U.S. Sen. Parry Murray, on break from heavy lifting in the other Washington, stopped by the House Wednesday to visit with Democratic lawmakers in this Washington. A former state senator, she was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, and last month took over as chair of the Senate Budget Committee – so she is no stranger to revenue gaps and deficits and the kind of thing much on the minds of Washington state legislators.
In a brief get-together with House Democrats, Murray heard from representatives worried about the potentially devastating economic effects of the so-called sequester – the looming automatic cuts to the federal budget that will be triggered if Congress fails to strike a budget deal by March 1. Given the depth of the partisan divide in Congress, Murray said reaching agreement on the budget will be a challenge. And while she said that reducing the federal deficit is a critical task, she emphasized the importance of investing in the middle class, and giving Americans the tools they need to succeed. That, she said, calls for robust support of education, transportation, and research and development.
Murray also stressed the urgency of winning reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act, which was ratified by the Senate earlier this month. And she emphasized her commitment to reforming and adequately financing education – two other subjects of paramount concern to her Olympia counterparts.
She exited as she arrived: to a standing ovation.