Senator Mikulski Brings New Gavel, New Viewpoint to Appropriations

Just before the holiday season, Senator Barbara Mikulski became the new chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the first woman chair of that committee in history. Everyone at IGC congratulates Senator Mikulski and looks forward to working with her in her new position.

The senator was quoted as saying “It’s going to be a new day in Appropriations, but we’re going to follow old school values.” We couldn’t agree more with that sentiment, since the entire space industry is accommodating to a new budgetary climate that requires financial discipline and a lot of common sense.

Senator Mikulski has traditionally had a strong and active interest in the high-technology and space industries. We know her well as constituents, with our headquarters in Bethesda and our facility in Hagerstown. She’s always been a strong advocate for a strong defense and a robust industrial base.

Mikulski also knows the importance of passing budgets and getting things done. She is on the record as very disappointed with the six month Continuing Resolution (CR). This is because it leaves agencies with little opportunity for adjustments to new requirements, and surrenders many decisions to the Executive Branch without sufficient Congressional input.

If the six-month CR leads to a year-long CR, Senator Mikulski believes that would damage the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and the Intelligence Community (IC) since the law prevents funding for new-start programs and caps spending levels across the board.

That could squelch innovation and is not the right recipe for the challenges we face in space this year. There are numerous challenges to U.S. supremacy, and meeting them requires a fresh perspective while maintaining fiscal discipline.

Senator Mikulski taking the gavel at Appropriations is an encouraging step in the right direction.