Oct. 16, 2013 at 8:43 AM ET
Three women senators who helped craft a deal being pushed by Senate leaders to resolve the nation's debt crisis said House lawmakers need to rise above politics to quickly pass a deal that will allow the federal government to open its doors and pay its bills.
“This should not be about someone’s speakership. This should not be about the next election. This should be about the future of our country, where we are right now. We are shutdown as a government. We are facing a debt crisis,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.
Murkowski, along with fellow Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, crafted the compromise plan with the help of a bipartisan group of other women lawmakers.
The deal, however, was rejected by the House and Speaker John Boehner is being criticized for his struggle to keep his members, particularly a small group of the Tea Party conservatives, in line.
Murkowski said the deal at issue is about more than Boehner’s political future.
“We need to keep in mind what the real goal here is, which is getting this country back on track. Difficult decisions for all but it ought not to be about the politics of the game or whether or not someone keeps their leadership,” she said. “I want to support John Boehner in any way that I can but we need to be pragmatic. This is not going to be a Republican solution or a Democratic solution. This is going to be a solution that is good for the country.”
Faced against a deadline just a day away, House leaders are scrambling to craft competing legislation, one that would help dismantle elements of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans refer to as “Obamacare.”
Ayotte said it’s time to move past that issue because battle over the health care law already took place, with its detractors losing the fight.
“Let’s face it, the government is shutdown, the Obama care exchange is open,” she told Guthrie. Using health care as a hurdle to resolving the nation’s budget and debt crisis is part of a “zero-sum policy.”
“What we need is problem solving that why I’m proud to be here with Susan (Collins) and Lisa to get this resolved for the country,” Ayotte said.
Collins, who spearheaded the plan being used as the basis of the Senate’s proposed deal, hailed the effort by the group that crafted the legislation.
“I would describe ourselves as a bipartisan group that’s trying to get a solution and do what the American people want us to do, which is to govern responsibly," she said. "We put together a bipartisan group, I think it’s significant it’s led by women, but even more significant is the fact that it’s six Republicans, six Democrats and we’ve come to an agreement.”
“We think in the Senate, the six of us — actually, seven women that have been working together — do have a good bipartisan solution that works,” she said. “Let’s get to it.”