Powerful Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York to retire

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Nita Lowey, the first woman to lead the powerful House Appropriations Committee and a 31-year veteran of Congress, announced Thursday that she will retire at the end of next year.

The 82 year-old New York Democrat tweeted that it’s been a “deep honor and privilege to serve my community and my country.”

Lowey is a longtime ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and is one of Capitol Hill’s old-school dealmakers. She combines a grandmotherly demeanor with decades of hands-on experience, especially in the annual foreign aid bill, where Lowey has fought for money to combat AIDS, fund women’s health and education, deliver economic aid to developing nations and been a reliable ally of Israel.

“Frankly to have a job that I love so very much made this a very difficult choice,” Lowey said in an interview. “But I just felt it was time.”

She rose to…

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