Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Murphy Resigns Lawmaker's Downfall Happened Quickly but Quietly on Capitol Hill

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Murphy Resigns Lawmaker's Downfall Happened Quickly but Quietly on Capitol Hill

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - It was quiet on Capitol Hill Thursday. Mention of Tim Murphy's name resulted in silence, an uncomfortable conversation or a careful statement.

Paul Ryan's spokeswoman? She wouldn't discuss details of the House speaker's meeting with the Republican congressman the day before. Mr. Murphy's GOP colleagues from Pennsylvania? They weren't budging much, even with Mr. Murphy's face inches behind them on the front pages of House chamber newspapers. Mr. Murphy's office staffers? Nothing much to say.

And then, it happened.

Just as the workday was winding down, a short statement from Mr. Ryan lit up the cell phones of staffers and lawmakers across the Hill: Mr. Murphy wasn't retiring, or waiting until the end of his term to give up his seat. Instead, he would resign effective Oct. 21, indicated by a letter he sent to the speaker that afternoon.

The short statement capped off a day of ominous ambiguity in Washington, fueled by a decision that was made behind closed doors less than 24 hours after Mr. Murphy announced he would not seek re-election.

There was little indication the news was coming. A handful of staffers worked through the day at Mr. Murphy's third-floor office at the Rayburn House Office Building, while the Upper St. Clair representative began a leave of absence to take "personal time" with his family. Capitol Hill had been abuzz earlier in the week about Mr. Murphy's political future after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on documents that indicated problems in his office - and text messages that suggest he urged a woman with whom he was having an extra-marital relationship to get an abortion.

The leave of absence kept Mr. Murphy away from the House's vote Thursday to authorize a $4.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018. Outside the chambers, Rep. Ryan Costello, one of Mr. Murphy's colleagues in the Pennsylvania Republican delegation, offered very little about his fellow congressman's plans to retire. "I wish him well in retirement," he said, adding that he thought Mr. Murphy had made the right decision. Rep. …

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