Murtha Survives Reprimand Vote


A bitter legislative quarrel in the House, played out in the parliamentary vocabulary of reprimands and motions to table, raged on yesterday as the Democrats pushed back a Republican attempt to officially chastise Rep. John Murtha, the combative Pennsylvanian whom Speaker Nancy Pelosi unsuccessfully backed for majority leader after the Democrats won control of the House in November.

As we reported here on May 11, the scuffle started with an early-morning effort by Republicans to kill a controversial pet project in Murtha's district: the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Here's a synopsis of the fight so far:

  • Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, attempts to strike a $23 million earmark for the center. The effort fails.
  • A week later, Rogers says, Murtha storms across the House floor and says to him: "I hope you don't have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bill, because they are gone and you will not get any earmarks now and forever." (Murtha chairs the powerful defense appropriations subcommittee.)
  • Rogers introduces a motion to reprimand Murtha for threatening legislative revenge.
  • The House tables the motion, effectively killing it, voting almost strictly along party lines.
  • No word yet on whether the conflict will boil over again when the House breaks for recess.