Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., announced Monday that she will not seek re-election in 2016.
Mikulski, a Baltimore native who will complete her fifth term in office in January 2017, said during a speech at Fells Point in Baltimore that she would not seek a sixth term because she wants to focus the next two years on “fighting to give families a raise” by finishing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, making college more affordable as well as ensuring that Social Security remains a “guaranteed, lifetime and inflation-proof benefit” and that Medicare “is there when you need it.”
The longest-serving woman in U.S. Senate history, and the first woman to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mikulski said during her Monday speech that she will strive to make college more affordable with “permanent tuition tax breaks and by reforming Pell Grants, making them year round, easier to apply for and increasing them to cover more costs.” Families, she said, should also be able to refinance student loans at lower rates.
She noted that she would soon introduce her new bill, Debt for Duty, which provides student loan forgiveness in exchange for time spent volunteering.
“For me, service is about solving problems for my constituents. I could never put you or your needs on a back burner. With my own re-election on the horizon, I thought long and hard about how I want to spend the next two years — what is it I want to campaign for, for you or for me?” Mikulski said.