Nita M Lowey

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey announces retirement
New York Democrat has served in the House for three decades

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, is retiring after 16 terms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey announced Thursday that she is not running for reelection. The New York Democrat was the first woman to lead the powerful committee.

“After 31 years in the United States Congress, representing the people of Westchester, Rockland, Queens and the Bronx, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2020,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is my deep honor and privilege to serve my community and my country, and I will always be grateful to the people who have entrusted me to represent them.”

Charleston mass murderer got his gun because of background check gaps, internal report shows
Four years later, Congress and White House have made little progress on gun legislation

Mourners enter Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015 after a mass shooting by Dylann Roof, a self-declared white supremacist, left nine people dead. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file photo)

Dylann Roof got the pistol he used to kill nine people in a historic black church in South Carolina without a completed background check because of gaps in FBI databases, legal restrictions on how long the FBI can keep data on gun purchasers and other breakdowns in the system, according to an internal report obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Four years after the 2015 attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston — and several more high-profile mass shootings — a bipartisan group of senators is still trying to hammer out a deal with the White House on background check legislation. 

Justice Department slow to answer Congress on gun background checks
House Appropriations has asked Attorney General William Barr to clarify April testimony

The House Appropriations Committee has asked Attorney General William Barr to clarify testimony he gave Congress in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House lawmakers are still waiting for Attorney General William Barr to answer written questions after he misstated key data about gun background checks during testimony in April.

The questions revolve around a controversial provision in federal law that lets gun dealers sell firearms before a background check is completed if that takes longer than three business days.

Democrats: Budget rule change undercuts Congress’ authority
The new rule instructs agencies to report alleged violations only if the agency, in consultation with OMB, agrees a violation occurred

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., leaves the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic appropriations leaders wrote to the Office of Management and Budget Friday objecting to a decision to limit agencies’ reporting of alleged budget violations, which they said is an attempt to weaken congressional oversight.

The letter from House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, follows a General Accountability Office opinion that suggests the new procedure violates the law.

House committee leaders demand budget documents related to Ukraine aid holdup
Letter asks OMB to provide trove of information, much of it by Oct. 1

Then-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney prepares to testify at a hearing in April 2018. Mulvaney was one of the recipients of a letter from the House Budget and Appropriations Committees that expressed concern over possibly withholding foreign aid funds appropriated by Congress including assistance to Ukraine. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairs of the House Budget and Appropriations committees took the Office of Management and Budget to task Friday for possibly illegally withholding foreign aid funds appropriated by Congress including assistance to Ukraine.

In a letter to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, Budget Chairman John Yarmuth and Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey said they are concerned OMB actions that withheld military aid to Ukraine “constitute unlawful impoundments in violation” of the landmark 1974 budget law.

House votes to end national emergency on southern border
Senate passed measure earlier this week, but Trump all but certain to veto it.

A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols the border wall in Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border in August. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House voted Friday to end President Donald Trump’s national emergency along the southern border, but without a sufficient enough margin to overcome an all-but-certain veto.

With 11 Republicans joining them, 224 Democrats (and independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan) voted 236-174 to terminate the emergency, which Trump declared Feb. 15. All of the “no” votes came from Republicans.

House, Senate appropriators talking despite impeachment calls
Senate appropriators have begun early talks with House counterparts on next year’s spending bills, despite an impeachment inquiry

Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., right, and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., prepare for a Senate Appropriations Committee markup on June 19, 2019. Senate appropriators have vowed to press on with next year's spending bills as a formal impeachment inquiry begins in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Impeachment inquiry? We’ve still got spending bills to pass.

That’s the attitude of top Senate appropriators, who have begun preliminary talks with their House counterparts about a possible path forward for next year’s spending bills, in advance of formal conference negotiations.

Border wall, other disputes sidetrack Senate spending work
Panel's markup is delayed; government funding lapses on Oct. 1

Sen. Richard Durbin wants to move forward on military spending, but is unsure if that will happen. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s appropriations process fell into disarray Tuesday after a scheduled markup was abruptly postponed in a dispute over policy riders, and a fight over the border wall threatened to hold up defense spending.

Democrats were also resisting the GOP majority’s proposed subcommittee allocations that are needed to draft the 12 fiscal 2020 spending bills. And some lawmakers said there was still no agreement between the House and Senate on the length of a stopgap funding measure that will be needed to avoid a government shutdown come next month, when the new fiscal year begins.

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.