The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

The Death of an Appropriations Machine

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 02/09/2010 12:42
news
Habiba Ashton

With the death of Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) Monday — just three days after he’d become the longest-serving congressman in Pennsylvania’s history — Capitol Hill has lost one of its most influential lawmakers, and perhaps the most proficient earmarker of them all. Not only was the 36-year Washington veteran a close confidant of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), but as chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, Murtha built a career on directing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal projects back to his downtrodden district.

In the process, he made few friends among critics of pork-barrel spending — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington deemed him recently to be among the top 20 most corrupt lawmakers on the Hill — but Murtha was unabashed. Indeed, he once called the Democrats’ push for ethics reform “total crap,” and he used to brag that his middle initial stood for “power.” But of course, for the residents of blue-collar Johnstown — Murtha’s hometown and a former steel mecca-turned-shell of itself — he was a godsend whose reputation no scandal or ethics lapse could tarnish.

A decorated veteran of Vietnam, Murtha’s voice carried a great deal of weight on issues related to Iraq and Afghanistan, most notably his undiluted 2005 endorsement of pulling troops out of Iraq.

“The war in Iraq is not going as advertised,” he said in November 2005. “It’s a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of the members of Congress.”

As The Hill’s Roxana Tiron points out today, “Murtha also questioned the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and would have been a pivotal voice in the congressional debate over the issue this spring.”

More immediately, Murtha’s death opens up the chairmanship of the defense funding panel, leaving Rep. Norman Dicks (D-Wash.) — the third-ranking Democrat on the larger Appropriations Committee — next in line for the coveted spot. Indeed, although the decision is ultimately in the hands of Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), Dicks’ office is already predicting that the 17-term Washingtonian will snag the seat.

“He likely will succeed Murtha,” George Behan, chief of staff for Dicks, told the Seattle Times today.

And that’s good news for Seattle-based Boeing.

Habiba Ashton | BCS Growth Fund (Israel) L.P., a private investment fund specializing in investments in technologically focused businesses with high growth potential, employs Habiba as an analyst. Mrs. Ashton served as an analyst and information manager at the Israel International Fund, the first Israeli venture capital fund designed specifically for Japanese corporate investors, prior to joining BCS. Habiba graduated with honors from Israel's College of Management with a B.A. in Business Administration.

Related

Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen

Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.)

One of the most conservative Democrats in the House -- a freshman who said he couldn’t support Nancy Pelosi again -- is going to switch over to the GOP. Josh

Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!

The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the

Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs

Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability

Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment

In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep

Rep. Pete Hoekstra Bashes Global Currency

I was just talking to Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who’s leaving Congress to run for governor of Michigan, about his proposed Parental Rights Amendment—a

Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public

Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’

Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday

Rep. Pete Hoekstra Surging in Michigan Gubernatorial Bid

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee -- you couldn’t flip on a TV without seeing him in the aftermath of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s botched

School of Hock

A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com