October 16, 2013
by Laura Bassett
Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said on Wednesday afternoon that their female colleagues can take most of the credit for driving the compromise that is expected to temporarily reopen the U.S. government and raise the debt ceiling before Thursday’s deadline.
“Leadership, I must fully admit, was provided primarily from women in the Senate,” McCain said after the bipartisan deal was announced.
Pryor said that people sometimes like to joke about women in leadership, but he is a huge fan of his female colleagues after watching them negotiate. “The truth is, women in the Senate is a good thing,” he said. “We’re all just glad they allowed us to tag along so we could see how it’s done.”
Following weeks of stagnation, The New York Times reported on Monday that a bipartisan group of women senators was playing a crucial role in opening discussions between Republicans and Democrats over how to move forward and reopen the government. Out of the 14 senators on the bipartisan committee that laid the framework for the debt deal, six were women. Susan Collins (R-Maine) started the group, and Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) took part in negotiations.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that women were so heavily involved in trying to end this stalemate,” Collins told The New York Times. “Although we span the ideological spectrum, we are used to working together in a collaborative way.”
Klobuchar said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday that the friendships the Senate women have developed will help them work together to craft a long-term budget without the counterproductive barbs that some politicians throw at each other when they don’t agree.
“The 20 women in the Senate have formed such strong friendships of trust, even though we come from different places, that I’m very hopeful as we go forward with Patty Murray, head of the Budget Committee, Barbara Mikulski, head of Approprations,” Klobuchar said. “Those relationships are going to make a difference as we get into what matters, which is the long-term budget.”