Budget Blog

To continue highlighting the need to make sure women have a level playing field in today’s economy, Chairman Murray recently hosted roundtables with women leaders in the Tri-Cities and Spokane, Washington about the challenges they face in the workforce and ways to expand economic opportunity for women and their families. Senator Murray hosted a roundtable at the YWCA of Spokane last week, and at the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau this week. At each event, Murray made the case for policies that would help working women get a fair shot, like strengthening pay equity, raising the federal minimum wage, expanding access to high-quality, affordable child care, making college more affordable through student loan refinancing, and enacting family-friendly workplace policies.

“When it comes to issues like pay inequity, the high cost of child care, or inflexible workplace policies, the key point is that in the 21st century economy, these aren’t just women’s issues. These issues affect the whole family—moms and dads—and they are holding our country as a whole back from reaching its economic potential,” said Senator Murray at Tri-Cities. “I’m proud to be fighting for policies that would help Washington state women and families gain the economic security they are working so hard to achieve.”

These remarks were part of Murray’s continued effort to fight for policies that would expand opportunity for women and their families.

Yesterday, Senator Murray spoke at a symposium hosted by the Women in Business Leadership Initiative (WIBLI), an organization the Seattle Chamber of Commerce launched after a roundtable with Senator Murray in order to support Washington state women leaders and help close the gender wage gap. In her speech, Murray emphasized the importance of women’s economic opportunity to the broader economy, the difference women can make by running for office and leading on these issues in their communities, and the momentum across the country to make progress for women in today’s workforce.
To ensure that the United States can continue to lead in the 21st century, we need to make sure our workers are prepared to compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs in growing industries. But today, our economy has a growing shortage of workers with the training and experience many of these jobs require. In fact, by 2018 the United States will face a shortage of workers with recognized postsecondary credentials – as many as 3,000,000 workers with degrees and 4,700,000 workers with certificates, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

To close this gap, we need to invest in helping workers get the skills and training they need. That is why Chairman Murray, along with Representative George Miller (D-CA), and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI), recently introduced the Promoting Apprenticeships for Credentials and Employment Act (PACE Act), a new bill that would support the expansion of registered apprenticeship programs.
Last week, Senator Murray joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Minority Leader Pelosi, Senator Gillibrand, and Congresswoman DeLauro to speak about “Why Women’s Economic Security Matters for All” at the Center for American Progress. Senator Murray highlighted the importance of investing in early learning to help children get a strong start, explained why child care helps women succeed in the workforce, and made the case that the U.S. should prioritize these important investments.

Man-made climate change is a real threat to the security and fiscal health of our country, and responding to it is one of the most important challenges that we face.  Just this weekend over 300,000 people from all over the world marched in New York City to draw attention to the threats of climate change and call for action. 

While the environmental impacts of climate change are well known, attention is increasingly being paid to the fiscal impacts of a warming planet. Chairman Murray held a hearing on the economic and budgetary consequences of climate change. Last month, she released a memo on the fiscal impacts of climate change to her Senate colleagues, where she laid out how climate change will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal deficit over the next decade if left unaddressed. “If you care about the deficit, you need to care about climate change,” Chairman Murray said.

Last week, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan spoke out about the fiscal impacts of climate change. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew talked about the economic and budgetary costs of further inaction.

Climate change will harm economic growth, which will hurt job creation and reduce federal revenues.  One of the most trusted economic models available projects that four degrees Celsius of warming will eventually result in a worldwide economic reduction of 3.5 percent of global GDP per year. We know that slower growth hurts the federal bottom line. For example, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that even a small reduction in real GDP growth of just 0.1 percent per year would worsen the deficit and add to the debt by more than $300 billion over the course of the 10-year window.

The longer we wait the more expensive it will be to address climate change. The White House Council of Economic Advisors predicts that the cost of addressing climate change will rise by approximately 40 percent each decade in which action is delayed. Secretary Lew pointed out at the Hamilton Project that, “[i]f the fiscal burden from climate change continues to rise, it will create budgetary pressures that will force hard tradeoffs, larger deficits or higher taxes. These tradeoffs would make it more challenging to invest in growth, meet the needs of an aging population, and provide for our national defense.”

At the Center for American Progress, Director Donovan said: “The failure to invest in climate solutions and climate preparedness doesn’t get you membership in a Fiscal Conservatives’ Caucus – it makes you a member of the Flat Earth Society. The costs of climate change add up and ignoring the problem only makes it worse.”

These costs add up throughout the budget. In the past decade, the federal government spent nearly three times as much on natural disaster relief as it had in the previous decade. Without addressing climate change, maintaining our transportation infrastructure could cost as much as 20 percent more than it would in the absence of a warming planet. More than $100 billion a year in federal nutrition support programs and benefits is tied directly to food prices, which will rise with unabated climate change.

For more information about how climate change will impact the federal budget, please watch July’s hearing or read Chairman Murray’s memo to her colleagues. 

Yesterday, Senator Murray was honored with the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Education Advocacy at a Committee for Education Funding gala. The Committee for Education Funding is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of education associations dedicated to adequate federal funding on education. Past winners of the Terrel H. Bell Award include President Obama and former President Clinton.

As she accepted the award, Murray spoke about how she was inspired to advocate for education when her children’s preschool was facing cuts, and discussed the work she has done since to protect investments in education:

“As Chairman of the Budget Committee, I made it a priority to have witnesses at our hearings who could put a face to the issue—and make sure my colleagues understood that this wasn’t just about numbers on a page, it was about real people, and real lives.

“I brought in teachers and students, moms and dads. People who ought to have a voice at the table—who ought to have their stories heard—but too often don’t. I went back home to Washington state,  I visited Head Start centers, talked to families impacted by the cuts—and then I came back here to D.C. to share their stories on the Senate floor. 

“The two year deal we reached set bipartisan spending levels through the end of next year. It replaced almost two-thirds of this year’s across-the-board cuts to education and other domestic investments.”

Senator Murray has fought for continued investment in our nation’s future through early childhood, K12, higher education and training programs. In April, Murray stressed the impact of education and training on economic mobility in a hearing on Opportunity, Mobility, and Inequality in Today’s Economy and continued to highlight these issues in a May hearing with Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Education Budget Request.

Read Senator Murray’s full remarks at the Committee for Education Funding gala here.

Murray CEF

Throughout the month of August, Senator Murray has been calling on her colleagues to support American exports by reauthorizing the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. At the end of this month, the authorization of the Ex-Im Bank will expire and jeopardize billions of dollars of American exports and hundreds of thousands of jobs spread out across every state.

In fiscal year 2013, the Bank supported $37.4 billion in American exports from 3,413 exporters, with 90% of the transactions involving small businesses. The Bank operates from fees that it charges, and returned over $1 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year, after covering its operating expenses. Over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the Bank will return about $14 billion. 

Reauthorizing the Bank has always been routine. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Ex-Im Bank’s authorization has been extended 45 times since 1945. It is time to give American businesses the confidence they need by giving the Bank the authority to continue operating with the funds that they themselves raise.

Read Senator Murray's letter to Speaker Boehner from July calling for a vote here.

See more of Senator Murray's outreach on the Export-Import Bank: