Healthcare Reform's Fate Lies in the Hands of Four Women

If it's the year of the women, why are there so few of them?

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

The fate of healthcare reform in the U.S. Senate seems to be resting with these four women: Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, and Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

This new bipartisan gang of four could be key to removing the heavily partisan debate dogging the legislation. Even though I only agree with two of them, I'm thrilled to see women's growing power in national politics. It's something we've all wanted for some time. As the New York Times reported:

When Senate Democratic leaders first went behind closed doors to complete the healthcare legislation, the only women in the room were either committee staff members or officials from the White House. The senators there — Harry Reid of Nevada, Max Baucus of Montana and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut—reflected the Senate's predominant history as an old-boys' club.

Bi-partisan gangs are the key to passage of most controversial legislation. Healthcare reform is certainly turning out to be highly partisan.

The fact that the gang this time is an all-girls club instead of an ol' boys club is historic. That especially since among the 100 U.S. Senate seats, only 17 are held by women. Who ever thought that this far after 1992, the so-called Year of the Woman in politics, the number of women in the Senate would still be so small? Progress is slow, achingly slow, when it comes to women's advancement.