PHOTOS: Murray talks about her plans to make child care and college more affordable, pass federal paid leave policy, make the expanded child tax credit permanent
***WATCH: Video of event HERE***
(Seattle, WA) — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray held a campaign town hall focused on her work fighting for Washington’s families — from making child care more affordable, to prioritizing education, to bringing down the cost of quality health care. The event was part of Senator Murray’s Patty for WA Campaign Tour of town halls and Get Out The Vote events to discuss key issues at stake in the November general election. Murray was joined by State Representative Liz Berry, who moderated the evening’s discussion.
“I grew up knowing what it means to get by on a tight budget. With seven kids in my family, we never had a lot, but we always got by — and a lot of times, that was because our country had our backs,” said Senator Murray. “Every morning when I go to work, I’m thinking about what I can do to help working families in our state. We’ve made important progress to lower costs for our families, especially when it comes to lowering prescription drug cost — but there’s a lot more I want to get done. As a former preschool teacher and a grandma, I know how critical it is that we solve the child care crisis and make child care affordable for every parent — and I have a plan to do it. I’m also fighting to make paid family and medical leave a reality, prioritize quality education for every child, make community college tuition free, and continue pushing to lower health care costs for families.”
“I will never stop listening to, and being a voice for Washington’s families,” Murray continued. “This election is a choice between whether we build an economy that actually works for our families, or whether we let my opponent put Mitch McConnell back in charge of the Senate so that he can say, ‘sorry — you’re on your own.’”
Patty Murray — a former preschool teacher, who first ran for Congress as a “mom in tennis shoes” — has led the fight in the U.S. Senate on key issues facing Washington state’s families, from child care to paid leave to bringing down the cost of health care. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Murray played a key role in passing the American Rescue Plan — in that legislation, Murray secured millions in funding to reopen schools safely, delivered the largest-ever one-time investment in child care, and established the expanded Child Tax Credit. The expanded child tax credit led to a 46% drop in child poverty in a single year. In Washington state, nearly 1.4 million children in nearly 800,000 families received the expanded credit. The permanent expansion, which Murray is currently fighting for, would lift an estimated 67,000 Washington kids out of poverty and reduce the state’s childhood poverty rate by 43%.
When asked about health care, Murray pointed to her efforts to lower prescription drug costs and health care costs. Murray spoke about how the Inflation Reduction Act will finally allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug costs for seniors, which will bring down costs for patients and generate enormous savings for taxpayers. The law will also cap Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket prescription drugs costs at $2,000 a year, cap their insulin costs at $35 a month, and cap price increases on their prescriptions at the rate of inflation so that drug makers cannot jack up prices to juice their own profits — helping the more than 1.4 million Medicare recipients in Washington state save money on their prescriptions.
The Inflation Reduction Act also extends — for three full years — the health care tax credits Senator Murray championed in the American Rescue Plan, which have saved millions of Americans thousands of dollars on health care, spurred record enrollment on the health exchanges, and helped bring our nation’s uninsured rate to an all-time low. In Washington, thanks to the tax credits, more than 60,000 new people signed up for health care coverage last year, two in five found coverage for less than $100 a month, and 40,000 Washingtonians were eligible for coverage that cost less than $10 a month.
During the town hall, Murray discussed her child care plan — which is backed by nearly the entire Senate Democratic caucus and President Biden — to make child care more affordable and accessible. Murray also spoke about her fight to get a strong federal paid leave policy over the finish line — one that we can pay for by simply making sure billionaires and giant corporations pay their fair share.
Participants at the town hall also asked Murray about education and learning loss. Murray reiterated her strong belief that every student should be able to get a great public education no matter where they live in Washington state — pointing to her longtime fight in Congress to prioritize investing in public schools every year. During the pandemic, Murray led the charge to re-open schools safely and get our kids back in the classroom; Murray also made certain the American Rescue Plan included resources to help expand afterschool and summer school programs to help kids’ learning get back on track and is squarely focused on making sure our students have what they need to learn.
Murray also discussed how she will keep fighting to make sure college and quality technical and career training is within reach for every Washington state family — pointing to her work to pass bipartisan investments in workforce training and her plans to make community college tuition free, lower the cost of college overall, and enact long-term reforms to our student loan system.