins just talked about, it is so important that we return to regular order and work to pass our funding bills in a timely, bipartisan way, which is what we are really focused on doing,” said Senator Murray. “If we are going to keep pace with our adversaries like China and others, that means our investments have to keep pace too. We can’t fall behind, and we certainly can’t fall into uncertainty due to partisan gridlock.”


At Tuesday’s hearing, Senator Murray underscored the need to better support military families across the country—to ensure that, among other things, they can get the child care, mental health services, and housing they need.


“It is really important that we remember that includes getting our military families support like child care, mental health care, good housing, schools—because really at the end of the day our best aircraft can’t go very far without the brave and talented men and women who pilot them and work to keep our country safe,” said Senator Murray.


In particular, Senator Murray raised with Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall the concerns she’s heard from constituents at Fairchild Air Force Base in eastern Washington state about finding high-quality and affordable child care—and asked the Secretary about what the Air Force is doing to keep Child Development Centers fully staffed and shorten wait lists for families.


“The President’s budget seeks to address this critical issue, and it includes a standardized Child Development Center employee discount for child care workers, and the Air Force has previously I know run a pilot program to provide additional benefits to center employees. What other tools has the Air Force used to support current employees and future hires to keep these Child Development Centers fully staffed?” asked Senator Murray.


Senator Murray also asked General B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations, about efforts to ensure the U.S. remains competitive when it comes to space—and specifically asked about the Space Force’s work with the growing space industry in Washington state.


“As our competitors around the world continue to closely link their space industries and militaries, they can quickly put new technology into the field. We need to make sure we’re doing the same if we want to stay ahead of our adversaries,” said Senator Murray. “Washington state is home to a number of cutting-edge commercial space companies that are developing really revolutionary technologies, and I believe this is the kind of innovation we should be supporting. How are you working with the rapidly growing space industry in Washington state and, really, elsewhere to bring new technologies and capabilities to our military?”