How Senate Women Brokered a Deal on the Shutdown and Debt Ceiling

BlogHer Original Post

[UPDATE 9:55 pm PST: President Obama signed the deal ending the government shut down and avoiding the default, after the bill passed the House 285-144. --Grace}

[UPDATE 5:20 pm PST: The Senate voted 81-18 to reopen the federal government and avoid debt default. House leaders expect to vote tonight. --Grace]

Senate leaders have announced that they’ve reached a deal to end the shutdown and avert the debt crisis -- for a while, at least. While the Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid (NV) and top Republican, Mitch McConnell (KY) have dominated the headlines about the deal, the women of the Senate have been instrumental in negotiating this agreement across the aisle.

Feb 1, 2011 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - Senator SUSAN COLLINS, (R-ME) during a news conference to release a new Government Accountability Office report, ''Security Enhanced DHS Oversight and Assessment of Interagency Coordination is Needed for the Northern Border. (Credit Image: © Pete Marovich/

It was a woman, Susan Collins (R-ME) who came up with this proposal two weeks ago shortly after the federal government shutdown began. Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Democrats Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Patty Murray of Washington were also key voices in the bipartisan group that brokered this hand-shake agreement Wednesday morning.

This morning, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC talked to Kelly Ayotteabout role of women. Ayotte said:

“We understand that the nation wants leaders who solve problems. And so we may come from different perspectives but we know that we have to come together -- things like American people have to do at home, in their businesses. And we need to bring that here and that’s what we’re anxious to do.”

While the Tea Party faction, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner and filibustering freshman Ted Cruz led the charge into the shutdown, it’s the moderate Republican women who were able to sway the other members of the GOP away from brinksmanship and toward some kind of agreement.

And I say some kind of agreement, because even if the Senate and House both approve this bill by Wednesday night, as they are expected to, this agreement is by no means a permanent solution. It only delays the inevitable until after the New Year, by funding the federal government through January 15 and raising the debt ceiling until February 7.

But at this point, would anyone expect anything better?.

Click here to see how the Senate voted

Click here to see how the House voted

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.


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