Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Bucks County, will take over the vacant seat on the House Appropriations Committee left by the death of Rep. John P. Murtha, Politico reports today. Keeping the seat in Pennsylvania -- one of two on the committee, the other held by Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Philadelphia -- is a big deal for bringing home pork, as even folks down east will help their delegation mates in other parts of the state. Now, Murphy will not wield anywhere close to the clout of Murtha, but every bit helps.
The selection is a bit of a surprise, given the internal kerfluffle that developed between Reps. Chris Carney, D-Scranton, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Luzerne, over the seat after Kanjorski recommended Murphy over Carney as Pennsylvania's submission to the Democratic Steering Committee. Just last week, Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, told me he thought the public squabbling was hurting Murphy's chances to get the seat -- not to mention Pennsylvania's region already held a disproportionate number of approps seats.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who runs the Steering Committee, looked past that and made the call to keep her old friend's seat in Pennsylvania hands -- even if it is at the bottom of the ladder now.