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Mikulski in Line To Chair Senate Appropriations Committee

A series of dominoes fell Wednesday on Capitol Hill that left Sen. Barbara Mikulski in line to take the gavel of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a move that would significantly increase Maryland’s clout in the chamber and make her the first woman to helm the panel.

The death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) Monday left a vacancy atop the powerful spending panel, one that many expected Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to fill. But Leahy announced Wednesday that he was choosing to remain as chairman of the Judiciary Committee rather than move to Appropriations.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is next in line on the spending committee, but he appears to have chosen to remain head of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee instead. That leaves Mikulski next in line at Appropriations.

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