TODAY   |  October 16, 2013

Female senators: Congress will prevent default

Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Ayotte, three Republican women who are key to a possible last-minute deal to avoid a debt crisis, tell TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie that their approach is a pragmatic one that favors problem-solving over partisanship.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> three republican women in the senate maybe key to the deal being negotiated now. susan collins crafted the original frame work and lisa and kelly quickly signed on and forced a bipartisan alliance and all three are with us this morning. good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> since i am short on time and long on senators, let's do a show of hands . are you confident we will get a deal in time for this deadline.

>> yes.

>> okay.

>> we have to.

>> indeed. senator collins, let me ask you about this. you got the ball rolling on this bipartisan frame work. it goes to the house yesterday and then it completely falls apart and some of the republican colleagues over there said you guys are the senate surrender cauc caucus.

>> first of all, 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. we put together a bipartisan group. i think it's significant that it's lead by women but more is that it's six republicans and six democrats and we have come to an agreement.

>> let me ask you, you were somebody elected with tea party support but early in the shutdown, four days in, you said your colleagues in that wing of the party needed a reality check . do they still need a reality check today? do you agree with what senator mccain said is this fight is lost? it's time to move on?

>> i think the american people are tired of the zero sum politics. i didn't think it was a winning strategy from the beginning. that's why i didn't support it. right now where we are is unacceptable. we need to solve this and open up the government and resolve the debt ceiling issues. i'm not for losing strategy, although i don't support obama care, i don't think any of us here thought this was going to succeed and obviously it failed. the government shutdown and the obama care exchange is open. what we need is problem solving. that's why i'm proud to be here with susan and lisa to get this resolved for the country.

>> speaker boehner faces a choice today. this is a day of reconning for him. he either puts it on the floor and gets it passed or we risk this. is his speakership at risk?

>> this should not be about his speakership or the next election. this should be about, really, the future of our country. where we are right now. we are shutdown as a government. we are facing a debt crisis. as difficult as a situation is in the house, as contentious as the issues are, we need to keep in mind what the real -- what the real goal here is which is getting this country back on track. difficult decisions for all, but it ought not be about the politics of the game or whether or not someone keeps their leadership. i want to support john boehner in anyway that i can, but we need to be pragmatic. this is not going to be a republican solution or democrat solution. this is going to be a solution good for the country and again, we think hah the women in the senate, the six of us, actually seven women that have been working together do have a good bipartisan solution that works. let's get to it.

>> we're out of time. we'll leave it there. thank you for being with us. we appreciate it.