Tags: Women | Congress | shutdown | Debbie

Female Power: Congressional Women Could Already Have Reopened the Government

Tuesday, 15 Oct 2013 11:57 AM

By Elliot Jager

If it were up to the women in Congress, the government shutdown already would be over, according to Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

"If we put all the women — Republicans and Democrats — in the House together, the consensus is that we would get this done in a few hours," the head of the Democratic National Committee said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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Wasserman Schultz claimed that women usually prefer to give their ideological opponents a way out and are more prepared to compromise.

Eighteen percent of the House seats and 20 percent of those in the Senate are held by women, but five female senators in particular have emerged as a force for bipartisanship in the deadlocked Congress.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine took the lead in proposing a three-point plan to reopen the government. Her party colleagues Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire signed on.

They were joined by Democratic Sens. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, and Patty Murray of Washington, who chairs the Budget Committee.

Three more Democratic senators joined the effort to hammer out a compromise plan — Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

Noticeably, GOP Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, who is aligned with the tea party, did not take part.

While ideological purists see compromise as abdication of principle, several of the women lawmakers indicated it was the best course in the current deadlocked political environment.

Though political adversaries, the senators have made it a practice to meet routinely seeking ways to cooperate on smaller bills.

"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."

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