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Breaking: John Murtha Has Died

After being hospitalized due to complications associated with a surgery to remove his gall bladder, Representative John Murtha has died at age 77. The democrat from Johnstown, Pennsylvania was a vocal critic of George W. Bush during the Iraq War and became a somewhat seminal figure in the debate surrounding US Military and the Bush Doctrine.

Martin Weil and Carol D. Leonnig report for the Washington Post:

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), 77, a Vietnam veteran who staunchly supported military spending and became a master of pork-barrel politics, died today at Virginia Hospital Center. The 19-term lawmaker died from complications of gallbladder surgery.

Elected to Congress in 1974 from a southwestern Pennsylvania district that has been economically devastated by the decline of America’s coal-mining and steel industries, the gruff and jowly Rep. Murtha was beloved by his constituents for tapping billions of dollars in federal funds to seed new industries there.

He was revered among Democrats — and even some Republicans — for his skill in using the power of the federal purse to make kings and deals. A right-hand man of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he was considered one of the most influential lawmakers on Capitol Hill and credited with her ascension.

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