Budget Blog

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: 

Senator Murray visited Shuga Jazz Bistro in Renton, Washington to talk to a group of Washington state women about the challenges that they face and policies she is working on back in D.C. to expand opportunity for women. Senator Murray spoke with the group about the burden of high student loan payments, the need for more affordable child care, and why the Paycheck Fairness Act would make a difference for women and families.
Yesterday, Senator Murray visited the University of Washington’s South Lake Campus with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health to discuss the importance of continued investment in biomedical research and innovation to continue global leadership in the field, improve public health, and ensure that the U.S. workforce in the field grows. Murray and Director Collins toured the university’s medical research labs to see some of the work being done with federal research investments, and met with local leaders in global health and biomedical research to discuss healthcare innovation moving forward.
Yesterday, Senator Murray hosted a roundtable discussion in Everett with local advocates on women’s economic empowerment. Sen. Murray is currently leading a Congressional push to strengthen economic security and expand opportunity for women and their families, and believes that our country’s economic success, and that of middle class families, goes hand in hand with women’s economic success. The roundtable discussion highlighted a range of issues and policies to help women and their families succeed, including closing the pay gap, raising the minimum wage, making child care more affordable, and getting tuition costs down.
In less than 60 days, the authorization for the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank will expire and jeopardize billions of dollars of American exports. The Ex-Im Bank is an independent and self-sustaining agency that provides financing for exporting American goods and services when private banks are unable to do so. 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. Since 2007, the Bank has supported over $111 billion in exports from Washington State alone, boosting a wide range of industries from aerospace to agriculture. 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.

This year’s Medicare and Social Security Trustees Report projects that Medicare will remain solvent for four years longer than was projected last year, in part as a result of cost saving measures in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

In 2009, the Trustees projected that the Medicare Trust Fund would be exhausted in 2017. This year, just five years later, they project the Medicare Trust Fund will remain solvent until 2030. This 13-year increase in Medicare’s solvency is due in part to cost-saving reforms in the ACA, such as reducing preventable readmissions by giving hospitals a strong financial incentive to properly treat patients the first time. These trends are helping seniors today, as the Trustees predict that current Medicare beneficiaries will see no premium increase in 2015.

“The Trustees Report shows that the Affordable Care Act is continuing to help responsibly bend the health care cost curve, while increasing the quality of health care services for families across the country. This is making a difference for family budgets and the federal budget, and we need to build on this progress with additional reforms that drive health care costs down responsibly,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA).

You can read the entire report here.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that a consumer protection in the Affordable Care Act(ACA) has saved American families $9 billion in unnecessary health care costs since 2011. The ACA includes a provision called the Medical Loss Ratio, or 80/20 rule, which requires insurers to give consumers a refund if they spend excessively outside of medical care in ways that drive up costs on the backs of consumers, like high executive salaries and conferences at resorts. Thanks to the ACA, insurers must spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and improving the quality of health care delivery.
Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its latest look at the U.S. federal budget over the very long-term, all the way out to 2089. And although budget projections, especially ones that go out that far, are inherently uncertain, they nevertheless provide important information about the most likely effects of the current budgetary path. The information that the CBO provided can be interpreted in two, equally important, equally legitimate, and completely compatible ways. First, it would be perfectly accurate to look at this week's projections and be encouraged by how much progress has been made toward a more secure fiscal future, especially compared to the situation just a few years ago. But it would also be perfectly reasonable to look at this week's projections and see an unsustainable path that, without action, will lead to a fiscal danger zone that the country has never before experienced. These two interpretations are not mutually exclusive, and in fact, both are important to understanding the choices facing the nation.

The information that the CBO provided can be interpreted in two, equally important, equally legitimate, and completely compatible ways. First, it would be perfectly accurate to look at today’s projections and be encouraged by how much progress has been made toward a more secure fiscal future, especially compared to the situation just a few years ago. But it would also be perfectly reasonable to look at today’s projections and see an unsustainable path that, without action, will lead to a fiscal danger zone that the country has never before experienced. These two interpretations are not mutually exclusive, and in fact, both are important to understanding the choices facing the nation.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Signed into law on July 12, 1974, the Congressional Budget Act set parameters for the Congressional budget process. The law created the Senate and House Budget Committees and the Congressional Budget Office, which have provided citizens with more information to understand how the federal budget process works and how it will affect them.  

Highlighting the law’s 40th anniversary, Chairman Murray released the following statement:

“On the 40th anniversary of the Congressional Budget Act, it’s important to remember how decisions we make about the budget in Congress affect the American people. Federal budgets are much more than just numbers on a page—they have real impacts on people and communities.

“The Congressional Budget Act has been valuable in establishing a process in Congress to look closely at what we are investing in and why, as we work to ensure the federal budget reflects the values and priorities that the American people care about most. ”