Rep. Nita Lowey, the New York Democrat who chairs the influential House Appropriations Committee, announced Thursday that she will not seek reelection next year. The 82-year-old Lowey has served in Congress for 31 years. She is the first woman to chair the House Appropriations Committee.
“The retirement of Nita Lowey is a huge loss for our country, the Congress, our committee, and me personally,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee said in a statement. “It has been an honor to serve with Nita over the years, reaching heights previously off limits to women in Congress.”
Lowey’s seat is considered a safe one for Democrats, with Hillary Clinton having carried the district by 20 points in the 2016 election. But her decision to retire “will lead to a long and likely contentious race to find the next Appropriations chairman — or ranking member, in the event Democrats don’t hold the House after the 2020 elections,” Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman and Jennifer Shutt report. “The list of likely contenders is long and includes several of the subcommittee chairs. Unlike in the Senate, where the positions of chairman and ranking member are predominantly determined by seniority, House Democrats consider several factors when electing chairs.”