The House Democratic caucus passed over the most senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, for ranking Democrat on the powerful panel.
Miss Kaptur, soon to be sworn in for her 16th term representing the 9th District of Ohio, lost to Rep. Nita Lowey (D., N.Y.).
The ranking Democrat on the committee speaks for the Democratic caucus on how federal funds are allocated in the budget.
Miss Kaptur, 66, and Ms. Lowey, 75, both spoke behind closed doors to the Democratic caucus' Policy and Steering Committee.
One issue for supporters of Ms. Lowey was that she was more unwavering in her support of abortion rights than Miss Kaptur, who supports Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling allowing abortion as a constitutional right, but opposes federal funding for abortion.
It was also believed that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who controls the policy and steering committee, favored Ms. Lowey, though she assured Miss Kaptur of her neutrality. In 2002, Miss Kaptur briefly challenged Ms. Pelosi for the post of Democratic leader.
Miss Kaptur was re-elected in November to represent the 9th Congressional District that stretches from Cleveland to Toledo.