As the fiscal impasse began to show signs of breaking Wednesday on Capitol Hill, one group may have emerged as a voice of reason all along: female lawmakers.
“I know my colleagues are tired of hearing about the women in the Senate,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said with a smile on Wednesday, before continuing to give “kudos” on the Senate floor to those involved in the bipartisan proposal to end the shutdown and temporarily raise the debt ceiling to avoid default.
Six of the fourteen senators behind the compromise that the House approved Wednesday night are women.
“In my experience, women are much more willing to sit down together, build consensus and try to get to ‘yes’ without really clobbering the other side and leaving them bloody,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) in an interview with PostTV’s “In Play” on Tuesday.
Wasserman Schultz, who is also chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that even though the end result of the budget debate remains “elusive,” one thing has become clear.
“What I think the issue is is that we don’t have enough women in positions of authority to actually make that move and negotiate,” said she said. “That’s why if we get more women elected, more women will be able to move up and be in that position of power.”
Collins has positioned herself to appeal to both sides of the aisle. In Wednesday’s announcement of the Senate’s bipartisan proposal, Collins was praised repeatedly by colleagues for her leadership.
“She [Collins] deserves a lot of credit for getting us together and moving the ball down the field,” said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joked that she was “really tired of sports analogies” but agreed that you can’t move the ball down the field with just one person. She also praising Sen. Collins’ collaborative efforts.
Murkowski, along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) were reported to be the first to contact Sen. Collins to negotiate a deal.
House Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority leader Mitch McConell (R-Ky.), who incorporated the group’s proposal in the final deal, both took a moment to reflect on the behavior exhibited by Congress in the past few weeks.
“Hopefully, once we’ve gotten past the drama of the moment we can get to work on it,” McConnell said.
For Wasserman Schultz the answer is simple: encourage women to run for office.
“We need more cooler heads to prevail,” she said.