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Vote on Murtha Along Party Lines -- Mostly

As expected, the House voted largely on party lines dismissing a resolution that would have reprimanded Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) for allegedly threatening to deny funding for a Republican House member's district.

The final tally included 219 votes to table the resolution, effectively killing it, with 189 votes against Murtha.

Democrats largely rallied behind Murtha, a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), while Republicans remained furious that he still had not denied the allegation from Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) that Murtha threatened to deny Rogers any funds from the defense spending bill. Murtha is chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, and Rogers alleges Murtha made the threat after Rogers led an effort to strip $23 million from an intelligence bill two weeks ago that would have benefited a center in Murtha's district.

Rogers told reporters afterward that all he wanted was a public apology: "This matter would be going away," he said. Absent the apology he's considering filing a formal complaint with the Committee for Standards of Official Conduct, known unofficially as the ethics committee. "I haven't made up my mind," he said.

Because of the potential ethics case, eight of the 10 members on that evenly divided committee chose to vote "present", while Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), the chairwoman, simply didn't vote at all.

Ethics committee member
Mike Doyle
(D-Pa.) voted with Murtha to dismiss the Rogers complaint, prompting GOP staff to hint Doyle would have to recuse himself from any Murtha review. (However, Doyle is one of Murtha's closest allies and was probably already too conflicted to sit in judgment of his political patron, should such a case arise.)

The most revealing aspect of the final vote tally might well be those few members who crossed party lines, including those who voted "present". Three Republicans chose their personal relationship with Murtha over party affiliation, while five Democrats from rural districts voted against the anti-war leader.

REPUBLICANS:

* Walter Jones (N.C.): Voted present. Jones has been the most outspoken critic of the Iraq war, consistently voting with Democrats to set a withdrawal timeline and other measures that are often crafted with Murtha's help.
* Wayne Gilchrest (Md.): Voted present. Along with Jones, Gilchrest has been an avid supporter of withdrawal timelines for Iraq.
* Tim Murphy (Pa.): Only Republican to vote "yea" on tabling the motion against Murtha. Murphy represents Pennsylvania's 18th district, abutting Murtha's 12th district, and the two districts share several counties. A king at earmarking funds for his district, Murtha's earmarks sometimes benefit Murphy's district.

DEMOCRATS:

* Earl Blumenauer (N.D.): One of just two Democrats to vote "nay" against Murtha, signaling his belief that Murtha crossed a line and should have been reprimanded.
* Jim Cooper (Tenn.): The other Democrat to vote "nay", Cooper was an early supporter of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in his successful race to become majority leader against Murtha.
* Jim Matheson (Utah): Voted present.
* Heath Shuler (N.C.): Voted present, making Shuler the only freshmen Democrat to not vote "yea". He defeated a longtime incumbent, Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), who he accused allegations of ethical misdeeds.
* Vic Snyder (Ark.): Voted present. Like Cooper and Matheson, Snyder publicly supported Hoyer over Murtha for the leader's post.

By Paul Kane  |  May 23, 2007; 9:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Monica Goodling day on Capitol Hill

Comments

Dear Paul,
there's a little mistake in your article

Earl Blumenauer is the representative from Oregon's 3 rd discrict.

The North Dacota Democrat elected at large is Earl Pomeroy.

Blumenauer is a liberal democrat from Portland Oregon and is known for his bow ties.
He supported Steny Hoyer in his race for majority leader over Murtha, although he had supported Nancy Pelosi in 2001 democratic whip elections.

It's quite probable that Blumenauer doesn't like Murtha's ethics problems. He already indicated in a blog posting after the majority leader elections that:

"By experience, his voting record and advocacy for wide range of caucus priorities, including the environment and ethics reform, Steny Hoyer is the best choice for majority leader and won my vote."

Posted by: Johannes Waldschütz | May 23, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Dear Paul,
there's a little mistake in your article

Earl Blumenauer is the representative from Oregon's 3 rd discrict.

The North Dacota Democrat elected at large is Earl Pomeroy.

Blumenauer is a liberal democrat from Portland and is known for his bow ties.

He supported Steny Hoyer in his race for majority leader over Murtha, although he had supported Nancy Pelosi in 2001 democratic whip elections.

It's quite probable that Blumenauer doesn't like Murtha's ethics problems. He already indicated in a blog posting after the majority leader elections that:

"By experience, his voting record and advocacy for wide range of caucus priorities, including the environment and ethics reform, Steny Hoyer is the best choice for majority leader and won my vote."

Posted by: Johannes Waldschuetz | May 23, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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