Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick


Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act Becomes Law


Washington, D.C. —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today joined the House of Representatives in overriding a presidential veto, making the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) the law of the land. The bill ensures terrorist attack victims and their families can seek justice in a U.S. court of law against the nations that sponsor terrorism. 

The House voted (margin) to pass JASTA, contrary to the objections of the President. Earlier today, the Senate voted 97-1 in favor of an override.

“Today, Congress came together in near unanimous fashion to allow 9/11 families pursue justice. For more than 15 years, these families were denied a diplomatic or legal path to justice—that changed today,” said Fitzpatrick. “Those harmed by international terrorism may now pursue justice against foreign nations that sponsor terrorism.

Last Friday evening, President Obama vetoed the bill, citing concerns about damaging relations with Saudi Arabia.

Following the veto, Fitzpatrick sent a letter to the Speaker of the House, citing Congress’ constitutional authority to override the president when he blocks the supermajority will of the American people.

President Obama’s veto came after a previous letter from 9/11 families asking the President to joint Congress and protect all present and future victims of terrorism. It also follows a letter sent to the President from Fitzpatrick, imploring him to sign JASTA into law.

On September 9, 2016, the House of Representative unanimously passed S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Similarly, it passed the Senate with unanimous consent.



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Fitzpatrick Urges House to Override Obama Veto


Washington, D.C. —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today urged the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, to schedule a veto override vote as soon as possible on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

President Obama vetoed the bill, which ensures terrorist attack victims and their families can seek justice in a U.S. court of law against the nations that sponsor terrorism.

On September 9, 2016, the House of Representative unanimously passed S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Similarly, it passed the Senate with unanimous consent.

“We have heard the plea from 9/11 families for this important legislation. The President cannot simply slam the door shut on these families,” said Fitzpatrick. “I am urging the Speaker of the House to schedule a veto override as soon as possible  so those harmed by acts of terrorism are given the right to their day in course to hold accountable those who support atrocious acts of terrorism”

Fitzpatrick sent a letter to the Speaker, citing Congress’ constitutional authority to override the president when he blocks the supermajority will of the American people.

President Obama’s veto comes after a previous letter from 9/11 families asking the President to joint Congress and protect all present and future victims of terrorism. It also follows a letter sent to the President from Fitzpatrick, imploring him to sign JASTA into law.

A two-thirds vote of the House and the Senate are required for a presidential veto to be overridden.



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Fitzpatrick Requests Hearing on Medical Device Safety


Washington, D.C. —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), joined by several colleagues from across the country, requested the Committee on Energy and Commerce conduct hearings on the impact of unsafe medical devices on patients and the failings of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Many medical devices prove lifesaving, however some devices are having devastating effects on patients, and there must be an effective process in place to track these failures and to quickly remove these devices from the market” said Fitzpatrick. “Most of our device safety laws were written in the 1970’s. Experts have continued to question the ability of regulators and the outdated laws to identify unsafe devices – and it is putting Americans’ health at risk.  It’s time we bring our medical device safety laws into the 21st Century. We must, and we can, maximize innovation and maximize safety.”

Fitzpatrick was joined by his colleagues, Congresswomen Louise Slaughter (New York), Stephen Lynch (Massachusetts) Gwen Moore (Wisconsin), and Brenda Lawrence (Michigan), as well as Congressmen Chris Smith (New Jersey) and Ryan Zinke (Montana) on a letter to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, requesting a hearing.

The letter highlights the cases of the laparoscopic power morcellator and the permanent contraceptive device Essure – both FDA approved devices that have caused serious harm and even death. Regulators have yet to remove either device from the market.

According to a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, equating to 10 percent of all annual deaths.. The congressional letter asserts that an improved ability by regulators and the medical community to identity and remove unsafe medical devices from the market could save thousands of lives each year.




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House Acts to Prevent Cultural Property Trafficking


Washington, D.C. —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), chairman of the House Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, joined the House in passing a bipartisan bill designed to improve enforcement against trafficking in cultural property and preventing  stolen or illicit property from financing terrorist and criminal networks. 

“Terrorist networks and criminal enterprises smuggle antiquities from world heritage sites and sell them on the black market to fund their terror activities,” said Fitzpatrick. “This bill combats their fundraising efforts by improving law enforcement’s tools to effectively detain and seize cultural property illegally entering the United States.”

Fitzpatrick added,  While ISIS is not the first to loot, smuggle, and destroy the arts and antiquities, it has institutionalized and intensified the practice. They sell what they can and destroy the rest.”

The bill, Preventing Trafficking in Cultural Property Act [H.R. 2285], declares the policy of the United States to:

·      Ensure that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enhance and unify their efforts to interdict, detain, seize, and investigate cultural property illegally imported into the United States.

·      Disrupt and dismantle smuggling and trafficking networks engaged in illegal trade in cultural property

·      Protect cultural property pursuant to U.S. obligations under international convention.

Fitzpatrick’s task force held a hearing on April 19, 2016 entitled “Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS.” Witnesses stressed that the lack of regulation and transparency in the arts and antiquity industry, compared to other sectors, provides opportunities to terrorists and criminals. One measure to combat this type of illicit activity would be making antiquity looting an intelligence and law enforcement a priority.  Additionally, the Task Force discussed the necessity of improved information sharing and coordination between government agencies, foreign partners and the private sector.

H.R. 2285, which emerged from the Ways and Means committee, seeks to accomplish Task Force goals   with respect to combating illegal cultural property trade.



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Congressmen Push U.S. Department of Defense to Increase Funding for Water Contamination Correction Efforts


WASHINGTON, D.C – Congressmen Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Patrick Meehan (R-PA.) and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) met today with the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) point-person for PFC water contamination, Maureen Sullivan, Director of Environmental Management for the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Installations and Environment.   Sullivan is overseeing the DOD’s response to PFC contamination from firefighting foams nationwide.  The Congressmen discussed their recent requests made of the DOD regarding communities surrounding the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, and Horsham Air Guard Station in Pennsylvania. 

The congressional trio is pushing the Navy and the Air National Guard to provide additional funding governing the remediation effort. Specific issues addressed include costs for additional filtration systems on public and private wells as needed, infrastructure improvements required to deliver clean, safe drinking water from nearby water authorities, and funding to offset water rate increases experienced by local customers. Rate hikes are attributed directly to costs incurred to mitigate the contamination and provide clean drinking water to residents in affected areas.  All three congressmen feel it is the Navy’s responsibility to shoulder that financial burden, not the water utilities or their customers.

In addition to costs of water purchases, the three Pennsylvania congressmen also demanded action by the Navy on recent requests they’ve made regarding funding of blood tests, health studies. Recently, Congressmen Boyle, Meehan and Fitzpatrick and Senators Casey and Toomey asked the Navy to provide health screenings for Horsham and Warminster residents.  In response, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Karnig Ohannessian explained that, after consultation with the CDC’s ATSDR, blood testing was not advisable in these communities. The Congressmen also hosted an August health expert panel discussion in Horsham.

During the meeting, the congressmen also requested an update on the DOD’s plans for addressing firefighting foam contamination nationwide, as well as their legislation to clarify the DOD’s authority to fund blood testing and health studies in impacted communities like the ones they represent.

For additional information, check out our water portal accessible here




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Congressmen Push Military to Cover Rate Increases


Washington, D.C.—Congressmen Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Brendan Boyle (PA-13) and Patrick Meehan (PA-07) urged the U.S. Navy to fund measures that would protect residents from recent price hikes in their water bills.

In their letter (attached) to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the congressmen seek federal funds to offset the increased cost of additional municipal water recently imposed by several municipal water authorities. This is the latest local expense the three congressmen have pushed the Navy to cover.

Residents in several municipalities surrounding the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster, the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base and the Air National Guard Base in Willow Grove, have faced rising water costs resulting from perfluorinated compound (PFC) contamination. As a result, impacted municipal water customers were recently informed of rate increases.

The letter acknowledges that municipal water providers must raise rates in order to cover their immediate costs to provide safe, clean drinking water for their customers. However, the congressmen asserted that residents cannot be expected to bear the excess cost.

To date, the Navy has worked with the affected municipalities in the construction and operation of granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration systems for municipal supply wells. In addition, they are working with municipalities in providing water lines and connections to a nearby water authority as a long term solution to providing safe, permanent drinking water. The costs at issue are related to the municipalities’ decision to purchase water from surrounding communities that are not experiencing PFC contamination.

In a joint statement, PA Representatives Kathy Watson (PA-144) and Bernie O’Neill (PA-29) announced: “Additional costs related to necessary remediation efforts are already being passed on to constituents beginning with the October quarterly billing cycle in Warminster, and are expected in Warrington residents’ future, as well. These constituents, our neighbors, as we too reside in the affected areas served by the Warminster and Warrington Water Authorities, are not at fault and, therefore, should not be liable. “

Congressmen Fitzpatrick, Meehan, and Boyle continue to fight for resources to achieve safe, clean drinking water for all affected residents. Additionally, they continue to urge the Navy to fund health screenings informing residents of their current exposure to contaminants.


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Fitzpatrick to Obama: Stand up for 9/11 Families


Washington, D.C. —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) urged President Obama to sign the Justice Against Sponsors of Terror Act (JASTA) into law. The act provides victims of terrorist attacks, like those on September 11th, full access to the legal system in pursuit of justice against nations that support terrorism.

In a letter penned to the President, Fitzpatrick voiced his unwavering support for JASTA, the bipartisan bill unanimously passed by Congress. 

 “Both the U.S. Congress and the Executive branch have repeatedly affirmed that civil litigations against sponsors of terrorism, including foreign states, can serve an important deterrent to fight terrorism,” said Fitzpatrick.

 “This measure seeks to ensure that victims and the families of victims of international terrorism may pursue justice against foreign nations supporting terrorism.”

JASTA has the support of many 9/11 families including Ellen Saracini of Yardley, PA. Her husband, Victor Saracini, was the captain of United Flight 175, which was hijacked and flown into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

“I implore President Obama to stand up for American families and sign JASTA into law,” said Ellen Saracini.  “Families affected by terrorism should be able to file lawsuits against governments found responsible for terrorism that kills U.S. citizens on American soil.” 

The letter sent to President Obama can be accessed here.


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Oversight and Investigation: Iran Hearing


Fitzpatrick Condemns Cash Payments to Iran


Washington, D.C. —Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) yesterday questioned members of the administration about recent cash  payments to Iran  and  whether the payments  constituted a  “ransom” for American hostages held in Iran, during a congressional subcommittee hearing.

The Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held the hearing on the Obama administration’s decision to pay $1.7 billion to Iran in cash.  Fitzpatrick as Chairman of the Task Force on Terror Financing, for two years, has conducted hearings on financial practices, money laundering and ultimately keeping money out of the hands of terror sponsors.

“Cash transactions fuel terrorism,” said Fitzpatrick. “The Obama Administration transferred $1.7 billion to Iran in cash to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism—and tried to hide it from the American people.”   

Fitzpatrick said the hearing was convened to determine the reason the Obama administration paid nearly two-billion to a known sponsor of terrorism. It questioned why the administration did not try or intend to use the traditional banking system, which would make it much more difficult for Iran to use those funds to sponsor terrorism.  

“For two years on this subcommittee we have been following the money to keep cash out of the hands of terror sponsors – our own administration could have wired the money to a central bank and have (Iran) them pick it up. That money, then, would be much more difficult to use for financing terror,” Fitzpatrick continued.

“We are full of questions and the hearing today only led to additional questions for the participants. I hope they will provide full and accurate responses,” Fitzpatrick said.  “The way the money was transferred was like a middle of the night ‘drug drop.’  Why cash in the middle of the night?  It looks awful.” 

The Obama administration acknowledged the transfer of $1.7 billion earlier this year was made entirely in cash, using non-U.S. currency. The initial $400 million (cash) was delivered on Jan. 17—the same day Tehran released four American prisoners. The remaining $1.3 billion was accumulated interest on the principal $400 million since the 1970s.  They were made in subsequent cash transfers.

“It is bad enough that not only Iranian officials but also other rogue regimes and terrorists groups can conclude that the United States is susceptible to blackmail and that its condemnation of ransom payments is only rhetorical. That the Obama administration blessed a cash payment and allowed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to take possession of it augments the possibility that it will be used to catalyze terrorism across the globe and blinds the intelligence community and Treasury analysts who have dedicated their careers to keeping America safe,” said Michael Rubin, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Fitzpatrick recently co-sponsored the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act [H.R.5931]. This bill:

·         Makes clear that the Obama Administration violated longstanding U.S. policy by releasing prisoners and providing a cash transfer for the return of Americans being held by Iran.

·         Prohibits all cash payments to Iran

·         Demands transparency on any future settlements with Iran—to ensure they are not used to pay ransom.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will mark-up the bill next week.

For a video clip of Fitzpatrick's questioning, click here

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Committee Assignments

Financial Services

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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