For the first time in years, there are no large cuts planned for fiscal 2015, which will help Mikulski in the Senate.
With the coming midterm elections, appropriations bills will almost certainly be the only bills signed into law in 2014. That will make them vital to members of Congress trying to enact policy changes, and just as vital to lobbyists trying to secure more money and protect budget items.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.