John Patrick “Jack” Murtha, Jr. (pronounced /ˈmɜrθə/; June 17, 1932 – February 8, 2010) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Murtha, a Democrat, had represented Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 1974. The district presently stretches southwest from Johnstown (the largest city in the district and Murtha’s hometown).
A former Marine Corps officer, Murtha was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. A member of the Pennsylvania House from 1969 to 1974, in 1974 he narrowly won the special election held to choose the successor to the incumbent, who died in office. In the first decade of the 21st century, Murtha has been best known for his calls for a withdrawal of American forces in Iraq.
In 1980, Murtha was one of several Congressmen ensnared in the Abscam scandal growing out of an FBI investigation into corruption in Congress. In 2006, after the Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections he made a failed bid to be elected House Majority Leader for the 110th Congress (2007–2009) with the open support of the new House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. He lost to Steny Hoyer of Maryland. After this defeat, Murtha became chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. He had previously chaired this subcommittee from 1989 to 1995 and served as its ranking Democrat from 1995 to 2007.