Madame Chairwoman

08.06.1312:14 PM ET

Senator Mikulski Ready to Kick Butt

Under pressure to negotiate a spending deal.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) has had an impressive first seven months on the job as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The first woman to hold the position (and the longest-serving woman in Congress), she’s built a reputation since being elected to the House in 1976 as a driven, no-nonsense legislator. Now she’s faced with a daunting task: negotiating a spending level that will make both chambers happy and head off a shutdown of Washington before a fast-approaching October 1 deadline. At a time when compromise is increasingly difficult, Mikulski isn’t afraid to “raise her legislative voice” to work towards the best possible conclusion.