Where are women in the debt talks?
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Jeremy Hobson: Today the house of representatives will vote on the Republican cut, cap and balance plan. It would raise the debt ceiling, make big and immediate spending cuts and start the process of amending the constitution to require a balanced federal budget. The plan is not expected to pass the Senate. Now, we are exactly two weeks away from the deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default. But all through the debate there’s been something missing in the negotiations.
For more, we welcome the chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, Democrat Susan Davis of California. Good morning.
Susan Davis: Hi Jeremy. Good to be with you.
Hobson: Good to have you here. Well, there were no women in the Gang of Six; there were no women in the Biden talks’ and if you look around the table of the president’s debt talks, you’ve got just Nancy Pelosi — one woman. Is that a problem for you?
Davis: Leader Pelosi can be a very strong voice for women, and I think she continues to do that. But we’re 17 percent of the Congress.
Hobson: Is it an issue that you’ve brought up with the people who are running the debt talks?
Davis: It’s difficult sometimes, because women traditionally have not been in the Congress as long. And so in terms of leadership, that tends to be a problem. What’s so important about having women at the table is that we really are the caregivers, both to the young and to the old. Women are the principal caregivers. They also live longer than men, so these issues of Social Security and Medicare are very, very central to them. And I think that’s why we really do need to have more women at the table and we will continue to push women forward. Of course, the women can’t always agree with one another, either. But I think there is something in the way that we work together. I sometimes kid and say that women that are used to having three toddlers and two cookies, and so they know how to solve problems.
Hobson: But when it comes to the actual substance of these debt talks, it seems that both the men and the women in Congress are pretty much sticking to their party line. Do you think the substance would be different if you had more women at the table?
Davis: I think if there were many more women, it absolutely would be. Sometimes, because there are not as many women, certainly not token in this case — because the women in Congress are very strong, very competent and capable women — but I do think that numbers would matter. And that would make the real difference.
Hobson: Congresswoman Susan Davis, Democrat of California. Thank you so much for talking with us.
Davis: My pleasure.
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