Senate Women Working Together Lead The Effort In Ending The Government Shutdown
Leave it up to the women of the world to get things done when the men can't agree on anything (what else is new?). As male senators take advantage of the government's shutdown by going on golf trips, the females are finally taking charge.
Frustrated by the stalemate, Maine Senator Susan Collins, a Republican, churned out a three-point plan two weeks ago that she believed both parties could agree upon. Days later, two other Republican female senators, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, both eagerly signed on.
According to the New York Times, by working together, "the three women started a bipartisan group whose negotiating framework formed the centerpiece of a tentative Senate deal nearing completion Monday to reopen the federal government and avert a disastrous default."
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that women were so heavily involved in trying to end this stalemate,” Ms. Collins said. “Although we span the ideological spectrum, we are used to working together in a collaborative way.”
While the Senate is still dominated by men, the women were the driving forces that formulated a negotiated settlement. They were brave enough to put aside threats from their respective political affiliations in order to advance the best interests of the states they represent.
“I probably will have retribution in my state,” Ms. Murkowski said. “That’s fine. That doesn’t bother me at all. If there is backlash, hey, that’s what goes on in D.C., but in the meantime there is a government that is shut down. There are people who are really hurting.”
Two notable Democratic women, Senators Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland and Patty Murray of Washington, also engaged with the three females to offer a successful compromise.
The New York Times accurately summarizes the value of these ladies. "Together, the five senators starkly showed off the increasing power of women — even those who are not on the relevant committees — as their numbers grow in the upper chamber. Of the 13 senators on a bipartisan committee who worked on the deal framework, about half were women, even though women make up only 20 percent of the Senate."
Even the men are impressed. Senator Joe Manchin III, Ms. Collins’s first Democratic collaborator, said: “That gender mix was great. It helped tremendously.” He added: “Would it have worked as well if it had been 12 women or 12 men? I can’t say for sure, but it worked pretty well with what we had.”
As Washington quickly nears a "possible default on federal obligations" in just two days, these women play an important role in finding a fair solution. "The women showed pragmatism as negotiators in the midst of fierce partisanship and a level of frustration with the leaders of both parties that reflect their constituents and the nation."