Michael Barnes represented Maryland as a member of the US House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987. Barnes joined the Inter-American Dialogue as a member in 1986.
During his tenure in Congress, Barnes served as assistant majority whip and on the Foreign Affairs, Budget, Judiciary, and District of Columbia Committees. He chaired the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Metropolitan Affairs Subcommittee of the DC Committee. US President Ronald Reagan appointed him to serve on the Kissinger Commission on Central America and the President’s Commission on Drunk Driving.
Subsequent to his congressional service, Barnes served as president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, chair of the Center for National Policy, chair of the US-Panama Business Council, co-chair of the US Committee for the United Nations Development Program, chair of the Governor’s Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region (the “2020 Commission”), a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, and a member of the boards of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the University of Maryland Foundation, the Center for International Policy, Public Voice, the Overseas Development Council, the US Association of Former Members of Congress, the US Committee for UNICEF, WGL Holdings, Inc., and Washington Gas Light Company. He is on the national advisory boards of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the United Nations Association, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.