Patricia Lynn Murray (born Patricia Johns; October 11, 1950) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Washington, a seat she was first elected to in 1992. A member of the Democratic Party, Murray is Washington State's first female U.S. Senator.
She served as the Senate Majority Conference Secretary from 2007 until 2017, which made her the fourth-highest-ranking Democrat and the highest-ranking woman in the Senate. In 2017, Murray became the Senate Assistant Democratic Leader, making her the third-highest-ranking Democrat and still the highest-ranking woman in the Senate. Murray chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2001 to 2003, and again from 2011 to 2013. Murray chaired the Senate Budget Committee from 2013 to 2015. She also previously served as co-chair of the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Since January 2015, Murray has been the Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. She is currently the 6th most senior member of the United States Senate, the 3rd most senior Democrat, and the dean of Washington's congressional delegation.
On December 10, 2013, Murray and Republican Representative Paul Ryan announced that they had negotiated a two-year, bi-partisan budget, known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.
Murray opposed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill criminalizing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, saying on the Senate floor, "I oppose the fact that we are still voting on whether women and doctors are best equipped to make health care decisionsâ€”or politicians here in DC."She also voted against restricting UN funding for population control policies.
In March 2019, Murray was one of thirty-eight senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue warning that dairy farmers "have continued to face market instability and are struggling to survive the fourth year of sustained low prices" and urging his department to "strongly encourage these farmers to consider the Dairy Margin Coverage program."
In June 2019, Murray and eighteen other Democratic senators sent a letter to USDA Inspector General (IG) Phyllis K. Fong with the request that the IG investigate USDA instances of retaliation and political decision-making and asserted that not conducting an investigation would mean these "actions could be perceived as a part of this administrationâ€™s broader pattern of not only discounting the value of federal employees, but suppressing, undermining, discounting, and wholesale ignoring scientific data produced by their own qualified scientists."
In July 2019, Murray signed a letter to United States Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta that advocated for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to initiate a full investigation into a complaint filed on May 20 by a group of Chicago-area employees of McDonald's, which detailed workplace violence incidents that included interactions with customers such as customers throwing hot coffee and threatening employees with firearms and more. The senators argued that McDonald's could and needed to "do more to protect its employees, but employers will not take seriously their obligations to provide a safe workplace if OSHA does not enforce workers rights to a hazard-free workplace."
In March 2017, Murray was one of twenty-one senators to sign a letter led by Ed Markey to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell which noted that 12 percent of adult Medicaid beneficiaries had some form or a substance abuse disorder in addition to one third of treatment administered for opioid and other substance use disorders in the United States being financed through Medicaid and opined that the American Health Care Act could "very literally translate into a death spiral for those with opioid use disorders" due to the insurance coverage lacking and not having the adequate funds to afford care oftentimes resulting in individuals abandoning substance use disorder treatment.
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Major General Galen Jackmanbriefs Senator Patty Murray on the Manned Ground Vehicle program in Washington, D. C.
In October 2002, Murray was one of 21 Democrats in the Senate to vote against the War Authoritization for invading Iraq. Quoted from her Senate speech:
Mr. President, if we do take action in Iraq, there is no doubt that our armed forces will prevail. We will win a war with Iraq decisively, and, God willing, we will win it quickly. But what happens after the war? That will have as big an impact on our future peace and security. Will we be obligated to rebuild Iraq? If so, how? Our economy is reeling, our budget is in deficit, and we have no estimate of the cost of rebuilding. And with whom? As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman points out, there's a retail store mentality that suggests to some â€“ if "you break it, you buy it."
In December 2002, while speaking to students at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Murray made a number of remarks about Osama bin Laden, as she attempted to explain why the US had such problems winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world, and how bin Laden had garnered support among some in the Middle East. Among other things, she had stated that bin Laden has "been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building daycare facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He's made their lives better. We have not done that." This attracted attention from political opponents, who argued that this was inaccurate and constituted support for bin Laden.
Global Trade Exchange
Senator Patty Murray put the controversial intelligence ports-data project Global Trade Exchange into the Homeland security budget.
In April 2019, Murray was one of thirty-four senators to sign a letter to President Trump encouraging him "to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America", asserting that Trump had "consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance" since becoming president and that he was "personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity" through preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S., citing the funding's helping to improve conditions in those countries.
In December 2010, Murray voted for the ratification of New Start, a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russian Federationobliging both countries to have no more than 1,550 strategic warheads as well as 700 launchers deployed during the next seven years along with providing a continuation of on-site inspections that halted when START I expired the previous year. It was the first arms treaty with Russia in eight years.
In December 2018, after United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration was suspending its obligations in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 60 days in the event that Russia continued to violate the treaty, Murray was one of twenty-six senators to sign a letter expressing concern over the administration "now abandoning generations of bipartisan U.S. leadership around the paired goals of reducing the global role and number of nuclear weapons and ensuring strategic stability with America's nuclear-armed adversaries" and calling on President Trump to continue arms negotiations.
Murray condemned the genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and called for a stronger response to the crisis.
In December 2018, Murray was one of forty-two senators to sign a letter to Trump administration officials Alex Azar, Seema Verma, and Steve Mnuchinarguing that the administration was improperly using Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act to authorize states to "increase health care costs for millions of consumers while weakening protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions." The senators requested the administration withdraw the policy and "re-engage with stakeholders, states, and Congress."
In August 2013, Murray was one of twenty-three Democratic senators to sign a letter to the Defense Department warning of some payday lenders "offering predatory loan products to service members at exorbitant triple digit effective interest rates and loan products that do not include the additional protections envisioned by the law" and asserting that service members along with their families "deserve the strongest possible protections and swift action to ensure that all forms of credit offered to members of our armed forces are safe and sound."
In December 2018, Murray was one of twenty-one senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie calling it "appalling that the VA is not conducting oversight of its own outreach efforts" in spite of suicide prevention being the VA's highest clinical priority and requesting Wilkie "consult with experts with proven track records of successful public and mental health outreach campaigns with a particular emphasis on how those individuals measure success."
In October 2017, Murray was one of nineteen senators to sign a letter to Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt questioning Pruitt's decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan, asserting that the repeal's proposal used "mathematical sleights of hand to over-state the costs of industry compliance with the 2015 Rule and understate the benefits that will be lost if the 2017 repeal is finalized" and science denying and math fabricating would fail to "satisfy the requirements of the law, nor will it slow the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the inexorable rise in sea levels, or the other dire effects of global warming that our planet is already experiencing."
In February 2019, in response to reports of the EPA intending to decide against setting drinking water limits for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) as part of an upcoming national strategy to manage the aforementioned class of chemicals, Murray was one of twenty senators to sign a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler calling on the agency "to develop enforceable federal drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS, as well as institute immediate actions to protect the public from contamination from additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)."