Veteran New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, one of Israel's strongest supporters on Capitol Hill, is in line to become the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, which must annually approve more than $3.8 trillion -- with a T -- in annual federal spending. With the intense focus of the incoming 113th Congress on federal spending, the Appropriations committee and its leaders will play a critical role.
As ranking member she would also be in a key position to assist New York and other states to secure needed funding for their recovery from Tropical Storm Sandy.
Lowey is the frontrunner in a two-woman contest for the top job. Her competition, Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, has more seniority but is considered too out-of-step with her party for such an important post, particularly because of her conservative positions on abortion and immigration, according to House insiders.
For the past dozen years Lowey has been the chair or ranking Democrat of the panel's Foreign Operations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the budget of the State Department as well as all foreign assistance, including more than $3 billion in aid to Israel.
Lowey has been a longtime pro-Israel shtarker and a leader on causes important to the Jewish community. One of her friends and supporters in the House, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, said, "She's the best thing since matzo ball soup."
Lowey has been energetically lobbying her colleagues since Rep. Norm Dicks announced his retirement earlier this year, and if successful will become the first woman and the first Jewish member of either party to hold the top appropriations post.
Lowey was just elected to a 13th term and represents the newly redrawn 17th Congressional District, which covers all of Rockland County and northwestern Westchester County.
As the first woman Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee she helped elect many of her colleagues.
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