By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor
Maryland Senator and NASA backer Barbara Mikulski is set to get a big promotion, moving up to become the first female chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. The new role will give Mikulski, who has served in the Senate for 26 years, greater influence over spending on the entire federal budget.
The unexpected decision came after the death last week of Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye. Several other senators in line for the position reportedly passed on the assignment.
Mikulski is the current chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommitee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, which oversees funding for NASA, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.