Prior to becoming Energy Secretary, Abraham represented Michigan in the United States Senate from 1995 to 2001, as the only Arab American in that chamber. He served on the Budget, Commerce, Science and Transportation, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees. He also chaired two-important subcommittees: Manufacturing and Competitiveness, and Immigration. Abraham authored the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act, establishing a federal framework for on-line contracts and signatures; the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which protects Internet domain names for businesses and persons against copyright and trademark infringements. He was defeated for reelection to the Senate in 2000 for a second term by Debbie Stabenow.
Before his election to the Senate, Abraham served as co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 1991 to 1993. Previously, he was chairman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1983 to 1990. He was deputy chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle in 1990-1991.