The game of musical committee chairs in the Senate today will leave Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski right where she is--as the most senior senator who does not chair a major committee.
In addition, Mikulski will not be able to assume a more prestigious subcommittee chairmanship on the powerful Appropriations committee, as some in her orbit had hoped.
Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa will become chairman of the Health committee, replacing the late Ted Kennedy. And he will also be able to keep his chairmanship of the Labor, HHS subcommittee on Appropriations, enhancing his influence as a consequence.
Mikulski, 74, was first elected to the Senate in 1986 and is running for another six-year term in next year's election.
She ranks fifth, behind Harkin, in Democratic seniority on Appropriations and third on Health, behind Sen. Chris Dodd, who is remaining as Banking chairman, and Harkin.