Mikulski to Chair Full Senate Appropriations Committee – update

Mikulski to Chair Full Senate Appropriations Committee – update

UPDATE:  The Senate Democratic Caucus ratified Mikulski as the new chair of the committee on December 20, as expected.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) will become the new chair of the full Senate Appropriations Committee, the first woman to chair that committee.

Mikulski said that she is honored to succeed Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who died earlier this week.  The Hill newspaper reports that she got the nod after two more senior Democrats on the committee, Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), declined.  Both will stay where they are — Leahy as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Harkin as chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Mikulski is well known in the space policy community because she chairs the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA and NOAA.  She is a strong NASA supporter, especially for activities that take place at the Goddard Space Flight Center in her home state.  She has been less enthusiastic about NOAA’s management of its satellite programs.  Nothing was mentioned in Mikulski’s statement as to whether she will retain the subcommittee chair as well.   Inouye served both as chair of the full committee and of the defense subcommittee.

The Senate Democratic Caucus still must ratify her appointment.  That vote is expected tomorrow. 

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