608 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C.— Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) and the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing with members of the public and policy experts on the impact of federal budget decisions on families and communities.  This hearing was part of Chairman Murray’s continued efforts to make sure the values and priorities of families across the country are heard loud and clear in a budget process that too often denies them a seat at the table.  Witnesses included Tara Marks of Ada, OH, Patrick Murray of Arlington, VA and Robert Greenstein with Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.

Members and witnesses discussed the importance of job training, education, healthcare and other programs to the middle class and most vulnerable families.

Tara Marks shared her personal experience as a mother struggling to make ends meet, “I was able to lift Nathan and myself out of poverty by finishing school.  SNAP was a critical factor in my success. Having SNAP benefits allowed me to focus energy on school so that I could support us.”  Read Tara Marks’ full testimony here.

Patrick Murray, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, told the Committee about his circumstances, “When I arrived at Walter Reed, I knew my life had changed forever. Fortunately, thanks to the programs funded through this committee, whether through the National Defense Authorization or the VA/Military Construction Budget, transitioning service members in situations like mine have the tools to succeed, and I have the opportunity to sit before you today and share my story. Offering Veterans the tools to properly transition back to civilian life, further their education, and ultimately their careers is a benefit to not only the individual veteran, but to our country as a whole.”  Read Patrick Murray’s full testimony here.

Robert Greenstein, President, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, testified on the impact of budget decisions, “Deficit reduction should be secured through well-designed, balanced policies that do not impede the economic recovery and don’t jeopardize future productivity growth (by providing inadequate resources for areas like education, infrastructure, and basic research), don’t increase poverty and inequality (which already are larger in the United States than in most of the Western world), and don’t sacrifice health care quality or access or raise overall U.S. health care costs.  The quantity of deficit reduction over the next ten years is not the only important issue; the quality of the deficit reduction measures adopted matters as well.” Read Robert Greenstein’s full testimony here.

Members of the public are encouraged to share their stories, ideas, and priorities at MyBudget, Senator Murray’s online platform: http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/public/index.cfm/mybudget

Text of Chairman Murray's Opening Statement

Video of Chairman Murray's Opening Statement

Witness Statement