Nita Lowey

Nita Sue Melnikoff Lowey (/ˈli/ LOH-ee; born July 5, 1937) is an American politician who has served as a U.S. Representative from New York since 1989. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Lowey's district was numbered as the 20th from 1989 to 1993, as the 18th from 1993 to 2013, and has been the 17th since 2013. The district includes many of New York City's inner northern suburbs, such as White Plains, Purchase, Tarrytown, Mount Kisco, and Armonk.

Nita Lowey
Nita Lowey 116th Congress.jpg
Chair of the House Appropriations Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byRodney Frelinghuysen
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
Assumed office
January 3, 1989
Preceded byJoe DioGuardi
Constituency20th district (1989–1993)
18th district (1993–2013)
17th district (2013–present)
Personal details
Nita Sue Melnikoff

(1937-07-05) July 5, 1937 (age 83)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Stephen Lowey
(m. 1961)
EducationMount Holyoke College (BA)

In 2018, Lowey became the first woman to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She announced on October 10, 2019 that she will retire and not run for re-election to Congress in 2020.[1]

Early life, education, and early political careerEdit

Lowey was born in the Bronx in New York City, the daughter of Beatrice (Fleisher) and Jack Melnikoff.[2] She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and then Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies.

Lowey worked for Mario Cuomo's 1974 campaign for lieutenant governor of New York. She then served as the assistant secretary of state of New York for 13 years.[3]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit


Lowey ran in the Democratic Party primary election for the United States House of Representatives from New York's 20th congressional district in the 1988 election against incumbent Joe DioGuardi.[3] She defeated DioGuardi. Following redistricting after the 1990 Census, Lowey was elected from the 17th district. Her district is located in the northern suburbs of New York City and includes most of Westchester County including White Plains, Chappaqua, Greenburgh, Ossining and all of Rockland County, including the county seat New City, Haverstraw, and Congers. She used to represent some of the far northern portions of Queens and the Bronx until redistricting after the 2000 Census removed the New York City portion of her district.

Lowey considered running for the United States Senate in 2000, but stepped aside when First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy.[4] Lowey was considered a top contender for appointment to Clinton's Senate seat after Clinton was nominated to be Secretary of State, but in a December 1, 2008, phone interview with the Associated Press, she stated that she isn't interested in giving up her senior seat on the House Appropriations Committee.[5]

In 2004, Lowey received 69% of the vote against political newcomer Richard A. Hoffman, a Wall Street investor and largely self-funded candidate who ran on a platform of opposing special interests and cutting federal taxes. Lowey emphasized her track record on homeland security issues, notably her work to reform the formula for distributing homeland security grants to states. In 2006, also against Hoffman, Lowey won with 70%. Lowey was re-elected to an eleventh term in 2008, with 68% of the vote against James C. Russell.


Lowey received an "A" on the liberal Drum Major Institute's 2005 scorecard.[6] She received 12% on the Club for Growth's 2007 congressional scorecard.[7] According to the conservative Heritage Foundation, Lowey consistently votes in support of the policies of the Democratic Party, and is seen as a strong and effective progressive voice in that legislative body.[8]

Her voting record on mass surveillance earned her a "D" on the Stand Against Spying Congressional Scorecard, which was created by a coalition of organizations and individuals from across the political spectrum advocating for transparency and an end to mass surveillance.[9]

Early in her Congressional career, Lowey sponsored an earmark for the purpose of "dredging the Mamaroneck Harbor."[10] According to the local newspaper, The Journal News, the dredging was proposed because "the harbor was becoming too shallow 'to accommodate the larger yachts.'"[10]

In 2001–2002, Lowey served as the first female chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

One of the notable causes she supports is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in support of which she appeared at a congressional hearing accompanied by Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie.

Lowey has been a vocal advocate for a Security Council Resolution on the conflict in Darfur. She is responsible for the $500 million in the Emergency Spending Bill for Aid in Darfur.

Lowey voted for HR 2454, the "Cap and Trade" legislation.[11]

Congresswoman Lowey, with Federal Emergency Management Agency Director David Paulison and Senator Hillary Clinton, during 2007 floods in New York.

In early 2009, Lowey introduced the Transportation Security Workforce Enhancement Act, which calls for collective bargaining rights for federal workers at the TSA and Department of Homeland Security.[12] However, some statements from the TSA dispute the necessity of collective bargaining.[13]

She was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the context of the November 2009, Affordable Health Care for America Act. Because of the rancor and disruptions which marked many of the town hall meetings held in the summer of 2009 to discuss Health Care Reform, Lowey chose to present her point of view on Health Care Reform in a telephone conference call, the effectiveness of which was questioned by some of her constituents.[14] However, Lowey routinely appears around her district to talk one-on-one with her constituents at town fairs, events and public meetings.

In 2018, the Democrats won the majority in the U.S House of Representatives and subsequently Congresswoman Lowey became the first Chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations. After she became chair, she negotiated a border security bill with Senator Richard Shelby that funded the government through 2020.[15]

On October 10, 2019, Lowey announced she would not run for reelection in 2020.[16] [17][18]

Iran dealEdit

Lowey announced her opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, stating that "In my judgment, sufficient safeguards are not in place to address the risks associated with the agreement. Relieving UN sanctions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles and releasing billions of dollars to the Iranian regime could lead to a dangerous regional weapons race and enable Iran to bolster its funding of terrorists. The deal does not explicitly require Iran to fully disclose its previous military work to the IAEA's satisfaction before sanctions relief is provided, and inspectors will not have immediate access to the most suspicious facilities. There are no clear accountability measures regarding punishment for minor violations, which could encourage Iran to cheat."[19]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

2016 superdelegateEdit

Like all Democratic members of Congress, Lowey was a superdelegate to the 2016, Democratic National Convention, pledged to support Hillary Clinton. Lowey's chief of staff, when asked by the New York Daily News whether Lowey might switch her support to candidate Bernie Sanders if Sanders were to win the New York State Democratic presidential primary, said "absolutely not... Hillary Clinton is Congresswoman Lowey's friend, colleague and her constituent, and she is behind her 100%."[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Lowey is married to Stephen Lowey, a named partner in the law firm of Lowey Dannenberg Cohen & Hart, P.C., which is located in White Plains, NY. According to the West Corporation, his practice areas include securities law, antitrust law, and consumer protection. They have three children and eight grandchildren. The estimate of her personal asset wealth, based on financial disclosures members of Congress are required to provide (aside from that of personal residences and non-interest-bearing bank accounts), puts Rep. Lowey's wealth at $41.2 million in 2010, based largely on her husband's investments.[24] This is derived from a special investigative series of asset wealth of all U.S. Congressional Representatives conducted by The Washington Post.[24]

Electoral historyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bowman, Bridget (October 10, 2019). "Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey announces retirement". Roll Call. Washington, DC. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  2. ^ Stone, Kurt F. (December 29, 2010). The Jews of Capitol Hill: A Compendium of Jewish Congressional Members. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810877382.
  3. ^ a b Feron, James (May 1, 1988). "Former State Official Joins Race for DioGuardi's Seat" – via
  4. ^ Staff (February 7, 2000). "Lowey gets seat of honor at speech". The Journal News. White Plains, New York. p. 4. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018 – via  
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "".
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 6, 2008. Retrieved November 9, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Baker, Jena. "New Budget Estimates Show Unsustainable Spending and Debt | The Heritage Foundation". Archived from the original on March 13, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  9. ^ "Where do your representatives stand on illegal surveillance?". Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Carney, Timothy (March 16, 2011) Government for the Yachters[permanent dead link], Washington Examiner
  11. ^ "Political Voting Records: New York-NY, Lowey: Budget, Spending and Taxes". Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  12. ^ "Federal Eye - Eye Opener: TSA Collective Bargaining Rights". July 9, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  13. ^ "TSA: Myth vs. Fact on the TSA Workforce". Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  14. ^ "Are telephone Town Hall meetings Democratic? | Politics on the Hudson". August 7, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  15. ^ "House, Senate reach agreement on subcommittee spending levels". Roll Call. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  16. ^ "Prominent House Democrat Nita Lowey announces she will not run for reelection". Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  17. ^ a_henning (October 7, 2019). "The black, gay Harvard grad taking on Nita Lowey". CSNY. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  18. ^ Wang, Vivian; Cochrane, Emily (October 10, 2019). "Rep. Nita Lowey Announces Unexpected Retirement". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  19. ^ "Lowey Opposes P5+1 Iran Agreement". Representative Nita Lowey. August 4, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  20. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  21. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  22. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  23. ^ "New York superdelegates largely back Clinton over Sanders". NY Daily News. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  24. ^ a b Fallis, David S.; Higham, Scott; Kindy, Kimberly (2012). "Special Report: Capitol Assets: Nita Lowey". Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph DioGuardi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th congressional district

Succeeded by
Benjamin Gilman
Preceded by
José Serrano
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th congressional district

Succeeded by
Sean Maloney
Preceded by
Eliot Engel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 17th congressional district

Preceded by
Rodney Frelinghuysen
Chair of the House Appropriations Committee
Party political offices
Preceded by
Patrick Kennedy
Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Succeeded by
Bob Matsui
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Eliot Engel
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Richard Neal