Nita Lowey gets ranking member status on Appropriations

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Rep. Nita Lowey has won the top Democratic spot on the House Appropriations Committee.

“It is an honor to be selected by my colleagues to serve as Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress," Lowey said in a statement. "It is especially gratifying to be the first woman to lead either party on this powerful committee."

The caucus's steering committee voted 36-10 this afternoon to make Lowey the ranking member on the powerful committee over Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, despite the fact Kaptur has six years more seniority than Lowey.

(Seniority generally determines the ranking members, but not always; New York was on the losing end two years ago, when the steering committee opted not to name Ed Towns the ranking member on the Oversight Committee, even though Towns was the senior member.) 

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She will replace Washington Rep. Norm Dicks, who is retiring.

Lowey has represented Westchester and surrounding areas in the House since 1989, and her elevation comes as New York officials prepare to lobby for a supplemental aid request to help with the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.

Lowey joins Queens Rep. Joe Crowley in moving up the ranks in the next Congress; Crowley was just elected caucus vice chair, making him the only New Yorker among the Democratic leadership in the House.

She'll officially become the ranking member when the new Congress is seated next month, and will be the presumptive front-runner for the chairmanship, if Democrats ever win back the majority.