John Murtha

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John Murtha
U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District
From: February 5, 1974 - February 8, 2010
Predecessor John P. Saylor
Successor Mark Critz(D)
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Joyce Murtha
Religion Roman Catholic

John Patrick "Jack" Murtha, Jr., born June 17, 1932 - died February 8, 2010 (age 90), was a controversial United States Representative from Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. A Democrat, he gained national attention for his strong opposition to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Representative Murtha was a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Iraq War Views

Murtha was well known for his stance against the war in Iraq. Although he voted for the October 10, 2002 resolution that authorized the use of force against Iraq, he later changed his position and supported a premature withdrawal of U.S. troops based on a political timetable.[1] In November 2005 Murtha touched off a firestorm when he called for the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq, saying, "The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.” On Meet the Press in June 2006, Murtha said that the United States should redeploy troops from Iraq to Japan's southernmost prefecture, Okinawa.[2]

In November 2005 Murtha claimed that U.S. Marines had killed innocent Iraqi civilians in Haditha. "They killed innocent civilians in cold blood", Murtha said about the United States military. Sgt. Frank Wuterich filed a lawsuit against Murtha for character defamation during an ongoing investigation. Congressman Murtha has also publicly stated that "We [American troops] have become the enemy."

Abscam Scandal

Abscam was a major national scandal in 1980 that ultimately led to the conviction of a United States Senator, six members of the House of Representatives, the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, members of the Philadelphia City Council, and an inspector for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The investigation entailed FBI operatives posing as intermediaries for Saudi nationals hoping to bribe their way through the immigration process into the United States. Murtha met with these operatives and was videotaped, where he said "I'm not interested... at this point. [If] we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't" to $50,000 of cash. He was never indicted or charged.

Resolution reprimanding Murtha

On 21 May 2007 Congressman Mike Rogers (R-PA) offered a resolution reprimanding Murtha for threatening Rogers' earmarks. Murtha made the threat after Rogers offered a motion to recommit the Intelligence Authorization Act to remove one of Murtha's earmarks. They had an argument on the House floor where Murtha was seen as confrontational.[3]

Run for Majority Leader

After Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections for the first time in fourteen years, Representative Murtha made a run for House Majority Leader and was supported by incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Despite Murtha claiming that he had enough votes to win the leadership position, he was defeated by former Minority Whip Steny Hoyer by a margin of 149-86 within the caucus. He would go on to serve as the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.


  1. "Meet The Press" MSNBC 11 June 2006. Transcript accessed 25 December 2007.
  2. "Meet The Press" op cit.
  3. House Defeats Bid to Reprimand Murtha, Charles Babington, Associated Press, May 22, 2007.