Barbara Mikulski

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Barbara Mikulski
Barbara Mikulski.jpg
U.S. Senate, Maryland
In office
January 3rd, 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
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$11,939,823
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
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$379,008
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Barbara Ann Mikulski (b. July 20, 1936, in Baltimore, Maryland) 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]

Mikulski is scheduled to run for re-election in January, 2019. 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.[2]

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 in 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 Masters 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.[3]


Below is an abbreviated version of Mikulski's political career:[3]

  • Baltimore City Council, 1971-1976
  • U.S. House of Representatives, 1977-1987
  • U.S. Senate, 1987-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Mikulski serves on the following Senate committees:[4]

  • 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:[5]


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[6] 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.[7]

National security

American response in Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

Mikulski said on September 5, 2013, that she was persuaded that Syrian leader Bashar Assad was responsible for the August 2013 chemical weapons attack but remained undecided on whether a U.S. military strike is the best response.[8]

"What we heard today made a compelling forensic case, one, that nerve gas was used and, No. 2, that it was used by the Assad regime," said Mikulski.[8]

"In briefings like this, I was convinced that there was no compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. I was right about that. I do believe that today there was compelling evidence presented that [Assad] did use nerve gas against his own people. Now, the next question is what is the best way to deter him from ever using that again," she said.[8]

Mikulski said on September 9, 2013, that she supports giving President Barack Obama authorization to strike Syria.[9]

"I believe the president's plan is the best response to protecting U.S. security interests in the region," Mikulski, the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said during a lengthy speech on the Senate floor.[9]

"Therefore…after really great reflection and as much due diligence as I could do, I want to announce today to my colleagues and most of all to the people of Maryland who have supported me, that I will support the president's request for a targeted, limited military action against the Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in response to the horrific, grim and ghoulish use of chemical weapons," she said.[9]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" 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.[10]


Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" 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 funds 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.[11] 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.[12]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" 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 suspended 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.[10]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Voted "Yes" Mikulski voted for the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[10] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. Mikulski was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[10]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.


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.[10]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" 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.[10]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" 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 a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[13]



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.[14]

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

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.[19]

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


Breakdown of the source of Mikulski's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

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.[20]


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Mikulski is a "rank-and-file Democrat" August 13, 2013.[21]

Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Mikulski is a "rank-and-file Democrat" as of July 23, 2013.[22]

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.[23]

Mikulski most often votes with:

Mikulski least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Mikulski missed 298 of 8,801 roll call votes from January 1987 to April 2013, which is 3.4% of votes during that period. This is worse than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. [24]

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.[25]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Mikulski's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $191,016 and $567,000. This averages to $379,008, which is a 12.63% increase since 2010. It is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2011 of $20,795,450.[26]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Mikulski's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $156,016 and $517,000. That averages to $336,508, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2010 of $19,383,524.[27]

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 2012.[28]


Mikulski ranked 5th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[29]


Mikulski is unmarried and lives in Baltimore, MD.[30]

Recent news

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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" August 13, 2013
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bg
  3. 3.0 3.1 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress "Barbara Mikulski," Accessed October 25, 2011
  4. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 18, 2013
  5. Official Senate Website "Committee Assignments," Accessed October 25, 2011
  6. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Baltimore Sun, "Mikulski convinced by evidence but undecided on strikes," accessed September 5, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Baltimore Sun, "Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski says she supports Syria strike," accessed September 10, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Project Votesmart, "Barbara Mikulski Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  11. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  12., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  13. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  14. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  15. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  16. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
  17. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1992," accessed March 28, 2013
  18. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1986," accessed March 28, 2013
  19. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for Barbara Mikulski" April 2013
  20. Open Secrets "Barbara Mikulski 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed October 25, 2011
  21. GovTrack, "Barbara Mikulski," Accessed August 13, 2013
  22. Gov Track "Barbara Mikulski," accessed July 23, 2013
  23. OpenCongress, "Barbara Mikulski," Accessed August 8, 2013
  24. GovTrack, "Brbara Mikulski" Accessed April 2013
  25. LegiStorm "Barbara Mikulski"
  26., "Mikulski, (D-Maryland), 2011"
  27., "Mikulski, (D-Maryland), 2010"
  28. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  29. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  30. Official Website "Biography," Accessed October 25, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Mathias, Jr.
U.S. Senate - Maryland
Succeeded by