Monday

Rep. Murtha Dead at 77


Fox News is reporting that Rep. Johns Murtha has died. at age 77. His death was apparently the result of complications associated with gall bladder surgery.

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, the first veteran of the Vietnam war to enter Congress and one of the House's most powerful lawmakers, died Monday afternoon at Virginia Hospital Center after complications from gallbladder surgery. Murtha was 77.

From Fox News:

"Congressman John P. Murtha (PA-12) passed away peacefully this afternoon at 1:18 p.m. at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va. At his bedside was his family," read a statement from his office.

A native of New Martinsville, W.Va., voters first elected Murtha to Congress in a 1974 special election that spelled impending doom for President Nixon and congressional Republicans. That fall, Democrats wrestled away 49 House seats from the GOP, reeling from the scourge of Watergate and a presidency in shambles.

Murtha rose to become the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which controls spending for the Pentagon. Chairmen of the appropriations subcommittee panels are viewed with such prestige on Capitol Hill that they're called "cardinals." That's a nod to Rome because of the eminence these lawmakers hold over spending for their federal fiefdom.
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