U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) announced on Thursday that she won’t seek re-election next year, following a three-decade-long career in Congress as a staunch supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
“As the chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee that writes the foreign-aid bill, I have advanced record funding for women’s health and basic education, especially for girls, around the world, a strong U.S.-Israel relationship with bipartisan support and other investments that support American interests abroad,” she said in a statement.
Lowey, one of 25 Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives—all of whom have called for the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump’s—has been a fixture at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference as a prominent supporter of Israel on Capitol Hill.
Members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community expressed their appreciation for Lowey, who became the first female chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee after the Democrats won the House majority in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Nita Lowey has been a tireless and invaluable champion of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told JNS. “That bond has grown tremendously, thanks largely to her transformative leadership, support and stewardship of security aid through the Congress each year.”
AIPAC’s rival, J Street, expressed disappointment, but appreciation.
“We are sad that Chairwoman Lowey will not seek re-election, but are delighted for her and her family as she completes a distinguished career in the House of Representatives,” its director of communications, Logan Bayroff, told JNS. “We are grateful for her lifelong championship of robust U.S. diplomacy and aid, multilateral cooperation, a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and for her leadership in the quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her counsel and tireless work on these and so many other issues of importance to America’s place in the world will be missed.”
“Congress is losing one of its most impactful members and greatest supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. There is no doubt that @NitaLowey will be missed,” tweeted William Daroff, senior vice president of public policy at the Jewish Federations of North America.
“Chairwoman Lowey has been a champion of liberal values including a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Her legislative know how is unparalleled and her accomplishments legion,” Democratic Majority for Israel president Mark Mellman told JNS. “While we will miss her in Washington; the mark she has made here and in New York is indelible.”
“For the past three decades, Chairwoman Nita Lowey has proudly represented her constituents, which include a considerable number of Jewish Democrats,” Jewish Democratic Council of America executive director Halie Soifer told JNS. “For 31 years, she has given voice to our values in Congress, including through her steadfast support of Israel.”
“Nita Lowey epitomizes bold and courageous leadership, and her wisdom and experience will be deeply missed in Congress when she retires,” she added. “In the meantime, we look forward to working with her to further our shared values in the next year.”
“For more than 30 years, Rep. Nita Lowey has been a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship and U.S. interests in the Middle East. We wish her well in her just-announced retirement,” B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS. “And we hope that whoever runs for her seat in 2020 will have the same level of commitment to the strong ties between the U.S. and Israel.”
For the first time in years, Lowey faced a primary challenger in 2020: former Obama Department of Justice official Mondaire Jones.
“I thank Congresswoman Lowey for her years of extraordinary, inspiring service to the district,” he tweeted. “I’m looking forward to making my case to every voter in Westchester and Rockland Counties on my plan to bring bold, progressive leadership to Washington.
“No question that the Justice Democrats are going to make this seat a top priority, especially since there’s little question they would have lost against Lowey’s unmatched local support,” a Democratic operative in the pro-Israel community told JNS. “What the pro-Israel community is going to be taking a closer look at is who is taking over for her on the Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. That will be the more consequential battle when it comes to the priorities of the pro-Israel community.”