Nita Lowey

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Nita Lowey
Nita Lowey.jpeg
U.S. House, New York, District 17
In office
January 3, 1989-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 25
PredecessorEliot Engel (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
Cost per vote$14.54 in 2012
First electedNovember 8, 1988
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$11,589,735
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
New York Assistant Secretary of State
Bachelor'sMount Holyoke College
BirthdayJuly 5, 1937
Place of birthNew York, New York
ProfessionCivil Servant
Net worth$34,290,511.50
Office website
Campaign website
Nita Melnikoff Lowey (b. February, 1947, in New York, NY) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives representing New York's 17th Congressional District. Lowey was first elected to the House in 1988 and is currently serving her thirteenth consecutive term, having won re-election on November 6, 2012. Before redistricting in 2012, Lowey had previously served the 18th District. Politico reports that redistricting has made Lowey's district less favorable for Democrats.[1]

Lowey is a 2014 Democratic and Working Families Party candidate seeking re-election to the U.S. House to represent the 17th Congressional District of New York. Lowey also filed to run with the Independence Party, but the New York Board of Elections invalidated her petitions.[2] She ran unopposed for the Democratic and Working Families nominations in the primary on June 24, 2014.[3]

Prior to her congressional career, Lowey served as New York Assistant Secretary of State from 1985-1987.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Lowey is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning she will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Lowey was born in New York, New York. She earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 1959.[4]


After earning her degree, Lowey served as assistant to the New York Secretary of State for Economic Development and Neighborhood Preservation, as Deputy Director of the New York State Division of Economic Opportunity from 1975-1985, and as New York Assistant Secretary of State from 1985-1987.[5]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Lowey serves on the following committees:[6]

  • Appropriations Committee Ranking member
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (Ranking member)


Lowey served on the following committees:[7]

  • Appropriations Committee
    • Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
    • Subcommittee on Homeland Security

Key votes

113th Congress


The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1%) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14% of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session.[8] For more information pertaining to Lowey's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[9]

National security


Yea3.png Lowey voted in support of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[10]

DHS Appropriations

Nay3.png Lowey voted in opposition of HR 2217 - the DHS Appropriations Act (2014) Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[10]

Keystone Pipeline Amendment

Yea3.png Lowey voted in favor of House Amendment 69, which would have amended HR 3 to "require that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, conduct a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certify that necessary protections have been put in place." The amendment failed on May 22, 2013, with a vote of 176 - 239 and was largely along party lines.[10]

CISPA (2013)

Nay3.png Lowey voted in opposition of HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill would allow federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities.[11] The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.[10]


Farm Bill

See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

Nay3.png Lowey voted against the Farm Bill on July 11, 2013. The bill passed in a 216-208 vote.[12] The bill passed included farm policy, but did not include food stamps.[13]

King Amendment

Lowey signed a letter sent to Collin Peterson in August 2013, asking him to keep Steve King's amendment out of the final Farm Bill.[14] The "Protect Interstate Commerce Act" amendment prevents states from applying their own laws on agricultural products to agricultural products from another state.[15]. King introduced the amendment in response to a law in California, requiring a larger size cage for egg-producing chickens. King represents Iowa, which is a large egg producer.

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Nay3.png On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[16] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[17] Lowey voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[18]

Yea3.png The shutdown finally ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[19] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Lowey voted for HR 2775.[20]


Morton Memos Prohibition

Nay3.png Lowey voted against House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States.[21] The vote largely followed party lines.[22]


Repealing Obamacare

Nay3.png Lowey voted against all attempts to repeal or delay the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[23]

Social issues


Nay3.png Lowey voted against HR 1797 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The resolution passed the House on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 228 - 196. The purpose of the bill is to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[24]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Lowey voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. She was 1 of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[25]


On The Issues Vote Match

Nita Lowey's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Lowey is a Populist-Leaning Liberal. Lowey received a score of 61 percent on social issues and 12 percent on economic issues.[26]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[27]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Favors
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Opposes
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Strongly Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Favors Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Strongly Favors
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Strongly Favors Expand the military Neutral
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Favors Stay out of Iran Opposes
Privatize Social Security Opposes Never legalize marijuana Opposes
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[26]

Campaign themes


Lowey listed her campaign themes on her website:[28]

  • Environmental Protection & Energy Independence
  • Security & Public Safety
  • Educational Opportunity
  • Defense & International Affairs
  • Economic Growth & Fiscal Responsibility
  • Quality, Affordable Healthcare



See also: New York's 17th Congressional District elections, 2014

Lowey is running in the 2014 election for the U.S. House to represent New York's 17th District. Lowey ran unopposed for the Democratic and Working Families nominations in the primary on June 24, 2014. She attempted to run for the Independence Party nomination as well, but her petitions with the New York Board of Elections were invalidated. The general election takes place November 4, 2014.


See also: New York's 17th Congressional District elections, 2012

Lowey won re-election in 2012. Because of New York's redistricting, Lowey ran in the newly drawn 17th District. Politico reports that the new district is less supportive of Lowey.[1]

Lowey ran on the Democratic and Working Families tickets.[29] She was unopposed in the primaries and defeated Joe Carvin (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[30][31]

U.S. House, New York District 17 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngNita Lowey Incumbent 57.6% 171,417
     Republican Joe Carvin 30.9% 91,899
     Independent Francis Morganthaler 0.9% 2,771
     N/A Blank/Void/Scattering 10.5% 31,292
Total Votes 297,379
Source: New York State Board of Elections "U.S. House of Representatives Results"

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Lowey is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Lowey raised a total of $11,589,735 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 23, 2013.[44]

Nita Lowey's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 17) Won $2,165,669
2010 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 18) Won $2,062,770
2008 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 18) Won $1,394,481
2006 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 18) Won $1,344,129
2004 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 18) Won $1,636,465
2002 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 18) Won $1,227,782
2000 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 18) Won $1,758,439
Grand Total Raised $11,589,735


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Lowey’s reports.[45]

Nita Lowey (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[46]April 15, 2013$417,573.87$382,454.15$(474,142.01)$325,886.01
July Quarterly[47]July 15, 2013$325,886.01$142,689.76$(103,382.88)$365,192.89
October Quarterly[48]October 15, 2013$365,192.89$187,330.86$(104,462.94)$448,060.81
Year-End Quarterly[49]December 31, 2013$448,060$209,406$(92,662)$556,355
April Quarterly[50]April 15, 2014$556,355.52$298,172.95$(146,011.68)$708,516.79
Running totals

Individual breakdown


Breakdown of the source of Lowey's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Lowey won election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Lowey's campaign committee raised a total of $2,165,669 and spent $2,491,789.[51]

Cost per vote

Lowey spent $14.54 per vote received in 2012.


Breakdown of the source of Lowey's campaign funds before the 2010 election.
Lowey was re-elected to the U.S. House for a twelfth term in 2010. Her campaign committee raised a total of $2,062,770 and spent $2,033,256.[52]
U.S. House, New York District 18, 2010 - Nita Lowey Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $2,062,770
Total Spent $2,033,256
Total Raised by General Election Opponent $29,048
Total Spent by General Election Opponent $32,016
Top contributors to Nita Lowey's campaign committee
JPMorgan Chase & Co$25,300
Weiler Arnow Management$18,800
Chartwell Hotels$14,000
Goldman Sachs$11,800
Monroe College$10,900
Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee
Securities & Investment$246,700
Lawyers/Law Firms$179,460
Real Estate$178,300

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Lowey's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $12,816,023 and $55,765,000. That averages to $34,290,511.50, which is higher than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2012 of $5,700,168.36. Lowey ranked as the 20th most wealthy representative in 2012.[53] Between 2004 and 2012, Lowey's calculated net worth[54] decreased by an average of 1 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[55]

Nita Lowey Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:-7%
Average annual growth:-1%[56]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[57]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Lowey is a "rank-and-file Democrat," as of June 20, 2013.[58]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[59]

Lowey most often votes with:

Lowey least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Lowey missed 465 of 15,369 roll call votes from January 1989 to April 2013, which is 3.0% of votes during that period. This is worse than the median of 2.2% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving.[60]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Lowey paid his congressional staff a total of $870,292 in 2011. Overall, New York ranked 28th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[61]

Staff bonuses

According to an analysis by CNN, Lowey was one of nearly 25 percent of House members who gave their staff bonuses in 2012. Lowey's staff was given an apparent $6,000.00 in bonus money.[62]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Lowey tied with two other members of the U.S. House of Representatives, ranking 115th in the liberal rankings among members of the U.S. House.[63]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Lowey tied with one other member of the U.S. House of Representatives, ranking 118th in the liberal rankings among members of the U.S. House.[64]

Voting with party

June 2013

Lowey voted with the Democratic Party 96.5 percent of the time, which ranked 9th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June, 2013.[65]


Nita and Stephen Lowey have been married for more than 45 years and have three grown children and eight grandchildren.[66]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Eliot Engel
U.S. House of Representatives - New York District 17
Succeeded by
Preceded by
José Serrano
U.S. House of Representatives - New York District 18
Succeeded by
Sean Maloney
Preceded by
Joseph J. DioGuardi
U.S. House of Representatives - New York District 20
Succeeded by
Benjamin A. Gilman
Preceded by
New York Assistant Secretary of State
Succeeded by