Who Is Lisa Murkowski And Where Does She Stand On Impeachment?

Meet the moderate Senator from Alaska who will help determine if the President remains in office.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) at the Arctic Circle 2017 event (Source: Arctic Circle)

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) at the Arctic Circle 2017 event (Source: Arctic Circle)

Who is Lisa Murkowski?

Alaska’s senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, has held the seat for 18 years. She is considered a moderate Republican. Murkowski earned a BA in economics from Georgetown University and received her J.D. from Willamette University College of Law. Early in her career, she worked as an attorney at the Anchorage District Court Clerk’s office and subsequently as a lawyer in private practice. Elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1988, she served the 18th district which included Elmendorf Air Force Base. After winning re-election three times Murkowski was appointed House Majority Leader.

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What are Lisa Murkowski’s views on impeachment?

In late October, Murkowski said she would not sign a resolution drafted by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) condemning the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. In a written statement, Murkowski chastised Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democrats, saying they “handled this impeachment procedure poorly” and that they abandoned “decades of established precedent on due process for the accused.” Nonetheless, she added, "as awful as their process is, the formal impeachment inquiry lies in the House and it’s not the Senate’s role to dictate to the House how to determine their own rules.”

Just a week earlier, following OMB Budget Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s public admission that President Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in pursuit of political probes, Murkowski said, "You don’t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period.” Asked if the offense was impeachable, she said that she would “need to look exactly to what" Mulvaney said.

In a late November interview, Murkowski said that she “is not in a position to be judging that [impeachment] right now.” She said that she would be paying attention to “news that comes in that seems to be different,” and wouldn’t be in a position to act until articles of impeachment are sent to the Senate.

On December 24, Murkowski told KTUU TV that she was “disturbed” by Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s (R-KY) intention to coordinate with President Trump and the White House for the impeachment trial. “To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process,” Murkowski said.

On potential witness testimony at the Senate impeachment trial, Murkowski said that she supports McConnell’s strategy to delay a final decision until after opening arguments. Senate Democrats hoped that she would be one of a handful of Republicans who would support calling in witnesses. Her decision guaranteed that Republicans will be able to force through their preferred rules for the impeachment trial. Referring to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton Murkowski said, “I think we need to do what they did the last time they did this ... and that was to go through a first phase, and then they reassessed after that.”

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Where does Lisa Murkowski stand with Donald Trump?

In February 2017, Murkowski voted against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. Murkowski justified her vote on the Senate floor by saying, “I have heard from thousands, truly thousands, of Alaskans who shared their concerns [about DeVos’ lack of experience].”

On January 12, 2018, Murkowski criticized Trump’s comment, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” In a Facebook post, the Senator said, "What the president said is offensive and doesn't reflect who we are as a country.” She added, "It is particularly offensive just days ahead of our recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King. I am disappointed and suggest we move quickly to resolve the status of the Dreamers in a way that truly reflects our values.”

Just a month later Murkowski voted for a bipartisan measure to legalize the status of nearly two million DACA recipients and legalize $25 billion for border security over a decade. Trump was opposed to the bill that eventually failed in the Senate. Murkowski said, “It’s not a product that we are all in love with, but it’s a product that we can support.”

October 6, 2018, in an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said that Alaska voters will never forgive Lisa Murkowski for her vote against confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Trump said, “I think she will never recover from this. I think people in Alaska will never forgive her for what she did.” Murkowski was the only Republican senator who voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

On February 22, 2019, Murkowski said she would back a resolution, introduced by House Democrats, of disapproval for Trump’s national emergency declaration. The declaration allowed the president to re-allocate provisionally designated funds to border wall construction projects.

On January 7, 2020, Murkowski released a statement “commending” Trump for the assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani. The Senator wrote, "I am pleased to support Senator Cruz’s resolution commending the president and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and intelligence community for the successful operation against Qasem Soleimani.”

Although Murkowski, a moderate Republican, has criticized President Trump’s more egregious transgressions, she has voted in line with Trump’s positions 74.5% of the time.

Murkowski voted against President Trump’s effort to gut the Affordable Care Act but on October 30, 2019, but also voted against reversing Trump administration guidance on the Affordable Care Act waivers. She supported the nomination of Eugene Scalia, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor in September of the same year. The Senator voted to confirm Mark Esper, Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense, and voted against a bill that would have blocked the President’s pet project sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. She opted out of voting for a Trump supported bill that would set requirements for the care of infants born after failed abortions and voted against a resolution disapproving of Trump’s plan to lift sanctions on three Russian companies.

In May 2017, Murkowski supported Trump’s efforts to repeal a rule requiring energy companies to reduce emissions. She supported Trump’s nominee R. Alexander Acosta for Labor Secretary. Acosta later resigned because of his handling of a criminal, sex crimes case against Jeffrey Epstein. She voted for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee and supported the President’s efforts to repeal a rule requiring certain federal contractors to report labor violations. She voted to confirm Trump’s cabinet nominees Ryan Zinke, Scott Pruitt and Tom Price, all of whom resigned after well-publicized scandals.

Which committees does Lisa Murkowski belong to?

Murkowski has been a member of the Appropriations Committee since 2011 and has worked on several subcommittees. A ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 2001, she now serves as chairperson of the body. She’s also a long-time member of the Indian Affairs Committee and the Health, Education and Labor Committee.

In 2015 Murkowski chaired the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies (Appropriations Committee) in 2015. She was the ranking member for the same Subcommittee in 2011. She is co-chairwoman of the Senate Oceans Caucus and serves on the Senate Cultural Caucus and the Afterschool Caucus.

Lisa Murkowski’s Record In The Senate

Murkowski considers herself pro-choice, is supportive of embryonic stem cell research and Roe v. Wade, but has voted to ban late-term abortions. In 2018 she voted with Democrats against legislation designed to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. As of 2019, Planned Parenthood gave the Senator a lifetime score of 65% compared to a 0% rating by National Right to Life.

Due to her position on abortion, many considered Murkowski a possible “no” vote for conservative Supreme Court nominees. She voted to confirm conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench in 2017 but voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018. Technically she recorded her vote as “present” as a favor to Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) who could not attend the proceedings.

Opposed to tax increases, Murkowski signed the Americans for Tax Reforms Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In 2017, she voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and was previously named a Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business.
Murkowski did not vote for President Obama’s Affordable Care act in 2009 and has frequently voiced her intentions to repeal and replace the legislation. She voted against repealing the law in 2017 because an appropriate replacement was not on the table. In 2019, she advocated for passage of the Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence Act.

A strong advocate for her home state of Alaska, and a major supporter of the fossil fuel industry, Murkowski was given a 2% rating in 2006 by Republicans for Environmental Protection. Earlier in her Senate career, she introduced a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse gases and voted against legislation intended to diminish the impacts of energy producers and the Army Corps of Engineers. She supported legislation to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, a regulation prohibiting coal being dumped into waterways.

Her stance may have softened just a bit in 2019. Murkowski co-sponsored the Financing our Energy Future Act, a bill that would allow renewable energy source producers master limited partnership eligibility. She was also a founding member of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, a group focused on reducing water and ocean plastic pollution as well as public land access for outdoor recreation.

Murkowski considers herself a strong advocate for native Alaskans. She sponsored the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act. According to her website, the Senator “oversees implementation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.”

When is Lisa Murkowski up for re-election?

Lisa Murkowski is up for re-election in the 2022 midterm cycle. She was first appointed Senator of Alaska by her father Frank Murkowski in 2002. Frank Murkowski vacated the seat shortly after he was elected Governor of the state.

Lisa Murkowski won re-election in 2004, narrowly defeating former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles by just over 10,000 votes. In her next re-election bid, Murkowski lost the 2010 Republican Primary election to Joe Miller by just a small margin, 51-49%. In September of the same year she launched a well-funded write-in campaign. Only the second Senate candidate to win a write-in campaign, she defeated Miller in the general election. Miller did not concede and the matter was finally settled by the Alaska State Supreme Court on December 22, 2010. Murkowski was certified eight days later.

Murkowski won re-election again on November 8, 2016. With 44% of the vote, she defeated a crowded field that included one Libertarian (Joe Miller), a Democrat (Ray Metcalfe) and three Independent candidates.

Personal details about Lisa Murkowski

  • Age: 62
  • Birthday: May 22, 1957
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Spouse: Verne Martel
  • Hometown: Ketchikan, Territory of Alaska
  • Education: Georgetown University (BA), Willamette University (JD)
  • Twitter: @lisamurkowski

The Rantt Rundown

Lisa Murkowski is a moderate, three-term US Senator from Alaska. She disapproves of the process that House Democrats followed in the Trump impeachment inquiry. She said that she would assess the evidence against Trump in the Senate trial. A frequent critic of the President, she supports most of his policy initiatives. She’s pro-choice, fiscally conservative and a dedicated advocate for local, Republican initiatives in her home state.

Rantt 101 // Impeachment / Lisa Murkowski / Republican Party