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Barbara Mikulski

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Barbara Mikulski
Barbara Mikulski.jpg
U.S. Senate, Maryland
In office
January 3, 1987-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 28
PredecessorCharles McC. Mathias, Jr. (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 4, 1986
Campaign $$11,939,823
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
Baltimore City Council
High schoolInstitute of Notre Dame
Bachelor'sMount Saint Agnes College
Master'sUniversity of Maryland School of Social Work
Place of birthBaltimore, MD
ProfessionSocial Worker
Net worth(2012) $454,508
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Barbara Ann Mikulski (b. July 20, 1936, in Baltimore, MD) is a Democratic member of the United States Senate representing Maryland. Mikulski was first elected to the Senate in 1986 and is currently serving her fifth term.[1]

On March 2, 2015, Mikulski announced she would not seek re-election in 2016.[2]

Prior to her election in the Senate, Mikulski served as a member of the Baltimore city council.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

She previously was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 1987.[3]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Mikulski is one of the most reliable Democratic votes, meaning she can be considered a safe vote for the Democratic Party in Congress.


Mikulski was born on July 20, 1936, in East Baltimore, MD. She earned her B.A. from Mt. Saint Agnes College (now a part of Loyola Maryland University) in 1958 and went on obtain her Master's from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 1965. Mikulski worked as a social worker and college professor prior to her career in politics.[4]


Below is an abbreviated version of Mikulski's political career:[4]

  • 1987-Present: U.S. Senator from Maryland
  • 1977-1987: U.S. House of Representatives
  • 1971-1976: Baltimore City Council

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Mikulski serves on the following Senate committees:[5]


Mikulski served on the following Senate committees:[6][7]

  • Appropriations Committee
    • Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
    • Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of Homeland
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Members
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Department of Defense
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
    • Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging
    • Subcommittee on Children and Families
  • Select Committee on Intelligence


Mikulski served on the following Senate committees:[8]

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[9] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Mikulski's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[10]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Yea3.png Mikulski voted for the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[11]


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Farm bill

Yea3.png On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[12] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in if or when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[13] Mikulski joined with 46 other Democratic senators in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[14][15] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[15] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[16] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Mikulski voted with the Democratic Party in favor of the bill.[14][15]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[17] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Mikulski voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[18]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png Mikulski voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[11]


Mexico-U.S. border

Neutral/Abstain Mikulski did not vote on Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[11]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png Mikulski voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[11]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Mikulski voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[19]


On The Issues Vote Match

Barbara Mikulski's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Mikulski is a Moderate Liberal. Mikulski received a score of 66 percent on social issues and 36 percent on economic issues.[20]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[21]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Favors
Expand ObamaCare Opposes Comfortable with same-sex marriage Favors
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Strongly Opposes
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Strongly Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Opposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Opposes Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Opposes Expand the military Strongly Opposes
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Opposes
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Strongly Opposes
Note: Information last updated: April 19, 2015.[20] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.



See also: United States Senate election in Maryland, 2016

Mikulski announced she would not seek re-election in 2016.


On November 2, 2010, Barbara Mikulski (D) won re-election to the United States Senate. She defeated Eric Wargotz (R), Richard Shawver (Constitution), Kenniss Henry (Green), Claud L. Ashbury (Write-in, R), Donald Kaplan (Write-in), James T. Lynch, Jr. (Write-in, D), Lih Young (Write-in), Denise L. Whittington (Write-in), Robert J. Evans (Write-in) and Mary Catherine Podlesak (Write-in, R) in the general election.[22]

U.S. Senate, Maryland General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBarbara Mikulski incumbent 62.2% 1,140,531
     Republican Eric Wargotz 35.8% 655,666
     Constitution Richard Shawver 0.8% 14,746
     Green Kenniss Henry 1.1% 20,717
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 1,644
     Write-in Republican Claud L. Ashbury 0% 204
     N/A Donald Kaplan 0% 110
     Write-in Democratic James T. Lynch, Jr. 0% 84
     N/A Lih Young 0% 80
     N/A Denise L. Whittington 0% 56
     N/A Robert J. Evans 0% 14
     Write-in Republican Mary Catherine Podlesak 0% 6
Total Votes 1,833,858

Full history

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Mikulski attends.

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

Comprehensive donor information for Mikulski is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Mikulski raised a total of $11,939,823 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 19, 2013.[27]

Barbara Mikulski's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 U.S. Senate Won $5,508,300
2004 U.S. Senate Won $6,431,523
Grand Total Raised $11,939,823

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


Mikulski won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Mikulski's campaign committee raised a total of $5,508,300 and spent $4,891,554.[28]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Mikulski's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $227,016 and $682,000. That averages to $454,508, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333. Mikulski ranked as the 85th most wealthy senator in 2012.[29] Between 2004 and 2012, Mikulski's calculated net worth[30] decreased by an average of 1 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[31]

Barbara Mikulski Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:-11%
Average annual growth:-1%[32]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[33]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by OpenSecrets.org, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). In the 113th Congress, Mikulski was the Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. Mikulski received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 1989-2014, 16.52 percent of Mikulski's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[34]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Barbara Mikulski Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $19,702,196
Total Spent $19,128,364
Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$922,399
Real Estate$624,545
Health Professionals$554,155
% total in top industry4.68%
% total in top two industries7.88%
% total in top five industries16.52%


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Mikulski was a "rank-and-file Democrat" as of July 22, 2014. This was the same rating Mikulski received in June 2013.[35]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[36]

Mikulski most often votes with:

Mikulski least often votes with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Mikulski missed 309 of 9,229 roll call votes from January 1987 to July 2014, which is 3.3% of votes during that period. This is worse than the median of 2.0% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[37]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Mikulski paid her congressional staff a total of $2,546,660 in 2011. She ranked 16th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 47th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Maryland ranked 33rd in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[38]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


Mikulski ranked 5th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[39]


Mikulski ranked 5th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[40]


Mikulski ranked 5th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[41]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Mikulski voted with the Democratic Party 98.7 percent of the time, which ranked 3rd among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of July 2014.[42]


Mikulski is unmarried and lives in Baltimore, MD.[43] On March 17, 2012, she became the longest serving woman in the history of the United States Congress.[43]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Barbara + Mikulski + Maryland + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Barbara Mikulski News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Bioguide U.S. Senate, "Barbara Mikulski," accessed August 13, 2013
  2. USA Today, "Reports: Longtime Sen. Barbara Mikulski to retire," March 2, 2015
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bg
  4. 4.0 4.1 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress, "Barbara Mikulski," accessed October 25, 2011
  5. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments," accessed February 4, 2015
  6. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 18, 2013
  7. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments," accessed March 29, 2014
  8. Official Senate Website, "Committee Assignments," accessed October 25, 2011
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  10. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Project Vote Smartm "Barbara Mikulski Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  12. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  16. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  17. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  18. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  19. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 On The Issues, "Barbara Mikulski Vote Match," accessed April 19, 2015
  21. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  22. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  23. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
  25. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1992," accessed March 28, 2013
  26. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1986," accessed March 28, 2013
  27. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Barbara Mikulski," accessed April 2013
  28. Open Secrets, "Barbara Mikulski 2010 Election Cycle," accessed October 25, 2011
  29. OpenSecrets, "Mikulski, (D-MD), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  30. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  31. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  32. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  33. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  34. OpenSecrets.org, "Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski," accessed September 18, 2014
  35. GovTrack, "Barbara Mikulski," accessed July 22, 2014
  36. OpenCongress, "Barbara Mikulski," accessed July 22, 2014
  37. GovTrack, "Brbara Mikulski," accessed July 22, 2014
  38. LegiStorm, "Barbara Mikulski," accessed 2012
  39. National Journal, "2013 Senate Vote Ratings," accessed July 22, 2014
  40. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," accessed February 26, 2013
  41. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  42. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  43. 43.0 43.1 Official Website, "Biography," accessed October 25, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Mathias, Jr.
U.S. Senate - Maryland
Succeeded by
Preceded by
U.S. House - Maryland
Succeeded by