ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — More Maryland muscle in the U.S. Senate. Senator Barbara Mikulski assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what this could mean for the state.

“The Democratic Caucus has just confirmed me to be the full chair of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee,” Mikulski said.

Having been the longest-serving senator without a committee chairmanship, Senator Mikulski holds the power of the purse strings–and already has an agenda.

“Let’s look at items where we can weed out waste and other kinds of unneeded spending,” she said.

With one of the highest government employee rates in the country, Maryland teeters on the edge of the fiscal cliff and Senator Mikulski has some heavy lifting ahead.

“I hope we can break the gridlock, the deadlock and get our country going. People need jobs,” she said.

Senator Mikulski is the first woman to chair the appropriations committee.

“We’re gonna be visible, we’re gonna have vitality and we’re gonna also…I’m that Highlandtown girl, I know how to shop for the bargains. We’re going to get a big bang for our buck,” Mikulski said.

Of course, the first order of business is to back away from that fiscal cliff.

Senator Mikulski replaces veteran Chairman Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who died Monday of respiratory ailments.


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