Government Spending

Murtha's Faux Pas

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The House is expected to vote today on a proposal to reprimand Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), head of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees military spending, for threatening the earmarks of a Republican congressman who threatened his earmarks. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) says Murtha, furious at Rogers' unsuccessful attempt to strike $23 million in funding for the National Drug Intelligence Center, a boondoggle in Murtha's district, last week announced on the House floor, "You will not get any earmarks now and forever." A.P., which says Murtha "did not dispute" Rogers's account, explains that "House rules prohibit lawmakers from placing conditions on earmarks or targeted tax benefits that are based on another member's votes." In an interview taped on Friday and aired on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she wasn't sure exactly what happened between Murtha and Rogers but defended Murtha anyway, saying he has "an excellent reputation in the Congress on both sides of the aisle." Isn't that how logrolling works?

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  1. “House rules prohibit lawmakers from placing conditions on earmarks or targeted tax benefits that are based on another member’s votes.”

    House rules passed by the Democrats in January. There was no rule against this before then.

    Thank you, Democrats, for finally making this illegal. We all saw what happened to the appropriations process under the former leadership, for whom this practice was SOP.

  2. Well then Joe, since it is the Dems rule and admittedly not a bad one, then I assume you support reprimanding Murtha.

  3. I don’t know enough about the fats, John.

    If they are as charged, they should make an example of him.

    I remember how DeLay held open the vote on the Medicare Part D bill so his goons could threaten members with retaliation, and that dirty businesses needs to be ended.

  4. Mmmmm, fats.

    Murtha is the House’s version of Robert Byrd (without the KKK membership, I guess). As far as I could tell, the entire economy of his district is based on what he plunders from DC. He’s like a bloated, evil Robin Hood.

  5. Murtha is slimy, unless he is criticizing Bush, in which case he is the left’s hero.

  6. I think joe has teed this up nicely as a test case.

    We have the Dems passing a rule on earmarks.

    We have a prominent Dem violating that rule (he hasn’t even denied that he violated it).

    Can we use the Dem treatment of Murtha here as a test case of whether they are serious at all about even the minimalist reform measures they have already taken?

  7. I’ve been waiting for an H&R post with the title of “Stuffing Murtha’s Muffin”

  8. He’s a bad Murtha. . . .

  9. House rules prohibit lawmakers from placing conditions on earmarks or targeted tax benefits that are based on another member’s votes.

    Ha ha ha ha. Why don’t they just make a rule prohibiting politicians from using the power of their office for political ends. Or better yet, there should be a rule prohibiting members from doing anything bad, unless they have a really good reason.

  10. Murtha. oh Murtha. I’d like some more hot cocoa with the little marshmellows in i…

    Gotta go. Final Jeopardy’s on!

  11. The idea that there has ever been a time when Democrats in Congress were any more ethical than Republicans there is hilarious.

  12. TRIAL BY STONE!

  13. RC,

    “Can we use the Dem treatment of Murtha here as a test case of whether they are serious at all about even the minimalist reform measures they have already taken?”

    It might be worth waiting until the facts come out.

    I know, I know, in Republican-ese this means I’m “backing down.”

  14. “House rules prohibit lawmakers from placing conditions on earmarks or targeted tax benefits that are based on another member’s votes.”

    OK. Has Murtha placed conditions on earmarks or targetted tax benefits?

    Which ones?

    Or is this like the kid yelling, “I’m going to kill you!” in “12 Angry Men?”

  15. Interesting highlights from the linked politico.com post for those to lazy to click:

    Rogers offered his resolution Monday, alleging that Murtha approached him on the House floor last Thursday to yell at him for raising a motion to strip $23 million from legislation that the Pennsylvania Democrat requested to prevent the administration from shuttering an intelligence gathering facility in his district.

    During the vote, Murtha sat in a darkened corner of the House floor, laughing with colleagues who surrounded him during the vote. As the clock wound down, other Democrats him to congratulate the senior member of the Appropriations Committee who oversees a massive defense spending bill every year.

    Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, whose Pittsburgh-area district abuts Murtha’s, was the lone GOP lawmaker to vote with Democrats to table the measure.

    I’m hopeful there is CSPAN video of this, and will post a link if one becomes available.

  16. RC,

    “Can we use the Dem treatment of Murtha here as a test case of whether they are serious at all about even the minimalist reform measures they have already taken?”

    Wouldn’t the actual appropriations bills, and how they are written, be the appropriate test cases?

  17. Aside from the agreement by both parties to the incident as to what happened, I’m not sure which other facts joe is waiting for. Maybe just for the media cycle to move on so we all forget?

  18. my wife lived in Murthas district most of her life, In Johnstown, PA. He’s just like Byrd is in WV – if it dont come from DC, they dont get it. He’s the boss p there, and NO democrat in his district dares challenge him in any way. His corruption stories among the local residents are legends.

  19. House rules prohibit lawmakers from placing conditions on earmarks or targeted tax benefits that are based on another member’s votes.

    If that’s not permitted, then what are these people there for? What is “politics” if not compromising on votes? You vote for my bill and I’ll vote for yours is politics. The converse is no less politics – you don’t vote for my bill and I won’t vote for yours. How could that be improper? Yeah in a perfect world all votes would come down based solely on the merit of the idea and the benefit it would convey to America. But such a world is so unreal and fanciful I don’t even imagine it when I masturbate.

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