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FCW : April 15, 2014
BY RICHARD E. COHEN As a veteran senator, Barbara Mikulski frequently visits the many federal of ces across her state to check on their needs and possible problems that she can help resolve. During a February visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, for example, the Maryland Democrat toured a kidney cancer research lab and discussed how medical providers and patients will bene t from the recent congres- sional spending deal that she was instrumental in crafting. Not incidentally, she reminded her audience that the bill provided them with a modest pay hike and provided two years of relative certainty for agency funding. Her advocacy for federal employees and contractors is not con ned to agency big shots. Mikulski also makes a practice of reminding rank-and- le workers that she is their senator, too, and eager to provide assistance. At age 77 and as one of the most senior Senate Dem- ocrats, Mikulski today is in an even stronger position to deliver on her promises. As chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she has brought energy and fresh thinking to the panel, whose deliberations had grown musty and often irrelevant. Her rst year leading the com- mittee has increased both its output and consensus-building. "Sen. Mikulski had a lot to do with congressional leaders agreeing to reach a budget deal," said Scott Lilly, a senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress think tank and former Democratic staff director of the House Appropriations Committee. "She worked very hard with [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid, other Senate Demo- crats and all the members of her committee to make the case that this should be done. That's when the logjam broke. She was very hands-on and on top of what had to happen to move all of the committee's bills." With her House counterpart Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Mikulski achieved a labor-intensive and long overdue victory in January when Congress approved an omnibus spending bill for the scal year that started last October. It was the rst time since 2009 that Congress completed appropriations bills that went beyond the status-quo framework of a continu- ing resolution. This year, Mikulski wants to build on that, with a return to productive legislating by the appropriators. The Senate Appropriations chairwoman --- whose state is home to more than 100,000 federal employees --- could be agencies' best hope for a return to regular order x the appropriations process? Can Barbara Mikulski 20 April 15, 2014 FCW.COM
March 30, 2014
April 30, 2014