Dec 08 2020
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, spoke virtually to members of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Association of Washington Businesses today about her efforts to get federal relief to those who are struggling across Washington state during the COVID-19 pandemic. During both virtual events, Senator Murray said that she has been listening to the many families, workers, and small business owners across the state who have gone without new federal relief since April, and she is fighting to get them the assistance they need.
“A lot of people in our state are suffering—from small business owners struggling to stay afloat, to families who can’t make their next rent payment, to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are worried about federal unemployment benefits running out. I have been in touch with people in every corner of Washington state and every community, and this crisis is getting dramatically worse—not better—and doing less as communities need more just doesn’t make any sense to me.” Senator Murray told the member of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “I really believe that Congress has an urgent, moral obligation to do everything we can to make sure families and communities have the support they need to make it through this really difficult, uncertain time.”
Senator Murray highlighted that while House Democrats passed comprehensive relief legislation such as the HEROES Act back in May and HEROES 2.0 in October, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to budge from his inadequate proposal, holding up critical relief for millions across the country and preventing state, local, and Tribal governments from receiving the support they need to enact an effective public health response.
“Democrats put forth an unprecedented proposal—the HEROS Act—in May, and Mitch McConnell would not take that up in the Senate. We have negotiated that down by $1 trillion to find common ground and get this help out of the door, and we are all working as hard as we can,” Senator Murray told the AWB. “I’m pushing especially hard to get a deal, and have really been pressing the case to anyone who will listen about why the Senate needs to act boldly and urgently in order to give our families and communities the help they need.”
Senator Murray also answered questions from both organizations about her priorities in the short and long term on issues that are critical to so many in Washington state, including the child care crisis, the impact of the pandemic on small businesses, and what may be possible under the incoming Biden Administration. Senator Murray highlighted a number of different legislative proposals she’s put forth to help tackle some of the challenges that Washingtonians are struggling with, such as the Child Care is Essential Act, and the RELIEF for Main Street Act.
“We had a child care crisis before the pandemic hit us, and now that it has hit us, it has really opened up a real challenge for everyone. There’s no way people can go back to work if they don’t have any child care to be able to send their kids to…” Senator Murray said during the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce event. “I really believe the federal government has got to step up to support the child care industry through this crisis and beyond. I have introduced the Child Care is Essential Act—it’s legislation to help providers keep their doors open and help working families afford the cost of child care. We’re pushing very hard to get some of this relief into the current COVID package.”
Senator Murray emphasized during both events that even with a vaccine on the horizon, Congress is long overdue in getting help to those in need during this pandemic and resources to states in order to contain the virus and eventually vaccinate the country, and even more relief will be needed in the New Year in order to begin our nation’s long road to recovery.