WASHINGTON (AP) -
Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski will become the first woman to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
Her fellow Democrat Patrick Leahy says Mikulski, a five-term senator, will take over the position vacated with the death earlier this week of Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.
Appropriations long has been one of the most powerful committees in Congress because of its control over annual spending, and it has been dominated by some of the Capitol's most powerful men.
The 76-year-old Mikulski was third in seniority on the committee after Inouye. Leahy, the next in line, has decided to remain as chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Tom Harkin is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.