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The death of Rep. John Murtha [D, PA-12] means not only an open House seat in Pennsylvania, but also an open chairmanship in one of the most significant House subcommittees. Murtha was the chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee, which oversees Pentagon spending. Rep. Norm Dicks [D, WA-6], the new ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, is expected to be chosen by the House Democratic Caucus to take Murtha’s chairmanship. A lot of attention has been given to Murtha’s anti-war stance,...

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