John Murtha passes

 Posted by at 15:09  Politics
Feb 082010

Congressman Murtha Dies

John Murtha
John Murtha

Representative John P. Murtha, the longtime Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, has died at age 77.

His aides released a statement saying that he died shortly after 1 p.m. today at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Mr. Murtha had been placed in intensive care last week after complications from gallbladder surgery, his staff said then.

Mr. Murtha, who had an extremely close relationship with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on defense…

A former Marine, Mr. Murtha, his office noted, was the first Vietnam War combat Veteran elected to Congress. Throughout his years, Mr. Murtha paid particular attention to defense spending and to the Pentagon and the military.

When he called for bringing the troops home from Iraq in 2005, after having voted for the war, his proposal stunned many in Congress and added a powerful voice to the growing forces demanding immediate drawdowns and or deadlines.

Just this past Saturday, Mr. Murtha became Pennsylvania’s longest serving Member of Congress. He represented the 12th Congressional District, an area outside Pittsburgh that included the Johnstown region — where he had grown up, and that had been serious steel and coal country in the southwestern part of the state.

For his service in Vietnam, Mr. Murtha received a Bronze star and two Purple Hearts.

Our condolences to his friends and family.