If Kay Bailey Hutchison were still in the Senate, the government shutdown may have played out differently.
The former Texas senator, whose seat Ted Cruz won last year after she decided not to run again, said the Republican’s tactics in using Obamacare defunding as leverage were flawed.
“I think making the defunding of Obamacare as the reason to not lift the debt ceiling and continue government was the wrong approach,” Hutchison guest host Kristen Welker on Tuesday’s The Daily Rundown.
Others also wish the former senator could have still been in Congress – Cruz’s hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, wrote last week in an editorial titled “Why we miss Kay Bailey Hutchison” that they wish they hadn’t endorsed Cruz’s re-election
Both Hutchison and fellow guest, former Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas, said that instead of stalemate, the real focus should have been on the budget, the debt ceiling and entitlement reform.
“You’ve got to go for something where we can agree you’ve got to do something and I think Republicans and Democrats know the debt is out of control,” said Hutchison. “I think we need to have changes in Obamacare, but shutting down the government and the debt ceiling require us to look at our spending levels which have just gone through the roof.”
“We’re going to go through this road again and it’s probably going to be another standoff,” added Lincoln “Putting our economy back on track should be the first thing we talk about.”
Both senators also agreed that the Obama administration urgently needs to fix the healthcare website. Hutchison added that the president and Democrats should be more flexible about changing the program as more problems arise.
“Of course the roll out is horrendous and people are very frustrated about that, but I think going forward it's going to be deeper than that and I just would like to see the White House get more flexible, the democrats get more flexible about what needs to be changed and what needs to be kept,” said Hutchison
As two former influential women in the Senate, both Hutchison and Lincoln agreed that it’s no surprise women are leading bipartisan efforts to resolve the budget.
“Women have always been able to come together to move forward,” the Texas Republican said. “They’re leaders, they make things happen and they don’t give up their principles.”
“Whether we’re tidying the house or tidying the Congress, [women] come in, they clean up, they put things in order,” said the Arkansas Democrat.
Check out the full conversation with former Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Blanche Lincoln above.