WASHINGTON (JTA) — House Democrats elevated Rep. Nita Lowey of New York to their ranking member on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Lowey, a leading pro-Israel lawmaker who is Jewish, had been the top Democrat on the committee’s foreign operations subcommittee. She announced her bid for the party’s top slot on the Approriations Committee last April after Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) announced he was retiring.
"It is especially gratifying to be the first woman to lead either party on this powerful committee," Lowey said in a statement Tuesday after her election by the Democrats’ steering committee in the House of Representatives.
Lowey defeated Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) for the top spot. Kaptur had seniority but was seen as problematic because of her sometimes frosty relations with the House Democratic leadership and her relatively conservative views on abortion.
Lowey won by a vote of 36-10, sources told The Hill newspaper.
"Throughout her service on the Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey has acted as a fierce advocate for the best interests of the American people, at home and around the world," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader. "As the first woman to hold her new post, she will continue to fight for investments that strengthen the middle class and spur our prosperity."
Pelosi emphasized that Lowey and a top Democrat on another committee, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) of Financial Services, were women — an implied jab at House Republicans, who elected only white men to committee chairmanships.