CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story misidentified the member selected to be the ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee in the 113th Congrss. It is Rep. Robert Brady of Pennsylvania.
Rep. Nita Lowey of New York on Tuesday was picked as the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. She was selected over the more senior Marcy Kaptur of Ohio by the House Democratic Caucus steering and policy committee controlled by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The choice of Lowey, done behind closed doors, marks the first time a woman will hold her party’s top position on the panel. The full caucus was expected to ratify the selection later on Tuesday.
In a statement, Lowey said, “It is an honor to be selected by my colleagues to serve as Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress. It is especially gratifying to be the first woman to lead either party on this powerful committee. “
“In the coming weeks,” she noted, “Congress must extend expiring tax reductions for middle-class families and replace sequestration with budget reductions that jeopardize neither critical services nor investments for the future.”
The steering panel also confirmed leaders for three other top committees, with the other new face being Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who was picked to take the top Democratic seat on the Financial Services Committee.
The only real drama rested in the Lowey-Kaptur contest to succeed retiring Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington.
Lowey, 75, who famously stepped aside in the 1999 New York Senate primary to allow Hillary Rodham Clinton to run, enjoyed the support of party leadership. And the pendulum seemed to be even more decidedly swinging in her favor after Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia, who had been seeking the job, withdrew his bid and started lining up support for Lowey.
Kaptur, meanwhile, has more of a maverick voting record—she was a notable holdout on the health care reform bill in 2010 because of her concern over abortion language, which was eventually resolved, and she voted against the Dream Act that same year. A one-day symbolic leadership run against Pelosi in 2002 did not help.
The steering committee also on Tuesday night named the party’s selections for the top seats on other committees, which will be ratified by rank-and-file Democrats on Wednesday: Eliot Engel of New York, Foreign Affairs; Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, Administration; Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Oversight and Government Reform; Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Science, Space, and Technology; Carolyn Maloney of New York, Joint Economic Committee; Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Natural Resources; Michael Michaud of Maine, Veterans’ Affairs; George Miller of California, Education and Labor; Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Agriculture; Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Transportation; Linda Sanchez of California, Ethics; Adam Smith of Washington, Armed Services; Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, Homeland Security; Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Budget; and Nydia Velazquez of New York, Small Business.
This article appears in the December 5, 2012, edition of NJ Daily as Lowey Picked as Top Democrat on Appropriations.