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Sen. Mikulski to lead Appropriations

  |   Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:13 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., will become chairwoman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, becoming the first woman to do so, aides said.

"It's an honor and a privilege to be expected to follow the great leadership of Sen. [Daniel] Inouye [D-Hawaii], one of my most treasured mentors, and become the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee," Mikulski said in a release. "It is especially gratifying to be the first woman to lead this powerful committee. I am grateful for this opportunity to fight for the day to day needs of the American people and the long range needs of the nation."

She takes over leadership of the Appropriations Committee after the sudden death of Inouye this week, and after Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Tom Harkin of Iowa declined the role.

Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in the Senate. As Appropriations chairwoman, her first tasks include trying to usher a Democratic-backed $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy emergency spending bill through Congress, as well as seek passage next week of an omnibus spending bill that would replace the current 2013 stopgap bill, The Hill said.

Leahy will remain chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Harkin will head the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

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