Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida’s 23rd Congressional District has lost out on her bid to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee after a vote by the House Democratic Caucus.
That prestigious position will go to Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. The 77-year-old veteran lawmaker has represented Connecticut in the House for nearly three decades.
DeLauro defeated Wasserman Schultz 148-79 in a vote held by their Democratic colleagues. Democrats lost seats in the House in November, but they retained their House majority, giving them the power to lead committees for the next two years.
“We ran hard as underdogs and fell short this time to our new Chairwoman, Rosa DeLauro, whom I heartily congratulate,” Wasserman Schultz said in a Thursday statement after the vote.
“Throughout my whole career, I have heard, ‘now is not your turn,’ but I pushed on anyway — because I knew we needed to give voice to real reform — and I’m glad we did this time. We listened and elevated critical issues — a more accessible process and an Appropriations Committee committed to confronting systemic racism and climate change — as the top priorities in this race.”
Wasserman Schultz announced her bid for Appropriations chair in November 2019. Outgoing Chair Nita Lowey of New York chose not to run for reelection this past cycle, leaving the position vacant.
Wasserman Schultz has spent 11 years on the Appropriations Committee, earning the distinction as the first woman to chair the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. She’s also the former head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Wasserman Schultz continued to push her bid throughout this year. In February, she highlighted her efforts to help raise more than $1 million for Democratic House candidates via fundraisers, direct contributions and dues paid to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The CD 23 incumbent was first elected to the House in 2004. She’ll remain on the Appropriations Committee in the new Congress.
“We have a lot of work to do for the American people, and I will still press for a more accessible Appropriations Committee that will yield major progress in making their lives better,” Wasserman Schultz added. “Going forward, I will work with our new chairwoman, and all of my colleagues, to make the Committee stronger and the process more inclusive.”
After DeLauro secured the position Thursday, outgoing Rep. Lowey took to Twitter to congratulate her.
“For three decades, Rosa has been my legislative partner and, more importantly, one of my closest friends,” Lowey wrote on Twitter. She added that the committee would be “in good hands with Rosa at the helm.”