In these times when it is fashionable to be ostensibly austere, the Senate omnibus spending bill has drawn considerable criticism for being larded up with pork projects -- some of which is emanating from lawmakers who put the earmarks there themselves. And in this reporter's view, it's only fitting that Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Johnstown, was able to get an earmark into the bill from beyond the grave.
The John P. Murtha Foundation, initiated after the 18-term appropriator's Feb. 8 death, is in line to get a $10 million earmark for the Murtha Center for Public Service at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. You may recall that the state also chipped in $10 million for the Murtha Center, which was proposed as a 25,000-square-foot place to keep Murtha's old papers with museum, classroom, office and meeting space. The Murtha museum, foundation member and former Murtha aide Matt Mazonkey tells us, is less than 10 percent of the total space.
The earmark's sponsors, according to Fox News with an h/t to PoliticsPA, are Rep. Mark Critz (the former district director for Murtha who now holds his seat), Philly Reps. Chaka Fattah and Robert Brady, longtime fellow defense appropriator Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a neighbor and regular in Murtha Corner.