Now they are everywhere the most powerful women In Congress. However, they first won the election in the They were frequently overlooked or downplayed in the 1990s. to.

Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, recalls men weren’t going to ask her questions. She also remembers addressing males in. the room instead. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Rep. Rosa DeLauro says she was once challenged by a man at a hearing to Without looking at her notes, describe the military tank engine that was produced in her area. She shot back. “Damn straight I can!”)

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, R. of the She looked around the room when she presided over a hearing of a committee for the first time. the she realized that it was her. the Only one female senator was there. Patty Murray D-Wash. recalls her time as a senator. the The far edge of the With the More senior men are making the Decisions the middle.

“I remember finally just standing up at the end of the table going, ‘Excuse me!’ Because you couldn’t get their attention,” Murray: “Everything was decided in the middle of this table. I think it’s pretty amazing that we’re at the middle of the table now.”

In this year’s edition, the first time in history, the four leaders of the There are two spending committees of Congress women. Granger serves as chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee. DeLauro the Murray, the Senate Appropriations chairwoman is the top Democrat. Collins is also the top Democrat the The top Republican

Sitting down with The Associated Press on Thursday for their first joint interview — and joined by Shalanda Young, the Black first woman to Lead the Office of Management and Budget and a former House aide — the women Talked as old friends. Nodded and laughed when you were listening. to each others’ stories about the The way that things work to be Please see the following: womenSometimes they are still there.

Collins says that men are automatically accepted when they come to vote. to Congress women still had to They will. “That extra barrier that was definitely in place still exists to some extent, but far less than it used to,” Collins said. “Women bring different life experiences and different perspectives. And that’s why it matters.”

It women They shared their camaraderie. Their friendship. to collaborate will be They are crucial because they carry the burden the Massive responsibility of Keep it going the government running and open — an annual task that will be It was made harder by this year’s election conservatives in the new GOP House majority are insisting on major spending cuts  the U.S. at Risk of default. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Speaker, was elected after agreeing to take the position. to several demands of They create an environment that can be dangerous for negotiations. Congress should raise these far-right members the debt ceiling In the Coming months

“This is a moment in time,” DeLauro says. “You are really looking at five women who have control of the most powerful levers of government.”

But she insists: “none of us have our head in the sand. We know there are difficulties that are going to be involved.”

Granger is in the The most challenging position she can find herself in is when she tries. to Balance the demands of the House GOP conference, with the speaker’s responsibility to Keep the government running. Explaining what the appropriators are doing is one of her most important tasks. to the public. However the Committees rarely get in the These are their spotlight the Heartbeat beating of Congress in writing “must-pass” Keep your bills in good standing the government running. Funding levels decisions for nearly everything the government pays for — from the Military to health care to Food safety to federal highways — pass through the Hands of appropriators.

Ask about the challenge ahead, Granger says “deadlines are very important” Communicating to the Republican conference. She stated that there will come a time when she’ll have to Tell your GOP friends “This is when it has to be final.”

Another key to the negotiations will be YoungWho are you? the Former Democratic Staff Director for the House Appropriations panel has maintained close relationships with each of them. women Seit dem Erreichen the Cabinet-level OMB director for President Joe Biden. DeLauro and Granger held a baby shower for her shortly before she gave birth. to She says her daughter will be 2021. “you cannot replace those relationships.”

Young’s relationships were helpful at the End of Last year, lawmakers worked to Pass a $1.7 trillion spending bill, which funded the federal agencies up to September and gave rise to another round of funding. of Military and economic assistance to Ukraine. Granger didn’t sign off, however, signaling possible trouble ahead the Final bill rejected by GOP leadership

Young laughed that the four lawmakers probably wouldn’t have invited any other OMB director to Interview them. Murray said she agreed to do an interview with them, saying that Murray answers all their texts and phone calls immediately. “and that is new for me.”

It women were gathered in Murray’s office, an enviable spot on the West front of the Capitol with a view from the dead of the Washington Monument It once belonged to the Washington Monument. the Domain of Legendary appropriator Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va. Murray) recalled her entry the same room just after she was elected in 1992 — the so-called “year of the woman” — she asked outright for a seat on the powerful spending panel.

One of the Only women In the Murray wins immediately in the Senate the It was a highly sought-after seat. She found out that it was not her. to assert herself in what was still very much an old boys’ club. Threety-years later she was named chairwoman of the panel, replacing the retiring Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. Leahy’s replacement was she. the Senate pro tempore, a senior member of the Majority of those who preside over the Senate is the third-in line to the presidency.

Murray declares Murray as the Capitol office. “has been inhabited by numerous men who smoke cigars.”

Murray and Collins have an extensive history. They were key figures in 2013 together. to All efforts to Stop a government shutdown. As they succeeded Leahy, and the retiring Republican senator Richard Shelby as their committee leaders for this year’s session, they issued an immediate joint statement calling to return to the It is a regular thing of passing individual spending bills “in a responsible and bipartisan manner,” instead of At the end, you can bundle them all in one bill the End of the year.

Collins claimed that there was no one to the other’s side of the aisle. In either chamber, you want to Fonds the government Again, a massive, final-of-the-year bill. “I truly believe we can make real progress by working closely together,” She said.

All of You give them credit to They were the female descendants of their male predecessors the Committees including the former Senator Barbara Mikulski (a Maryland Democrat) who was the first chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Panel and Used to Invite new senators to Her office was for “a” “workshop” the So they can become familiar with the process of appropriations the elaborate workings of the committee.

Mikulski retired after 30 years of service in 2017, and spoke to us in an interview. the Senate the women Are “brilliant strategists” who may disagree on policy but won’t let rancor come between them.

“What I’m excited about is that they have not only broken the glass ceiling, but they have the keys to the vault,” Mikulski.