WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) voted Tuesday to equip the National Park Service (NPS) to better promote and protect our national parks for the next century by providing NPS with additional management tools and authorities.
“The National Park Service is America’s best idea, and it isn’t finished yet. The National Park Service Centennial Act will help protect our national parks for another 100 years,” said Fitzpatrick
The National Park Service Centennial Act [H.R. 4680] is designed to reduce the deferred maintenance backlog, expand philanthropic opportunity, strengthen NPS foundation leadership, promote volunteerism, preserve history and remove employment barriers to improve stewardship of our national parks.
The bill expands philanthropic opportunity:
-Establishes a Centennial Challenge Fund, requiring a 1:1 federal-to-private match to fund signature park projects and provides new revenue generated through the act.
-Establishes a Second Century Endowment at the National Park Foundation that will grow over time through private donations.
-Authorizes $5 million in annual appropriations to the National Park Foundation.
The bill strengthens NPS Foundation Leadership:
-Makes the Secretary of the Interior and the NPS Director ex-officio members of the National Park Foundation Board to ensure leadership continuity.
The bill promotes volunteerism:
-Increases the Volunteers in the Parks authorization ceiling from $7 million to $9 million to accommodate the funding needed to support the growing program.
The bill preserves history:
-Reauthorizes the Historic Preservation Fund through 2023
The bill removes employment barriers:
-Raises the age limit for participation in the Public Land Corps from 25 to 30
-Changes the non-competitive hiring status for former Public Land Corps members from 120 days after the member’s service is completed to a period of up to two years.
On Aug. 25, 2016, the National Park Service marked its 100th anniversary. The Service is responsible for managing over 400 units across more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories. As the NPS begins its next century of stewardship, the agency faces significant challenges, chief among them being the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog. Provisions in the bill will help reduce the deferred maintenance backlog by leveraging private donations.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today voted against the 21st Century Cures Act, citing the bill’s failure to provide enough medical device protections for patients.
“I agree with many measures in this bill. The 21st Century Cures Act will help accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for patients. It provides funding for cancer research at the NIH, grants money to states to fight opioid abuse, helps individuals and families in mental health crisis and improves the FDA’s review of life-saving drugs for patients,” said Fitzpatrick.
“However, I voted against the bill because it fails to protect patients against dangerous medical devices. For two years, I’ve sought medical device reform in Congress to raise awareness and advance legislation that protected patients and altered FDA processes and procedures to allow for maximum innovation and safety,” said Fitzpatrick.
“Congress ignored the victims affected by faulty, dangerous medical devices and what is more disappointing - we were denied a hearing.”
Fitzpatrick made a final and unsuccessful effort to offer an amendment to the 21st Century Cures Act: the Medical Device Guardians Act and Ariel Grace’s Law, citing the effect both bills would have on patients and physicians.
The congressman noted the Medical Device Guardians Act (MDGA) codifies an existing mandate of the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics, which recognizes that physicians are best equipped to identify and report unsafe medical devices. Additionally, the bill adds physician reports to the list of groups, such as hospitals, already protected from having their reports to the FDA used against them in a civil case.
The FDA’s latest report highlights the lack of consistent reporting guidance and provides a proof of concept for the MDGA. Currently, the FDA relies on hospitals and industry to identify new safety problems with devices and report them to federal regulators. However, the FDA report from last month claims that some medical centers were either late in identifying potential safety flaws, or failed to report adverse events at all. Furthermore, the FDA acknowledges that these problems are widespread.
The MDGA would ensure that the FDA has access to immediate and high fidelity data on adverse events from individual physicians and practitioners.
And Ariel Grace’s Law would ensure that medical device manufacturers are incentivized to maintain the safest, most effective products for patients. This law would remove the blanket liability protections given to medical devices approved under the FDA’s Premarket Approval (PMA). The PMA granted by the FDA completely shields the manufacturer of the device from liability should the device cause severe patient harm or even death.
The vast majority of medical devices come to market via an expedited approval process known as 510(k), which are subject to liability should they harm or kill patients. Like any faulty product, whether it’s a faulty airbag, a dangerous toy, or a medical device, if someone is hurt they should have access to appropriate remedies.
Ariel Grace was one of the unborn children killed by the Essure device, a permanent sterilization device for women. Tens of thousands of women suffered debilitating injuries and complications because of this device, Fitzpatrick said.
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Langhorne, PA —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) issued a statement on the political climate following last Tuesday’s general election.
I strongly condemn incidents of violence, racial harassment, and targeted aggression occurring around the nation and in our community.
We must valiantly guard our cherished values promised in the Declaration and defended by generations of brave Americans. Throughout our history, we have strived to attain rights and privileges for a free and prosperous nation, that we all are created equal and that we all are endowed with inalienable rights. If we choose to deny these rights, we will not move forward, but we will move back to a time of less equality and less protection of the individual..
We can have the most effect in our communities; we must stand up for each other and support each other in the face of violence and aggression. As President Obama remarked in 2012, “we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”
As your federal representative from the area founded on the values of tolerance and fairness by William Penn and the Quakers, I remain staunchly committed to defending the dignity and rights of every American citizen. Dignity is not extended to a privileged few; rather, dignity is right for all.
Langhorne, PA —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today issued a statement following the Food and Drug Administration’s final guidance and nonbinding recommendations on Essure, a medical device for women.
The final guidance recommends all devices like Bayer’s Essure to include a labeled boxed warning and patient decision checklist to inform women and physicians about potential risks and complications with this type of device.
The latest recommendations from the FDA do not go far enough. A boxed warning and patient checklist highlight the severe risks of Essure—but they’re not legally enforceable requirements. Tens of thousands of women have been harmed by this unsafe medical device, including hundreds of fetal deaths.
A year ago, I introduced the E-Free Act to revoke FDA approval of Essure and prevent government agencies from purchasing this device considered to be unsafe. Since then, hundreds of women affected by Essure have shared their stories with my office. And I believe now, as I believed then, if the FDA will not act to protect these women, then Congress must act now.”
The full report containing the patient decision checklist example can be found here.
Fitzpatrick has been the leading voice in Congress calling for the removal of Essure from the market and introduced the E-Free Act in November 2015. He also has introduced the Medical Device Guardians Act and Ariel Grace’s law which would update the reporting structure for unsafe medical devices and ensure medical device manufactures are incentivized to maintain the safest products for all patients.
Last week, the Obama Administration reported that healthcare premiums for the benchmark plan under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will increase by 25-percent next year. That’s three times higher than last year. And about one-in-five exchange customers will have access to only one insurer, reducing their choice and forcing families into precarious financial situations. The Affordable Care Act has decreased insurer competition and limited consumer choice.
Remember, President Obama claimed “this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.”
This broken promise comes as no surprise to the American public.
An August 2016 Rasmussen Reports survey found that 59 percent of likely American voters thought healthcare cost would go up under the new law. Only 9 percent expected costs to decrease—that’s the lowest finding since the law was passed in March 2010. As Americans learn more about the law, their expectations continue to decline.
Six years ago, we were warned by experts that the imbalance between sick people and healthy people covered under Obamacare would cause the program to quickly become insolvent. Last month, I wrote about large insurance companies pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges. The system under Obamacare began to bankrupt these companies, so they pulled out of the public marketplace.
Remember, President Obama stated “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits—either now or in the future.”
Yet, House Democrats want to double down on this system and move to a public-option with the intention of eventually moving to a Medicare-for-All single-payer system. In order to make Obamacare work, they want to increase and expand subsidies. They want to pour tax money into a failed government-attempt to take over healthcare. This is their only option—their only way forward to save a program that was structurally flawed from the very beginning.
Pumping tax money into an unsustainable system is not the way. House Republicans have a better way. Speaker Ryan’s plan maintains the protections provided under the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are prepared to replace Obamacare with real, patient-centered solutions that protect families and their budgets. Our plan also makes it easier to take insurance from job to job. And for those without access to employer coverage, Medicare, or Medicaid, we offer a refundable tax credit to help buy health insurance in the individual market. The credit would be age-adjusted, so it grows as you get older.
We will expand health savings accounts so you can choose the care that’s best for you and your budget. By allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines, similar to auto insurance, we take a step towards making insurance more competitive and more broadly available.
We will give small businesses more leverage to negotiate better rates. Our plan allows for small businesses and individuals to band together through new pooling mechanisms to increasing purchasing power to attain lower rates. We want to shape a healthcare system that allows employers to reward employees for making healthy choices—that why we support wellness programs.
Speaker Ryan’s plan maintains the ACA protections, including protections for families with young people, by allowing unemployed young people to remain on their parent’s plan up to the age of 26.
The Affordable Care Act also protects patients with pre-existing conditions so that regardless of their health status they can never be denied coverage. It also offers a set of preventative services through network providers for patients, especially for women and children. Among preventative services are alcohol and drug assessments for adolescents, breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment for women, and immunizations for adults.
While the protections and services from the Affordable Care Act have benefited many in our district, the underlying structure of the ACA faces severe sustainability problems. The premise behind the ACA assumed younger, healthier people would pay into the system to help older, sicker people. This thinking led many to wrongly state that Obamacare would not cost additional money. The law failed to take into account the behavior of young people, who opted out of Obamacare. As a result, the risk pool has more sick people requiring health service than healthy people to sustain the cost.
There is a better plan on the table that will help lower premiums, while putting you and your doctor at the center of care. In a nation that’s as large and diverse as ours, it does not make sense for a federal bureaucracy to dictate our healthcare options. If you like your healthcare plan, you should be able to keep your healthcare plan, period.Read More
Langhorne, PA —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today issued the following statement on the Defense Department’s decision to halt repayment of bonuses for military service:
I commend the Defense Department for respecting the service and sacrifice of our veterans. Our military service members should not have to bear the cost of an administrative mistake. Our soldiers accepted incentives during the height of the Iraq War, when the Defense Department struggled to maintain appropriate troop levels. We have a duty to pay our veterans for their service—they should not be responsible for the federal government’s mismanagement
The House has taken steps to prevent this type of oversight in the future. I applaud Defense Secretary Carter’s commitment to rapidly resolve these cases to ensure a fair and equitable treatment of our veterans. The Congress will finish its work to protect service members from lifelong liability for administrative errors.
The House passed Section 642 of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act on May 18. This provision establishes a statute of limitations on the military’s ability to recover future overpayments and would scrutinize the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s management of existing cases of service member debt. Section 642 is an important step toward establishing a common standard for correcting accounting errors that apply equally to both the Defense Department and the individual service member.
Ten years after enticing soldiers of the California National Guard, Pentagon officials are demanding thousands of those soldiers to pay back bonuses improperly issued by the California Guard in order to meet enlistment goals.
Langhorne, PA —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today responded to claims that the U.S. Airforce maintained private concerns and studies on the toxicity of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), dating back decades.
These compounds have been cited as affecting the drinking water in Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington, Bucks County from the surrounding former military installations.
I find it alarming that any Air Force base would ignore reports indicating serious health risks posed to personnel and civilians, for decades. The Air National Guard in Horsham is a community-based organization; many personnel are lifelong area residents. While the content of the toxicological studies have not been released, I will join my colleagues in seeking a full congressional review of the military investigation into the health effects of PFCs.
My frustration mounts as the EPA continues to classify PFCs as unregulated contaminates with only provisional health advisories, despite now learning that research studies have existed for nearly 40 years. I renew my call for the Center for Disease Control to immediately begin a long-term study on the impact of PFOS and PFOA. I will continue to seek funding for such a study when the House resumes session in November.
The allegations, uncovered by The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colorado, suggest that the Air Force ignored warnings from its own research, which showed harm to animals exposed to an unidentified perfluorinated compound.
Langhorne, PA —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today issued a statement following confirmation by the Obama Administration that healthcare premiums are set to skyrocket by double digits next year under the Affordable Care Act:
As predicted six years ago, we continue to see limited choice and increased premiums under Obamacare. Our local papers and media outlets are covering the report released by the Obama Administration that healthcare premiums will rise by an average 25 percent next year— three times higher than last year’s increase. About one-in-five consumers will only have one insurer choice, further reducing choice and competition. Clearly, the Affordable Care Act is making healthcare unaffordable for too many families and higher premiums force the federal government to spend more money providing subsidies, driving up our debt.
We need a better way: there is a better way. The Speaker Ryan’s plan protects patients with pre-existing conditions—regardless of their health status they can never be denied coverage. The plan continues to protect our young people, allowing dependents up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ plan. We are prepared to replace Obamacare with real, patient-centered solutions that protect families and their budgets. Our plan also makes it easier to take insurance from job to job, expands health savings accounts and allows health insurance to be sold across state line, similar to auto insurance. We will give small businesses more leverage to negotiate better rates. All of this will help lower premiums, while putting you and your doctor at the center of care.
To learn more about our health care plan visit www.better.gop.
“When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property,” stated Thomas Jefferson. As a matter of fact, our Founders had much to say about government and public service in 1778, writing that the U.S. House of Representatives has a required dependence on its constituents and a two-year term will make that happen.
Paraphrasing Jefferson, if we want a “virtuous” government, that is, a government which effectively responds to the needs of its people—public offices should be burdens that bring intense labor and great private loss.
As Jefferson said then, I believe now that every office holder from the top down is a public servant. They must be accessible and maintain a common interest with the people they represent, which, he said, is essential to our republic and ensures liberty for all.
Furthermore, the Founders argued that frequent elections, especially in the House, secure a dependence on and sympathy with the people. As an advocate for congressional term limits—this is my last year in Congress—I believe we need more citizen legislators, which was the Founders’ vision for congressional representatives.
The American people currently have more tolerance for traffic jams and root canals than they do for Congress. The public holds a dim view of Congress as it engages in political games and power politics. Even dimmer when partisan, national issues dominate the 24/7 news cycle, overshadowing the hometown issues important to the functions of everyday life. Congress is not living up to the well-intentioned vision of our Founders.
As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I spend my time in Washington dealing with national and international issues. Here is a brief rundown:
Wednesday, the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly in bipartisan fashion to override the President’s veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.
For more than 15 years, 9/11 families were denied a diplomatic or legal path to justice. Now, those harmed by international terrorism may pursue justice in U.S. courts against foreign nations that sponsor terrorism.
Also this week, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen week testified before my committee on interest rates, while we also launched an investigation into Wells Fargo’s unconscionable sales practices—an outrageous breach of the public trust.
But I spend much of my time in Washington on issues directly impacting families and businesses in the 8th congressional district. No case is more illuminating than the one involving the FDA and unsafe medical devices causing harm and even deaths. It began with a chance meeting with a Yardley woman and her family.
Her life changed following a procedure with a medical device that shredded an unknown fibrous cancer, which spread throughout her body.
As I questioned the FDA and explored legislative action, this local woman’s case lit a fire nationwide. Soon thousands of women with similar stories began to contact my office, sharing their stories.
That’s when I began working on theMedical Device Guardians Act [HR 5405]. While many medical devices prove to be lifesaving, some have devastating effects on patients. There must be a process in place to track these failures and quickly remove them from the market. This bill requires physicians to report unsafe outcomes from medical devices. This week I requested Congress conduct hearings on the impact of unsafe medical devices on patients and the shortcomings of the FDA.
Another issue of local concern with national implications is clean water. The contaminated drinking water problem in Horsham, Warrington, and Warminster required coordination at every level of government. Since the contamination came from former military bases, my office served as the chief liaison with the Department of Defense.
After attending town hall meetings in the affected areas, I relayed our concerns directly to the responsible defense and health officials in a meeting last week. As my colleagues and I push for health screenings for our constituents, we are increasing awareness of perfluorinated compounds, which also are affecting communities across the nation.
In response to the concerns of neighbors and travelers using this crossing at Woodbourne Station in Middletown Township, where delays can tie up emergency vehicles and school busses for nearly an hour, I was able to amend Railway-Highway Crossings statute, allowing federal funds to be used on public safety projects. My office continues to advocate for public safety projects to mitigate the risks posed by these events.
Members of Congress must be ever mindful of the Founders’ wisdom as we go about our work in the nation’s capital – as advocates and public servants, hopefully outside the partisan ring.Read More
Washington, D.C. —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today issued a statement, blasting Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid for blocking the Right to Try Act [S. 2912] yesterday. This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, would allow terminally ill patients the right to try experimental and clinical-stage medical treatments when there are no available alternatives.
It is beyond disappointing to see “Right to Try” obstructed in the Senate. This bill does not force manufactures to provide experimental drugs; instead, it gives people with terminal illness the right to request their use. My constituents living with these diseases, like Matt Bellina and Frank Mongiello, deserve their right to try potentially life-saving drugs or treatments. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to allow this legislation to pass. I refuse to accept Senate obstructionism on what is literally a matter of life and death for my constituents.
This bill would be complementary to individual state law, empowering the 31 states currently with “Right to Try” laws and clearing legal concerns for others. State laws passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, with 97 percent of state legislators voting in favor of “Right to Try.” Johnson went to the Senate floor yesterday to seek unanimous consent on his federal right to try bill, but was blocked by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The bill currently has 42 bipartisan Senate co-sponsors.
Bucks County residents Matt Bellina and Frank Mongiello both live with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is characterized by a degeneration of motor cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness and, as the disease progresses, severe impairment of mobility, speech, swallowing, and respiratory function. The average life expectancy for those living with this disease ranges from two to five years after diagnosis.
Last week, Matt Bellina testified before Sen. Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee in favor of “Right to Try” legislation.
Fitzpatrick is a co-sponsor of the House version of the Right to Try Act [H.R.3012], and a member of the Congressional Rare Disease Caucus, where he is an outspoken advocate for reforming the Food and Drug Administration.
2400 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is a lifelong resident of Bucks County, where he has been an active member of his community for decades. In the 113th Congress, Mike’s number one priority is job creation. Mike recognizes that government does not create jobs, but fosters an environment in which the private sector can create permanent, family sustaining jobs.
Mike graduated from Bishop Egan High School in Fairless Hills and earned his bachelor’s degree while working his way through St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Upon graduation, Mike was awarded the university’s highest service award.
Following graduation, Mike returned to Pennsylvania and in 1988, he graduated from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law. While attending law school Mike was the Business Manager of the Dickinson Journal of International Law. Mike is admitted to practice law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In 1995, Mike was appointed to the Bucks County Board of Commissioners where he served for ten years. As a Bucks County Commissioner Mike was a champion of responsible county social service programs, job creation and efficient government administration. He fought to preserve over 11,000 acres of beautiful farmland, parkland and critical natural areas. His record on open space earned him recognition from a variety of environmental organizations, including the Greenspace Alliance.
During his time as Commissioner, Mike led the fight to establish the county’s first Enterprise Zone, a project that eventually led to the creation of over 4,000 private sector jobs in Bucks County.
As a Member of the 109th Congress Mike demonstrated himself to be an independently- minded advocate for his constituents. He fought for stronger borders, lower taxes and smaller budget deficits. Locally he worked successfully to bring the National Veterans’ Cemetery to Bucks County. Mike was also instrumental in flood mitigation efforts along the Neshaminy Creek watershed, which had been plagued by persistent flooding.
Mike returned to Congress in 2011 after practicing law in Bucks County focusing on representing small businesses and local governments.
Mike and his wife Kathy have been married twenty-four years and have six children – three girls (Katie, Maggie and Molly) and three boys (Jimmy, Mick and Tommy). An Eagle Scout, Mike has remained active in Scouting and is a past-President of the Bucks County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
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Here's your 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. An 80-foot Engelmann Spruce from Payette National Forest in Idaho,... https://t.co/AlgMQgM2rE
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A true American Hero, John Glenn inspired a generation with courage to explore and passion for public service.... https://t.co/znJYHRwYtJ
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The National Park Service is America’s best idea, and it isn’t finished yet. The National Park Service Centennial... https://t.co/6HbHm55aSM
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We remember those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today. We salute the veterans and survivors... https://t.co/jWyy772sKW
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The 21st Century Cures Act will help accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for patients. It... https://t.co/SDao8Xz4lb
Here's your 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. An 80-foot Engelmann Spruce from Payette National Forest in Idaho, this year’s tree will be lit
A true American Hero, John Glenn inspired a generation with the courage to explore and the passion for public service. Godspeed, John Glenn.
The National Park Service is America’s best idea, and it isn’t finished yet. The National Park Service Centennial Act will help protect our
We remember those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today. We salute the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor whose resilience
The 21st Century Cures Act will help accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for patients. It provides funding for cancer