Tuesday, January 21, 2014
A NEW (EVE) WAY OF GETTING THINGS DONE IN CONGRESS
Yes, I know it’s hard to believe but there was a very encouraging article by Ed O’Keefe in the January 16th edition of the Washington Post (1). In his article, Mr. O’Keefe states that “while the country has been distracted by extended disagreements in Washington, led mostly by men, a cast of powerful female lawmakers has been amassing some notable victories.” He goes on to credit EVE Senators who now hold key leadership positions with being the creative and cooperative force behind the few legislative accomplishments in the 113th Congress.
1. The $1.1 trillion spending plan approved this week was the handiwork of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and her House counterpart, Harold Rogers (R-KY).
2. In December, when lawmakers approved a budget deal with big majorities in both chambers, credit went to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
3. Next month, when attention will turn to passing a farm bill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who has spent three years working on the measure with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank D. Lucas (R-OK), will be at the center of the action.
In addition to crucial legislation, EVE in Congress are shaping and influencing debates that speak to some of our most fundamental freedoms.
* Last year, seven EVE on the Senate Armed Services Committee took the lead on writing a historic plan to revamp how the military handles cases of sexual assault and rape which was included in the annual Pentagon policy bill.
* In coming weeks, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will begin a debate about reforming the National Security Agency.
After the dismally unproductive session Congress had last year, there’s a feeling among many people that some things in Congress are starting to function better because of the power that EVE now hold. Mr. O’Keefe quotes two EVE Senators’ thinking on why this is happening.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said, “It’s not surprising that every time I’ve passed a piece of legislation, I’ve had a strong Republican woman helping me across the aisle. Women are often very good at finding common ground and building bipartisan support.”
And Sen. Mikulski gave a more down to earth description when she said, “While we work on the macro issues, we also work on macaroni-and-cheese issues.”
There is great hope for our nation when EVE in the U.S. Congress can promote a culture of “people before power” and “caring more about getting results than taking credit” – two foundations of the (r)evolution to create a safer, happier, more productive world.