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Sen. Patty Murray talks Boeing, 2020, and the aftermath of impeachment

Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray
Cliff Owen
The Associated Press file
Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray spoke to KNKX about a variety of topics during an interview at her Tacoma office. She’s represented Washington state in the Senate since 1993. We asked her about Boeing, the aftermath of impeachment, the White House spending priorities, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the influence of money on politics.

Listen to the entire conversation below.


On Boeing’s struggles as it deals with the 737 Max crisis: “They are known for building the best planes, and that needs to be restored. Confidence has dropped. My message to Boeing is go back to the basics of building a plane, listen to the people who work and build them, work with the FAA, restore that confidence and get us back to that kind of place where people are confident – not just in flying in – but building those planes. My role is to make sure the flying public is safe, and that means working with the agencies, like the FAA, to make sure they do oversight – that they don’t just bypass regulations, but they really do the work of making sure those planes meet the safety regulation.”

On President Trump’s budget proposal: “Let’s be clear. Every year the president, Democrat or Republican, sends their budget to Congress, and every year Congress says ‘We’re throwing it out,’ and we write our own. This president is no different. But I am deeply disturbed because it sets his priorities for this country. And the deep cuts he has proposed to the basic issues people care about … says to me that his priorities are wrong for this country. … Another part of the budget that I was deeply disturbed to see was that he cut the funding for (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)*. … We have coronavirus happening right now in this country and CDC is who is going to make sure each one of our states has the equipment they need, the testing they need, the ability to make sure this virus is contained. So basic things like that, in his budget, say to me that he’s not thinking about what Americans need.”

*President Trump’s proposed budget makes a 19 percent cut to CDC funding, including cuts to the agency’s programs that deal with responding to infectious diseases.

On what she hopes to see in a Democratic presidential nominee: “I really want our nominee to understand our state, to know we are diverse, we are growing, we have great businesses, but we also have great challenges, whether it’s our infrastructure or homeless that we see everywhere in every community – it’s those young kids that just want to dream big, that they’re going to talk to them and make sure this country works for them.”

On the influence of money in politics: “I certainly think we’re at a time when we need to deal with economic justice, where everyone feels that they have an opportunity, and how much you make doesn’t inhibit your ability to be able to the best you can be. Everybody’s got to participate in that, from the wealthiest down. We are looking at how we can make sure that is more economically feasible. Let’s be clear – the Republicans passed a tax cut two years ago in the dead of night, putting it together in about two or three weeks, that made it clear that the wealthiest people would be able to have more income and the people at the bottom wouldn’t. We need to reverse that and I believe any one of our presidential candidates on our side would be able to make that happen.”

On working across the aisle in an increasingly fractured Washington, D.C.: “Do I agree with them every single day? Absolutely not. But you have to look for ways to find agreement. That’s how a democracy works, and it’s something we have to work at every single day. It’s a really challenging time. When I was first elected in 1992, there was a lot less media, there wasn’t social media, we all didn’t have phones that we could look at our own media source and news as more news across the board. It’s hard for people now to see anything but their own side, and you have to work at it. … Our country is worth the time it takes to get to know each other and to find ways to solve problems."

EXTENDED AUDIO: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., talks with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco, in Murray's Tacoma office.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.