Transcript: Sen. Patty Murray’s remarks on the government shutdown – Oct. 4, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on the government shutdown on Oct. 4, 2013:

Over the past week, I’ve been in constant touch with OMB [Office of Management and Budgets] on the impacts of this shutdown and one thing I’ve been following very closely as former chairman of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and the daughter of a World War II veteran is the impact this shutdown could have on our nation’s heroes.

So today, I wanted to share with all of you some of the information on just how many veterans will be impacted if this continues into the weeks ahead.

On Nov. 1st, the next date the checks will go out from the VA in the mail, up to 5 million veterans may not receive the benefits that they’ve earned and that they rely on to make ends meet.

Over 700,000 young veterans, many of them who have fought multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, won’t get the benefits – the GI benefits – that they are using now to transition back to civilian careers.

There are also 725,000 veterans with benefit claims pending at the VA who will only see their wait time increase.

This is absolutely unacceptable. Our nation’s veterans are waiting and, believe me, they are watching.

Now, I know that my Republican friends in the House and Sen. [Ted] Cruz think that they have a silver bullet solution to every problem that’s been created by the shutdown that they created. And I know the House is going to spend the weekend giving out exemptions like Oprah Winfrey gives out cars.

But here’s the truth: Anyone who has worked on veterans’ issues will tell you it is not one program or one agency that provides the services and benefits that all of our veterans rely on; it is a variety of programs all across our government – homeless grants come from HUD [Housing and Urban Development], veterans’ jobs programs from DOL [Department of Labor]. We have hundreds of thousands of veterans that are federal workers who are at home today on furlough, and we also have nearly 500 Capitol Police officers…who are current or former military working without pay.

So it is not as simple as House Republicans and Sen. Cruz think it is, and veterans, by the way, understand that.

In fact, I just saw a story in the Huffington Post that included some interviews with our veterans who are visiting the World War II memorial. Unsurprisingly to me, many said that veteran specific measures were not enough. Wilbert Tate, an 87-year-old Army veteran from Kansas said and I quote, “I think it should all be re-opened.”

…Well, we’re here to tell…all of our veterans it can be. It’s up to Speaker Boehner. The Senate has passed a short-term bill to open up the government and end this manufactured crisis.

We know there’s a bipartisan majority in the House that now support that approach. All Speaker Boehner has to do is let them vote.

This isn’t the time to talk about opening up the government; it’s the time to actually do it. No more gimmicks. No more games. Stop scrambling to make it look like they care about families and communities that are impacted. Do something to help them. And once the House passes our bill, once they end this crisis and stop threatening the country with another, then of course we would sit down with the Republicans and work towards what we’ve been trying to work towards for more than 6 months – a long term budget deal. In fact, it’s been years that we’ve been trying to get there.

I’ve been trying to start a budget conference now for over 6 months. As you all know it’s been blocked every time. So yes, let’s talk but first let’s act. Let’s end this crisis.


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One Comment on “Transcript: Sen. Patty Murray’s remarks on the government shutdown – Oct. 4, 2013

  1. Pingback: Transcript: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s remarks on the government shutdown – Oct. 4, 2013 | What The Folly?!

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