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Ms. MURKOWSKI. Madam President, I join my colleague Senator Pryor. I don't think any of us had planned to do anything coordinated at this point in time. I came to the floor and was anticipating the announcement from both leaders. But I see so many of our colleagues who have been working on this proposal with Senator Collins from Maine. She has truly been remarkable in her persistence and insistence that we continue this effort to work collegially, to work collaboratively on these very difficult issues that we have been facing these past several weeks.
I thank Senator Collins for her leadership most particularly, but we all know, if you are trying to move the ball, just one person, you don't get anywhere. We do a lot of sports analogies around here. Honestly, I am tired of the sports analogies. But what I do appreciate is that as a Senate we cannot work together as individuals and expect to accomplish the work that is needed, not only for my constituents in Alaska but around the country. Regardless of who is in the majority or who is in the minority, in order to make it work for the country we have to be working together.
As difficult as all this has been in the past several weeks, what I found encouraging is there has been a nucleus of folks who would come together as the need arose, or perhaps just for a little moral support, and continued the effort to try to find common ground. We went from a small group to a group of six on each side to a group of seven on each side. I think with every passing day we had more colleagues who were interested in helping and participating to try to find that common ground. As we noted, the agreement that has been reached by our respective leaderships, while it is not what our working group came up with, there are certain elements of it that we had helped to shepherd.
But this should not be about who claims authorship, who puts their name behind it. What this should be about is whether we can get the government open again, we can get focused on dealing with our fiscal issues, dealing with the fact that we are up against the debt ceiling perhaps tomorrow. Our reality is in front of us right now.
Getting caught up with whether it is the Senate that should make this happen or the House that makes this happen, whether it is Leader Reid or Minority Leader McConnell, that is not what the public cares about. The news that is coming out today is that there is a deal. There is a deal. That deal should give America hope.
But it does not get us out of the mess we are in. I think we are at pretty low approval ratings. It is going to take a while for us to rebuild any credibility. But I think the effort to rebuild credibility begins when we honestly and earnestly roll up our sleeves, tackle the big problems, recognize we have to do it together rather than to retreat into our respective corners and just hope that we can get it right without talking to one another.
I again thank Senator Collins for her leadership on this issue. I thank all my colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle and the Republican side of the aisle for coming to this point. I am most hopeful we will see it quickly resolved today so the country can breathe easily and sleep a little better tonight.
I yield the floor.
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