Birthdate: Nov. 21, 1956
Birth Place: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Residence: Philadelphia, PA
First Elected: 1994
District: District 2
Chaka Fattah was born in Philadelphia, where he now resides. He earned a master's degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania and studied at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Fattah was elected to the state House in 1983 at the age of 25, serving two terms before winning election to the state Senate in 1988.
He made an earlier unsuccessful bid for city commissioner and lost a bid for Congress in 1991.
He won election to the U.S. House in 1994. He kept the seat in 2007 while running for mayor of Philadelphia in a five-way primary, in which he fared poorly.
Fattah and his wife, Philadelphia TV reporter Renee Chenault-Fattah, have four children.
Chaka Fattah began his career as a public policymaker in Philadelphia while working as a special assistant to the city's managing director. He has since targeted his efforts as an elected official toward minorities and the disadvantaged.
He proposed in 2010 a penny-per-dollar fee on all transactions in the U.S. economy in an effort to eliminate the national debt. He also supported repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay service members.
Fattah introduced in 2009 the American Opportunity Tax Credit Act, which provides $2,500 tax credits to help 3.7 million students meet their college expenses. He joined a number of Pennsylvania Democrats in voting for the 2008 $700 billion bailout package for the nation's financial industry.
Fattah is architect of 1998's Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs for low-income students pursuing a college education. More than $3 billion in federal funds have been distributed to some 12 million students nationwide as a result of the measure.
He has long lobbied for the nation's cities, which he says need more federal aid to combat crime, drug abuse and unemployment. He was named chairman of the Congressional Urban Caucus in January 2008.
Fattah founded a program in 2003 called College Opportunity Resources for Education, which has awarded $26 million in scholarships to Philadelphia high school students for first-year college costs. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has secured at least $3 million in earmarks for the organization.
In 2007, he ran for mayor of Philadelphia in a five-way primary, in which he fared poorly.
Fattah endorsed in December 2007 then-Sen. Barack Obama's bid for the presidency, citing Obama's commitment to education, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and his focus on the economy.
Fattah in December 2008 joined other members of Congress in calling for a review of two possible friendly fire deaths in Iraq in 2006, one of which involved a 31-year-old soldier from Philadelphia.
In 2012, federal authorities began investigating a consulting firm run by Fattah's son, Chaka Fattah Jr. The congressman denies any involvement in the matter.
Source: Associated Press