Blog Post: Behind-the-Scenes: Another 24 Hours in Ukraine

March 19 2014

The day after reports surfaced of Russian troops in Crimea, I texted John McCain. "We need to go back. When?" I knew, in those scary first few days of the Russian invasion, that nerves would be fraying in Kyiv, and that a strong, unified message of support from Ukraine's friends in the U.S. Senate could make a difference. McCain and the State Department agreed wholeheartedly, and we set the wheels in motion for a return trip to Kyiv.

I got such good response to my earlier "behind the scenes" description of our first trip in December, I thought I would send one from this latest trip as well. Here is the short story of an amazing late winter weekend in the current center of the universe: Ukraine.

An auspicious beginning
I had taken a week-long vacation with my extended family to Florida in February, and I spent most of it on the phone with my staff, McCain and the State Department, tracking the alternately heartbreaking, amazing, and history-making events in Kyiv as President Yanukovych turned his snipers on the protesters and then, without warning, split town. As events continued to develop, the sanctions bill against Yanukovych McCain and I had been working on was extended to include assistance to the new government in Kyiv, and then sanctions on Russian officials responsible for the invasion of Crimea as well as major acts of corruption in their own country.

The bill, which eventually came under the auspices of the Foreign Relations Committee, was moving forward with fairly deliberate speed (for Washington), until it hit a snag on the Senate floor on March 13--the very evening that McCain, I, and six other Senators were due to leave for Kyiv. The isolationist wing of the Republican Party had taken issue with a provision of the Ukraine assistance/Russia sanctions bill that would increase emergency aid resources within the International Monetary Fund, mainly because these Republicans simply object to the IMF in the first place. With little warning, Majority Leader Reid asked for a quick vote on the bill a half hour before our trip was scheduled to leave the Capitol complex, and Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of our delegation, got up and objected, meaning the bill would have to be postponed for at least ten days. McCain was on the floor, and he leaped from his seat, admonishing Barrasso, saying he had never been this embarrassed by his own party.

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Shelton Heraldn: U.S. senator visits Shelton firm to discuss manufacturing policy

February 07 2014

For the original article, please visit the Shelton Herald.

Murphy visited the OEM facility on Controls Drive, off Long Hill Cross Road, on Friday morning to attend a roundtable discussion on his plan for a federal manufacturing policy.

The Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce helped organize the event, attended by about 50 representatives of local manufacturing firms.

Regulation, training, high costs
Murphy discussed his plan and took questions from the audience, many of which focused on government regulation, the need for training and education, and the high cost of doing business in Connecticut. Read More »

New Haven Register: U.S. Sen. Murphy wants to help New Haven residents get banking services

February 05 2014

For the original article, please visit the New Haven Register.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., moved by a story in the Register, has asked for federal intervention to reduce the number of city households that don’t have bank accounts and too often rely on check-cashing services.

In a letter Murphy wrote to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency born out of the most recent financial crisis, and responsible for advocating for consumers of financial services, Murphy asked that a pilot program to help connect people to traditional financial services be brought to New Haven.

“This is a problem throughout much of Connecticut, but is, according to a recent article in the New Haven Register, particularly acute in the city of New Haven, which has more than 6,000 ‘unbanked’ families — double the national average. As you know, unbanked families are usually low-income, may be new to the country, and often lack formal education,” Murphy said in the letter. “These families can also expect to pay more than $40,000 in check cashing fees over the course of their life. Considering that 26 percent of New Haven residents are currently living in poverty, this increased financial burden is particularly harmful.”

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Middletown Press: Chris Murphy speaks with Middletown students about rising cost of college

January 21 2014

For the original article, visit the Middletown Press

MIDDLETOWN >> High school students got a taste of their future Tuesday when U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy came to speak to them about the rising costs of college.

Murphy, a Democrat and one of the youngest senators in Congress, has made it his work to not only advocate for gun control for Sandy Hook families, but also stand up for students.

“I have this responsibility to speak up for you,” Murphy said as he spoke at Middletown High School. “In 10 to 20 years, we [as a country] has gone from number one to number 20 in the world in education.”

Mayor Dan Drew said Murphy is the “champion of higher education.”

“You’re growing up in a tougher world than we did,” Drew told students. “Everything in Washington will affect you. Fight for the education you deserve.”

Murphy, who is introducing a bill to Congress next week about the cost of higher education, said one of the biggest issues is how long college can take.

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Huff Post: Senator Spends Day Off With Homeless Man For A Lesson You Can’t Learn From An Office

January 03 2014

For the original article, click here.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) has no specific homelessness agenda at the moment other than to better understand the struggles people on the streets face. So he spent his vacation day on Monday shadowing a man who has lost everything.

Murphy, a freshman U.S. Senator, didn’t have any delusions when he decided to spend eight hours with a homeless man, whom he referred to as “Nick” on his Twitter feed to protect his identity.

His goal was to simply “put flesh and bones” on what he’s already gleaned of what it means to be homeless in one of the country's richest states, he told the New Haven Independent.

“It’s unaccep Read More »

Connecticut Mirror: Chris Murphy’s winding road to Kiev

January 02 2014

For the original article, please visit The Connecticut Mirror.

Chris Murphy followed a twisting road to Kiev.

The early political career of Connecticut’s junior senator focused on education and health care. When he challenged a 12-term GOP incumbent to win a House seat in 2006, the hot issue was the Iraq War; but Murphy took on Rep. Nancy Johnson over the prescription drug benefit, which Johnson had helped design. He beat her handily.

Last year, after defeating Republican Linda McMahon to win his Senate seat, Murphy was propelled to the front lines of the battle over gun control by the mass shooting in Newtown. When Congress deadlocked on that issue, he was pushed into the limelight in an unexpected area, especially for someone so new to the Senate -- foreign affairs. Democratic leaders gave Murphy a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the chairmanship of a subcommittee in charge of European affairs.

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Blog Post: Behind the Scenes - 24 Hours in Kyiv

December 19 2013

Every now and again, I try to give my friends a behind the scenes view of what this job is like.  This Sunday, I travelled to Kyiv, Ukraine with Senator John McCain to support the growing pro-European protests taking place in the capital city.  It was the experience of a lifetime, and I want to share an inside look at how a trip like this comes together.

(Backstage with Senator McCain before going up on stage.)
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Associated Press: Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy co-sponsors bill seeking to lower college costs

December 08 2013

For the original article, please visit The Torrington Register

The two youngest members of the U.S. Senate are co-sponsoring legislation aimed at lowering college costs by withholding federal funds from schools that fail to meet new national affordability and quality standards — a proposal likely to draw strong opposition from higher education institutions.

Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Brian Schatz of Hawaii plan to submit the legislation this week. Both are still paying off their college loans.

Murphy, 40, and Schatz, 41, say skyrocketing tuition has put higher education out of reach for many Americans, with college costs having tripled over the past 30 years. And they say too many people are leaving college with high loan debt.

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Daily Beast: Sen. Chris Murphy, Taking On the NRA After Newtown

December 06 2013

For the original article, please visit The Daily Beast

On December 14, 2012, Chris Murphy, then still a congressman representing a mostly suburban Connecticut district, was at the Bridgeport City Hall for a press conference on renewable energy. It was the holiday season, and he was planning to take the rest of the afternoon off and take the train to New York with his wife and two kids.

On Murphy’s walk from the train station, an aide with him had begun to hear the first reports about a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, a small community 20 miles north on the edge of his district. It seemed at first like just some kind of workplace dispute, so the plan was still to get on the train and see the tree at Rockefeller Center.

They soon learned that what was unfolding was much, much worse. Murphy told his kids, then 4 and 1, that they wouldn’t be going to New York. They started crying and complaining, and the congressman rushed off to Newtown. He was there when Gov. Dan Malloy told the parents of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School gathered at a nearby firehouse that “the person they were waiting for was not going to return.”

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ThinkProgress: Senator Says New Iran Sanctions Will Empower Hard-Liners In Tehran (Video)

December 03 2013

For the original article, please visit Think Progress

A Democratic senator said on Monday that any effort in Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran after the first-phase deal was reached last month and while world powers negotiate with the Islamic Republic on a final agreement will erode confidence with the Iranians and empower hard-liners in Tehran.

“What this is really about is about engaging in some confidence-building,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said on MSNBC, referring to the Nov. 24 deal reached between the P5+1 and Iran in Geneva. “And the problem with the Senate and the House potentially stepping in and putting forth a new round of sanctions is that it starts to nibble away, eat away at that confidence, which has been sorely missing.”

The White House has repeatedly asked Congress to hold off on new sanctions. But a bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Robert Menendez (R-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Corker (R-TN), is moving forward despite the fact that passing additional sanctions would most likely violate the terms of the Geneva deal.

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New Haven Register: In New Haven visit, Sen. Murphy notes state rollout of Obamacare ‘better than

October 24 2013

For the original article, click here.

NEW HAVEN >> Willie Hill will be able to get the colonoscopy his doctor said he needs in January when he becomes eligible for the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Hill, 52, who is unemployed after losing the sight in one eye and didn’t qualify for state assistance for health care, said he is happy he will be covered by insurance in a few months.

He was among patients U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy saw at the Cornell Scott Hill Healthcare Center Wednesday when he went to check on enrollment through the new health care exchange.

“This is a perfect example of why this bill is so important, because now you are going to be able to get that colonoscopy. If there is something happening, you can take care of it right then and there instead of waiting until it gets to be a crisis,” Murphy said. “This is what we try to explain to people. You give them a little money for preventive care ... you save all this money later on because you catch things early instead of letting then become a real crisis later on.”

Gayle Baxter, 63, also will qualify for coverage in January under Medicaid. Read More »

New Haven Register: Shutdown a $24 billion ‘hit to economy’ Sen. Chris Murphy says

October 24 2013

For the original article, visit the Register

NORTH HAVEN >> The 16-day government shutdown that ended Oct. 17 represented “a $24 billion hit to the nation’s economy,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. told area mayors and first selectmen Wednesday.

“In two weeks, we sucked out enough money to do half of everything” that was needed in terms of railroad improvements “along the entire Northeast rail corridor...” Murphy told local elected officials at a meeting of the South Central Regional Council of Governments.

But “though we essentially just kicked the can down the road by another three or four months, our hope” is that it won’t happen again, said Murphy.

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CT News Junkie: Connecticut’s Senators Are Confident Congress Learned Its Lesson

October 18 2013

For the original article,click here

Connecticut’s U.S. Senators were optimistic Friday that the damage done by the recently-concluded government shutdown and near default would pave the way for more compromise in Congress and perhaps the passage of a federal budget.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy held a press conference at the Legislative Office Building Friday where both Democrats called the recent crises “avoidable” but said they hoped the negative economic impact was enough to deter Congress from allowing similar standoffs to occur in the future.

“This time it hurt more than anytime before. This crisis, this manufactured crisis hurt more than any of the previous ones. That might create a different kind of appetite for the kind of grand compromise that we both are seeking,” Murphy said.

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New Haven Register: Murphy says Danbury prison transfers on hold due to shutdown

October 08 2013

For the original article, please visit the Register

HARTFORD >> The partial government shutdown has delayed plans to begin moving inmates out of the federal women’s prison in Danbury as part of an effort to turn the facility into a minimum-security prison for men, according to Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy.

Murphy said the Department of Justice informed his office the implementation of the transfers has been postponed.

The Democrat said he hopes the delay will give lawmakers more time to persuade the Bureau of Prisons to change its plans. They’ve voiced concern about not having a permanent facility for female inmates in the Northeast, partly because it will move inmates far from their families.

“An 8-year-old girl is not going to be able to find her way to West Virginia to see her mother,” Murphy said.

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Op-Ed: Making College Affordable

September 26 2013

To view the original article, please visit


This summer, while millions of American students worked, studied, or readied for the fall semester, the U.S. Senate engaged in a heated debate over the issue of federal student loan interest rates. It’s true that the Senate ultimately passed a compromise agreement, but the legislation and debate largely missed the bigger picture. It is the skyrocketing cost of higher education — not the interest rate on student loans — putting college out of reach for millions of American families.

As the youngest U.S. senators, the problem of college and graduate school affordability is a reality we face in our own households. Like so many other families across the country, we and our spouses continue to pay off our own student loans at the same time we are saving for our children’s college funds. As Congress prepares to take up the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, we know that incremental reform of our nation’s higher education system will not do. We need aggressive reform whereby federal dollars do not simply subsidize out of control costs, but instead create real incentives for schools to lower the cost of college.

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New Haven Register: Connecticut residents renew call for stricter federal gun laws

September 18 2013

For the original article, click here.

NEW HAVEN >> U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the fact that Aaron Alexis, identified by authorities as the shooter in the killings of 12 civilians at the Washington Naval Yard this week, had been denied purchase of an assault weapon, shows that laws do matter.

Murphy, in a conference call Wednesday with reporters after meeting with victims of gun violence from Newtown, Hartford and other parts of the country, said a Virginia law does not allow sale of such weapons to non-residents.

Alexis had security clearance despite reports to police that he was hearing voices and was being harassed by microwave vibrations, but entered the base with a shotgun.

“It’s a reminder that laws do matter” in controlling gun violence, “ Murphy said, as advocates for stricter background checks reiterated their request at the House and Senate Wednesday.

They were led by members of Newtown Action Alliance, which formed after 20 children younger than 7 and six female educators were killed by Adam Lanza with an assault weapon on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Murphy said there is a 50/50 chance of getting five of the senators who voted against background checks in the Manchin-Toomey bill to change their minds this year so it could come back for another vote.

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The Day: The Senate seems to suit Chris Murphy

September 06 2013

For the original article, click here

It turns out the vote on a military strike on Syria is not an easy one - harder, apparently, than the vote to go to war with Iraq.

Iraq was accused by President George W. Bush only of having certain weapons, not using them, recently anyway, against innocent women and children, as we've seen in Syria.

The debate this time crosses a lot of political and philosophical boundaries. Absent now seems to be the post-9/11 jingoism and the inclination to support the commander in chief, no matter what.

I didn't agree with Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy's vote this week, in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, against the Syria resolution. He said he won't take part in a procedural block but will vote no again when it comes up in the full Senate.

I was impressed, though, with the way Connecticut's new senator made known his views and gracefully bucked party leaders. After all, how often do junior senators get arm-twisting calls from the president, a president in the same party, and say no.

Not only has Murphy been eloquent in explaining his no vote, and his angst over the lack of good solutions for Syria, but it is also impressive that he has found so many ready and willing national news outlets to help him explain himself.

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From Chris: Congressional vote on Syria

September 03 2013

(The following is a message Chris sent to his email list this afternoon. You can sign up to receive alerts at

I've written to you quite a few times about Syria over the past few months, and with President Obama's decision to bring American intervention to a vote in Congress, I wanted to update you once more.

First and foremost, the decision to come to Congress is the right one.

It allows more time for deliberation and to answer the questions: is military action going to make the situation better for the Syrian people, and how can we make sure our involvement doesn't escalate and make things worse?

The question isn't whether or not chemical weapons use is unacceptable - of course it is - it's whether or not we can make the situation in Syria better. And that is going to be my guiding principle during this conversation.

I enter this debate extremely skeptical that military intervention can improve the situation in Syria, a position I've held since the beginning of this conversation, and believe that any action we take should start with increased humanitarian aid both inside and outside the country. As I've written before, we should start by improving conditions in refugee camps and help other nations bear the burden of displaced persons.

But I'll allow the administration to present its evidence and make its case. And I'll let you know which way I intend to vote as soon as I make a final decision. Read More »

Newtown Bee: Senator Murphy Makes A Lunchtime Visit To Sandy Hook Center

August 28 2013

For the original article, please visit the Newtown Bee

Stepping across new, pressed concrete sidewalks Monday afternoon, Senator Chris Murphy saw improvements that the streetscape project has brought to Sandy Hook Center.

He was also in town for a bite to eat at The Villa with Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) Vice President Joe Hemingway — a lunch date that Mr Hemingway won in a recent SHOP fundraising event.

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MSNBC:  Sen. Chris Murphy: ‘The president should come to Congress here for a vote’

August 27 2013

For the original article, and video, click here

On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was “undeniable” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons on its people. Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, one of only three senators who voted against arming Syrian rebels, called for a debate about intervention.

“What I want for us here is to be very sober in our understanding of what a targeted military strike means. It may mean a long-term very expensive, very costly engagement for the United States,” said Murphy on Monday’s All In. “And I fear that right now on this issue, our politics are being driven by some very legitimate short-term humanitarian concerns that may belie a much more costly endeavor in the long run.”

And how should the White House engage in this debate?

“I think the president should come to Congress here for a vote,” Murphy told MSNBC. “And I think the president is right to be very careful in considering his response here and the actions of the United States. But given the fact that he’s taking that time, there’s no argument that there isn’t also enough time to come have a debate before Congress.”

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