Even now that their party enjoys unified control in Washington, the two have had to fight for their issues to be addressed. As Mr. Biden prepared to unveil his stimulus plan, Ms. DeLauro heard that the child tax credit, a proposal she first introduced 18 years ago this month, was not part of it. She swung into action, staying up late calling a list of top White House officials — including Ron Klain, the chief of staff; Susan E. Rice, the director of the Domestic Policy Council; and Steve Ricchetti, Mr. Biden’s counselor — until she won agreement to include it.
“I wasn’t going to take no for an answer,” Ms. DeLauro said.
Across the Capitol, Ms. Murray, now the chairwoman of the Senate health and education committee, was strategizing with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, on how to keep Democrats united as they maneuvered the measure through the chamber. She and her staff were also part of efforts to hammer out major provisions in the stimulus package, including a substantial temporary expansion of subsidies purchased under the Affordable Care Act and the terms of a significant portion of the bill’s school funding.
“It’s so clear that you can come here and bring those issues up and people nod, ‘Yes, that’s good,’” Ms. Murray said. “But you don’t get it as a priority. You don’t get it in a legislative package. You don’t get to vote.”
“But now we have more women here who have been working,” she added. “They are here, and they’re giving us the vote, and it’s just awesome.”
For both lawmakers, the work is deeply personal.