Budget Blog

Senator Murray has worked throughout her career to expand economic opportunity for working families through policies like raising the minimum wage, expanding access to affordable child care, making it easier to pay down student loans, helping women gain financial security for retirement, and enacting the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Here is some of what Senator Murray has been working on recently to expand opportunity for working women and their families:

Working Fathers and Families Meet and Greet

Senator Murray at Working Dads EventIn honor of Father’s Day, Senator Murray hosted a Working Fathers and Families Meet and Greet to continue highlighting the need for policies that better support modern working families.  At the event, she heard the perspectives of everyday husbands and fathers, as well as advocates, on issues that are often thought of as only impacting women—like paid family leave, child care, and equal pay. The event was a continuation of Senate Democrats’ work to highlight the Fair Shot agenda and other policies that help working women and families gain economic security.  After meeting with the fathers and advocates, Sen. Murray headed to the Senate floor to share the stories she heard, and discussed policies that would make a difference for their families.

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “Today two-thirds of families with children have two working parents. Dads are taking a more hands-on role in raising their children. And this means, in many working families, fathers are increasingly facing a lot of the same challenges mothers do. In fact, more and more fathers report that they are struggling to balance work and family. At a time when so many families need both parents to be at work in order to make ends meet, we clearly need to update our policies so that both mothers and fathers can succeed at work and at home.LINK

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “What these fathers made clear is that the economic barriers we often see impacting women, like: inflexible workplace policies,  the high cost of child care,  and unequal pay, aren’t just holding women back. They are holding 21st century families back. And there is no question in my mind that they are also a drag on our economy. That is why Democrats are fighting for policies that would help hardworking mothers and fathers across the country.” LINK

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA):I believe that if we take steps to break down the barriers that working mothers and fathers are facing in today’s economy, families across the country will have more opportunity, and our country will be stronger, now and over the long term. And there is no reason not to get to work.” LINK 
  • The Hill: “Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said she hopes Republicans will ‘rethink’ their opposition to Democratic proposals, such as raising the minimum wage and paycheck gender equality, because the measures would help working families and the economy. ‘It’s been so disappointing to see that when it comes to everything from: the Paycheck Fairness Act, to the raising the minimum wage for millions of workers, to helping ease the burden of student loans, my Republican colleagues have — so far — said no,’ Murray said on the Senate floor Tuesday. ‘Even though these are policies that would help millions of working families.’ Before coming to the Senate floor, Murray held a press event to hear from fathers who said they too would benefit from the legislation.” LINK

Murray Joins Senate Democratic Women to Highlight How Student Loan Debt Disproportionally Impacts Women

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “The overwhelming weight of student loan debt can have lasting consequences, as young people try to start their careers, set up households, and save for retirement. And for women, because of the gender pay gap, it can be even more difficult to pay down student loans…  I think we can all agree that’s just unfair—and it’s not good for families or our economy as a whole.
  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA):I’m proud Democrats are fighting for women to get the same pay as their male counterparts—just like we made sure insurance companies can’t charge women more than men for health insurance. And I’m proud we are fighting just as hard to make sure women can find better jobs, and keep more of what they earn, by breaking down the barrier the high cost of a college education creates for so many students today. LINK

HELP Committee Hearing - Economic Security for Working Women: A Roundtable Discussion 

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA):I think the issue of economic security for working women is critically important to our nation today as we try to grow our economy.” LINK

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA):  “Whether it’s making sure you have child care so you can stay at work, whether it’s pay equity, how that impacts your finances both today, and you retire. The issue that so many women come in and out of the workforce when they have kids because our policies today make it tough. What happens, all of sudden your retired and your only source of income is social security, I think it’s about thirteen thousand—a little more than that—a year, for somebody to exists on if their sole source of is social security, and one in three women, as I said today, depends on that small amount of money. So it’s a huge economic issue.” LINK

Murray, Warren Double Down on Democrats’ Efforts to Expand Economic Opportunity for Women and Families

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivered remarks on the Senate floor on expanding economic opportunity for women and families. Murray and Warren discussed barriers women and their families face in today’s economy and highlighted policies that would grow the economy and level the playing field for women. The senators called on Republicans to join Democrats in focusing on policies that will move women and the economy forward and end practices that set them back financially, instead of working to turn back the clock on women’s rights.

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA):Acting to expand economic opportunity for women is the right thing to do. It is part of our ongoing work to uphold our country’s most fundamental values.” LINK

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “As we think about ways to support growth in the 21st century, it’s absolutely clear that our country’s economic success, and that of middle class families, goes hand in hand with women’s economic success. This means we have a lot more work to do. Because despite all the progress that has been made—all the glass ceilings that have been broken—women still face barriers that are holding them, their families, and the economy back.” LINK

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA):First and foremost, that means we need to end unfair practices that set women back financially. We took a good step forward with the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurance companies from charging women more than men for coverage. But we need to do more to make sure women are getting equal pay for equal work. My colleague Chairwoman Mikulski has led the way on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide women with more tools to fight pay discrimination. Giving the millions of women earning the minimum wage a raise would also go a long way towards that effort.” LINK

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “That is why it is so disappointing to see that when it comes to issues affecting women, some of my Republican colleagues are laser-focused on turning back the clock. We saw this just yesterday when the senior Senator from South Carolina attempted to pass an extreme bill that would severely limit women’s reproductive rights. I think women today would much rather see Congress focusing on expanding opportunity and helping working families, than on getting in between women and their doctors.”  LINK

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “Over the next few months, I think you are going to continue to see Democrats continuing to fight for goals like achieving pay equity, providing access to affordable child care, and raising the minimum wage. All of which would move women, families, and our economy forward—not backward. And I hope our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will be willing to join us. Thank you and I yield the floor.” LINK

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “I’m pleased to join Senator Murray on the floor today to stand up for American women because its time for a tough conversation about the economics of being a woman. I applaud her leadership and I am very pleased she’s bringing the women of the Senate to the floor today.” LINK

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “I want to thank Senator Murray for her leadership and for fighting for real economic equality for women.” — Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) LINK

Budget Committee Hearing on Expanding Economic Opportunity for Women and Families

Chairman Patty MurrayChairman Patty Murray and the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on Expanding Economic Opportunity for Women and Families with witnesses Dr. Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and AnnMarie Duchon, Associate Director of Accommodation Services at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, who shared her personal story about the impact of the gender wage gap. The hearing explored steps Congress can take to expand economic opportunity for women and their families.

  • Dr. Heather Boushey, Center for American ProgressDr. Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: “Today, most women work, and they work full time. About two- thirds of mothers are family breadwinners, bringing home either all of their family's earnings, or at least as much as their partners or co- breadwinners. Women's increased work is important for family incomes, and for «economic» growth. LINK

  • Dr. Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: “These are issues that are especially important for low-wage workers, who disproportionately lack these benefits. Federal budget policies can encourage women's work, and increase family income. The Murray-Ryan budget agreement has helped promote women's economic progress in the workforce, but there'll be more to do after that deal expires.”  LINK

  • AnnMarie DuchonAnnMarie Duchon, associate director of accommodation services at University of Massachusetts-Amherst: “I'm telling my story not because I hate my job, or because I have any ill will toward my employer, or toward the male colleague who made a higher salary than I did. In fact, we are very good friends. But this story isn't about him, it's about me, and it's a story that's all-too-common for women, and moms in particular, who face gender wage discrimination. It's unfair, it's bad for our economy, and to borrow a phrase, it's time to put an end to the "Mad Men"-era policies.”  LINK

5th Anniversary of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

  • Lilly Ledbetter Signing and Anniversary Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “Five years ago today, I stood with Lilly and President Obama at the White House as the ink dried on his very first bill signed into law. That day we took a major step towards guaranteeing workers can get a fair chance to fight for their rights. However, we need to face up to the realities that we still have a long, tough road ahead. Women across this country are still struggling to find work that pays a living wage at a time when they’re balancing being both the breadwinners and caretakers in so many families. When we talk about economic inequality in America, we need to focus on the fact that women continue to be paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns and make up two-thirds of all minimum wage workers. We need policy changes that focus on this critical part of our population if we are truly going to create economic opportunities that expand the middle class and strengthen American families. Those policy changes include raising the minimum wage, but they also must include pay equity, protecting access to affordable health care, and increasing early education and child care access. Millions of women across Washington state and our nation are teetering on the brink and I was glad to hear President Obama rightly focus on these specific issues during his State of the Union last evening. Ensuring workers get equal pay for the same work isn’t just about equal rights – it’s about doing the right thing for our families, our economy, and our country.” LINK