Johnstown, Pennsylvania. After meeting with western Pennsylvania labor leaders on June 29, Representative John Murtha agreed to sign on as a co-sponsor of HR 676, national single payer health care legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). Eighty-five House members, in addition to Conyers, now have their names on HR 676.
Murtha, who has represented Pennsylvania’s 12th CD since 1974, is the eighth most senior member of the House of Representatives, and chairs the Defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
Those who met with Murtha came from the Greater Westmoreland County Labor Council in Greensburg and the Johnstown Regional Central Labor Council. The group included Ed Grystar, Harriet Ellenberger and Rosemary Trump, all Executive Board members of the Westmoreland Council, and Terry Havener of the Johnstown Council. Also in the delegation was Father Bernard Survil, a Catholic priest active in labor affairs.
Ed Grystar said, after learning that Murtha has signed on as a co-sponsor, “The fact that Murtha, from a relatively conservative middle of the road district, signed on as a co-sponsor signifies that the grass roots movement for single payer is growing and opportunities exist to get others from similar districts to sign on.”
In addition to Murtha, Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) also signed on to HR 676 on July 9. Weiner is a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee which is one of three committees writing the House bill.