Murray making move to ranking slot on HELP panel

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCDC leader faces precarious political moment Schumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (Wash.) will jump into the top Democratic slot on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee when the new Congress convenes in January, The Hill has learned.

Murray, who has led the Senate Budget Committee for the past two years, will retain a senior position on the panel.

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“I look forward to continuing my work on a committee that does so much to impact policies that define who we are as a nation, what we value, and what we are doing to help all workers, families, and children succeed,” she said in a statement on Friday.

Murray has served on the panel, although it has changed names over time, since 1997. 

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) is slated to take the gavel as the panel’s chairman next year when Republicans move into the majority.

“I plan to work with incoming-Chairman Alexander and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure that our country is doing everything possible to create jobs and economic growth that benefits all families, not just the wealthiest few,” she said.

A year ago, Murray hammered out a bipartisan $85 billion budget deal with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE (R-Wis.) aimed at ending protracted fiscal clashes on Capitol Hill.

While the deal fell short of a much-hoped-for grand bargain, the agreement allowed Congress to avoid a government shutdown, replace sequester cuts and provide certainty on spending levels.

Business leaders and White House officials have pointed to greater fiscal certainty as a main driver of jobs growth and the expanding economy.  

Murray expressed hope that the HELP committee can overhaul the No Child Left Behind law, reduce the burden of student loan debt, invest in early education, continue to improve healthcare access and raise wages.

“Making progress on these priorities will take continued bipartisanship, but I believe the work we did to pass a bipartisan budget deal last year showed that Democrats and Republicans can come together on challenging issues and deliver results,” she said.

“Our budget deal moved our country away from years of manufactured crises and helped to restore critical investments in education, research, infrastructure and jobs.”

She said she would take a similar tack on the Budget panel to work “with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure our federal budget puts jobs and economic growth.”

She also praised departing HELP Chairman Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinFCC needs to help services for the deaf catch up to videoconferencing tech Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa MORE (D-Iowa), who is retiring from Congress after 40 years in Congress.

He "has left a strong legacy of accomplishments that will live on and serve as a foundation for continued work."