Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick

PENNSYLVANIA's 8th DISTRICT

Fitzpatrick Marks 50 Years of Landmark Conservation Bills

2014/09/19

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) submitted remarks to the Congressional Record this week to recognize the 50th anniversary of the signing of both the Wilderness Act and the Land and Water Conservation Act.

Fitzpatrick has been an outspoken advocate for environmental legislation, leading the bipartisan push for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in March and introducing legislation this week honoring the anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

This summer, the Fitzpatrick-backed Conservation Easement Incentive Act [H.R. 2807] passed the House, making it easier for land owners to conserve land by permanently extending conservation tax credits. Additionally, he has been recognized by the National Parks Conservation Association with a ‘Friend of the National Park Award’ as well as a Great Outdoors Congressional Champion.

Fitzpatrick’s remarks are below:

Mr. Speaker, September marks the 50th anniversary of both the creation of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Wilderness Act being signed into law. I rise in celebration of these two milestones, as they have resulted in the preservation of our nation’s most treasured resources.

For 50 years, LWCF has remained the nation’s premier conservation and recreation support program. While authorized by Congress, the program is not funded by taxpayer dollars, making it a responsible, practical method to protect our nation’s natural landscape and beauty.

The parks, trails, forests, wildlife refuges, battlefields, historic sites, and working lands sustained by LWCF funding support an outdoor recreation and tourism sector that contributes a total of $1.06 trillion annually to the American economy. This program supports 9.4 million jobs that are vital to our nation’s recovery.

Additionally, since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law, Congress has added over 100 million acres to the unique land preservation system. This landmark conservation bill created a way for Americans to protect their cherished wild lands for future generations.

Polling has found that a strong majority of the American people believe that Congress should continue to honor its commitment to both the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Wilderness Act.

I am proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to preserve and protect these programs.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

 

 

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House, Senate Lawmakers Introduce James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act Reauthorization

2014/09/17

Washington, D.C. – Nearly a week after the 13th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from across the country has introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) joined 40 members of the House introducing the bill, along with nine Senators introducing companion legislation.

The Zadroga bill’s two critical programs providing medical treatment and compensation for 9/11 heroes – the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – are set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016 respectively. The bill introduced this week would continue these programs for 25 more years, through 2041. 

Now 13 years after September 11th, 9/11 responders and survivors are still battling serious health crises resulting from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. More than 30,000 9/11 responders and survivors have an illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds of those have more than one illness. Many are disabled and can no longer work. They are suffering from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and many more.

Medical research has identified more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins. More than 2,900 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by the aftermath of the attacks - more than 800 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New York Police Department personnel are struggling with serious 9/11-related illnesses, not including the more than 70 firefighters and 60 NYPD officers who have died from their 9/11-related illnesses.

Responders came from all over the country to aid in the response to the attacks. And some area residents, workers and survivors have since moved and are currently receiving care in cities and states across the country. Participants enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program for treatment currently reside in all 50 states and in 429 of the 435 Congressional districts in the country.

Currently, over 30,000 responders and survivors across the nation are sick and receiving critical treatment and medical care through the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.  Over 60,000 9/11 responders are receiving medical monitoring. The program treats responders and survivors for many chronic diseases and respiratory illnesses, including asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

The WTC Health Program continues to be a critical lifeline for many, particularly when the number of 9/11-related cancer cases among rescue workers and responders has increased over the past decade and continues to grow. So far, more than 2,900 responders and survivors have been diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 2012, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has added over 60 types of cancers to the list of 9/11-related illnesses covered by the WTC Health Program. Studies show that 9/11 workers have gotten certain cancers – including prostate, thyroid, leukemia, and multiple myeloma – at a significantly higher rate than the general population.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which was reopened under the Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill, provides compensation for economic losses to 9/11 responders and survivors and their families for physical injuries as a result of involvement in Ground Zero, including breathing in toxins.  Since 2013, the VCF has made over 1,300 compensation determinations and has so far deemed over 7,000 injured 9/11 individuals eligible for compensation.  

Numerous studies have documented the health effects of the WTC attacks, which include lower and upper respiratory, gastrointestinal, and mental health conditions. These illnesses have caused major financial strains on many of those exposed, who are subsequently no longer able to work and face the high price of health care without a federally-funded national program to incur the costs.

The current WTC Health Program and the reopened September 11th Victim Compensation Fund expire in 2015.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Fitzpatrick Bill Restores Veterans’ Job Services in Wake of Misguided Changes

2014/09/17

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday that reinstates access to employment and job training services for veterans which was unilaterally restricted by the administration earlier this year.

The Protect VETS Act [H.R. 5500], introduced by Fitzpatrick in the House and Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), would overturn an April Department of Labor decision to deny 70% of veterans access to employment coaches, including some disabled veterans.

“At a time when our veteran’s faith in the promises made to them is at an all-time low, the federal government should be strengthening its commitments to veterans – not restricting access and minimizing services to help them get ahead,” said Fitzpatrick. “Post-9/11 veteran unemployment was over 8% in August – well higher than the nationwide number. It’s unbelievable that we need the Protect VETS Act to ensure our veterans get the career services they’ve earned – but that’s what we must do.”

The original G.I. Bill of 1944, created a system of grants for states to hire Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVERs). From the start, LVERs reached out to “employers with jobs suitable for… veterans” and “assisted veterans looking for work.” In 1977, in response to the high unemployment rate among Vietnam veterans, especially disabled veterans, the Department of Labor created the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists (DVOPs), which provided special employment services for disabled veterans. In 1980, Congress made the program permanent. In April, the Department of Labor restricted these vital programs contrary to decades of practice, the concerns of veterans’ service organizations and the text of the statutes Congress passed.

“This is a bipartisan plan to ensure that our laws are being enforced as written and protecting our veterans programs from bureaucratic rewriting,” said Fitzpatrick. “Our nation’s veterans are the most skilled workforce in history. The Protect VETS Act is vital to ensure we’re giving them the tools and training they need to strengthen our economy.”

“I cannot understand why the Department of Labor would reduce employment and job training services for the vast majority of America’s veterans, especially when young veterans already face an unemployment rate exceeding the national average,” said Sen. Toomey. “Our veterans have proudly served us; the least we can do is ensure no veteran is denied the job services they deserve.”

“Our own government is denying a vital service to our soldiers on their most pressing need - jobs.  As soldiers are turned out of the Armed Forces, they must find civilian careers.  Soldiers earned career service assistance. It was not a hand-out,” said Col. Larry Rubini (ret.), chair of the PA-8 Veterans’ Advisory Board. “We must support Senator Toomey and Congressman Fitzpatrick in their staunch efforts to make government work for its soldiers.”

The Protect VETS Act is also endorsed by the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), AmVets, VETS Group, Inc., Vets First, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

Fitzpatrick, a member of the Veterans’ Jobs Caucus, has been a leader in advancing initiatives and legislation that increases veterans’ access to skilled employment, job training and education.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Fitzpatrick, No Labels Kick off Development of Bipartisan National Agenda

2014/09/17

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) met with dozens of members of Congress, state and local officials and business leaders Wednesday to kick-off No Labels’ yearlong process of establish a national strategic agenda.

“Now more than ever, it’s critical that our nation sees there is more that brings us together than separates us,” said Fitzpatrick. “Establishing a bipartisan governing vision that puts people and policy above politics shouldn’t be a red or a blue goal – it should be an American goal. I was pleased to hear resounding support for that principle as we began building No Labels’ National Strategic Agenda.

Wednesday’s No Labels National Ideas Meeting was the first step toward developing a comprehensive policy document – with input from people across America – that builds support around four shared objectives:

  • Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years;
  • Balance the federal budget by 2030;
  • Secure Medicare and Social Security for the next 75 years; and
  • Make America energy secure by 2024.

“Washington has become too complacent and too accepting of gridlock as the natural order of things. It’s not,” said Gov. Jon Huntsman, Co-Chair of No Labels. “The National Strategic Agenda is a big idea, and it’s simply the right idea at the right time. It directly involves citizens in the process and will help our nation’s leaders rediscover the lost art of policymaking.”

Fitzpatrick has been a member of No Labels – a national movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents – since 2011 and currently serves on the organization’s national board. He is one of more than 80 members of Congress have endorsed the process to create the National Strategic Agenda.

“Mike has been a proud supporter of No Labels since its inception because he wants to be a problem solver! By participating in today's No Labels summit, the Congressman is sending a clear message that he puts country above party and demonstrating his commitment to work across the aisle to solve our country's biggest problems,” said Marc Felgoise of Montgomery Co. who attended Wednesday’s event. “Voters want good ideas not partisan gridlock and the Congressman, by being here, is leading a unique and important effort to change our country's politics.”

“Many of our leaders say they want to unite – not divide – our country, but no one ever says exactly how this can be accomplished,” said No Labels Executive Director Margaret Kimbrell. “The creation of the National Strategic Agenda is precisely how we unite our leaders and move the country forward in support of common goals. That's why it's so critical that we have leaders like Congressman Fitzpatrick, who is one of the leaders of the Problem Solvers on Capitol Hill, working with us on this process.”

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Fitzpatrick Jobs Bill Clears House, Heads to Senate

2014/09/16

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) and aimed at encouraging economic growth for small businesses passed the House Tuesday. The Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act [HR 5405] includes 11 bills which make it easier for small businesses to grow and hire, creating more opportunity for all.

“American workers and workplaces need legislation that empowers them to succeed and create a healthy economy. Too often what comes out of Washington are more regulations, higher taxes and heavier burdens that hold Americans back,” said Fitzpatrick. “This package of bills represents a common sense, bipartisan plan to cut red tape and give businesses the flexibility they need create better jobs and more opportunity. I hope the Senate acts quickly on this legislation in the same bipartisan fashion it passed the House.”

Speaking on the House floor prior to the vote, Fitzpatrick said it was critical leaders of both parties look at this example of bipartisan accomplishment as a playbook for advancing common goals and breaking Washington gridlock.

“This legislation contains the language of nearly a dozen jobs bills that have either passed the financial services committee or have passed this House with broad bipartisan support,” said Fitzpatrick. “There are companies in and around Bucks Co Pennsylvania - the area that I am honored to represent - that have the resources to invest, right now, in small businesses. This bill will allow them to invest more of their resources in advancing American workers instead of spending money complying with needless regulations in Washington.”

The passage of the bipartisan Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act was praised by a number of groups, including the Small Business & Entrepreneurial Council and the Small Business Investor Alliance.

"The Fitzpatrick jobs legislation reduces duplicative red tape for investors in domestic small businesses," said Steven Hobman of NewSpring Mezzanine Capital located in the Philadelphia region. "Fitzpatrick's bill really targets areas in the law that are filled with unnecessary red tape, and Congress needs to pass these provisions to move capital more freely in our financial system."

“The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council strongly supports H.R. 5405, the ‘Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act.’ Thank you [Congressman Fitzpatrick] for your steadfast leadership on the critical issue of U.S. capital formation and capital access for entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO of the SBE Council. “Access to startup and growth capital remains a serious impediment to U.S. business growth and entrepreneurship. H.R. 5405 includes sensible measures that will help streamline reporting for small firms and startups, and removes unnecessary barriers both before and after the capital raising process.”

“Pennsylvania Bio applauds Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick for his leadership and support of the life sciences in Pennsylvania for successful passage of HR 5405, the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act.  This critical, job creating legislation will help to ease regulatory burdens on emerging life sciences companies by stimulating IPO activity as these growing innovators face a daily struggle to maintain liquidity once they become publicly traded," said Christopher P. Molineaux, President & CEO of Pennsylvania Bio. "These are the kind of commonsense, targeted reforms that are needed to ensure the growth of small and early stage life sciences companies is not in jeopardy.   We thank Congressman Fitzpatrick for his ongoing commitment to the life sciences industry."

Fitzpatrick, a member of the Financial Service Committee, has been a tireless advocate for efforts to responsibly reduce burdensome regulation on businesses and create an environment that fosters innovation. Earlier this summer, Fitzpatrick unveiled his Better Jobs, More Opportunity plan - a collection of bipartisan legislation aimed at supporting a healthy economy.

Bills encompassed in Fitzpatrick’s Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act include:

  • HR 634 - Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act (Passed the House 6/12/13)
  • HR 677 - Inter-Affiliate Swap Clarification Act
  • HR 801 - Holding Company Registration Threshold Equalization Act (Passed the House 1/14/14)
  • HR 2274 - Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act (Passed the House 1/14/14)
  • HR 3448 - Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act (Passed the House 2/11/14)
  • HR 3623 - Improving Access to Capital for Emerging Growth Companies Act
  • HR 4164 - Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act
  • HR 4167- Restoring Proven Financing for American Employers Act (Passed the House 4/29/14)
  • HR 4200 - SBIC Advisers Relief Act
  • HR 4569 - Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act 
  • HR 4571 - Directs the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revise its rules so as to increase the threshold amount for requiring issuers to provide certain disclosures relating to compensatory benefit plans

Creating an environment for businesses and workplaces to grow is one step toward supporting an economy that creates better jobs and more opportunity, but there’s more to be done – including bipartisan objectives like declaring energy independence, putting our veterans to work and investing in the American worker. Learn more about Fitzpatrick’s plan to tackle these goals at: www.fitzpatrick.house.gov/BetterJobsMoreOpportunity

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Fitzpatrick Joins 52 Members in Calling on the Senate to Consider Human Trafficking Legislation

2014/09/11

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) joined 52 members of the House of Representatives this week in calling on Senate leaders in both parties to consider a series of House-passed human trafficking bills.  The broadly bipartisan letter was sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

To view a copy of the letter, please click here or scroll down.

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Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

Hundreds of thousands of young children are at risk for becoming victims of sex trafficking every year in the United States. Over the past 15 years, Congress worked together in a bipartisan fashion to enact numerous laws to combat the epidemic of human trafficking. These efforts include the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and subsequent reauthorizations.

Now we have the opportunity to once again come together to enact laws to combat this horrific industry. Between May and July 2014, the House has passed a series of bipartisan bills to prevent and combat trafficking, provide support to trafficking victims, and offer additional tools to law enforcement to ensure that traffickers are brought to justice. Many of these bills were passed by suspension and with broad bipartisan support. These bills include:

·         Stop Exploitation through Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 3610/S. 1733)

·         Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (H.R. 4225)

·         Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (H.R. 3530/S. 1738)

·         International Megan's Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking (H.R. 4573)

·         To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking act (H.R. 5111/S. 1936)

·         Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking (H.R. 5081)

·         Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking (H.R. 5076)

·         The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act  (H.R. 4980)

·         The Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2014 (H.R. 5135)

·         Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5116)

·         Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 4449)

·         Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 2283)

As you work on the Senate agenda for September and the remainder of the year, we ask that you bring these bipartisan bills or companion legislation to the Senate floor for a vote. The issue of human trafficking is not a partisan one, and we believe it deserves to be made a priority in both the House and Senate. Working together, we can ensure meaningful legislation is signed into law to eradicate this disgusting industry and empower survivors. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues to do all we can to put an end to human trafficking.

(Signed)

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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(VIDEO) Fitzpatrick Marks 13th Anniversary of 9/11 Terror Attacks

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON. D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) released the video remarks commemorating the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The video/audio is available for viewing or download HERE and a transcript of the remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

Thirteen years ago today – on a day not much different than this one – our nation changed forever.

The September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the downing of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania trust our county into unfamiliar territory: attacked on our own soil in a war unknown to most Americans.

For thousands, that day saw the loss of an innocent father or mother, son or daughter, friend or neighbor – including 18 Bucks County residents. Today we remember, with love and respect, all those who passed tragically, as well as those who still morn their absence today.  

With pride, we also recall those who rushed to help in the wake of those events: First responders, volunteers, members of the military – all ordinary Americans who answered the call, regardless of safety or cost. Their actions united our nation and rallied our spirits in a time when it might have been easier to recoil in pain or fear.

In the years since the September 11th attacks, our nation has changed, but we’ve also become stronger and more resilient.

However, our nation and our world are once again confronted with the tactics of terror and destruction. Similarly today, we must rise together and speak with one voice in opposition to evil and intimidation. Regardless of creed, religion, location or political party we stand as proud Americans with a singleness of purpose. 

On this, the 13th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I join with millions, here and abroad, in praying for peace and justice in the troubled places of our world. We pray for comfort and closure for all those affected by loss or heartbreak on that devastating day. And we honor all those who continue to stand in the defense of freedom and liberty, at home or abroad.

Thank you, and God bless the United States of America.

Fitzpatrick is scheduled to participate in tonight’s memorial ceremony at the Bucks County 9/11 Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield Township. On Wednesday, Fitzpatrick introduced legislation aimed at preventing the further growth of terror organization, ISIS.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Fitzpatrick Leads Bill to Halt ISIS Funding

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) announced new legislation Wednesday aimed at crippling the funding and financing abilities of ISIS. The Isolate ISIS Act, introduced by Fitzpatrick, would cut off income to ISIS by codifying sanctions and penalties on any institutions engaging in trade or commerce with the terror group, including individuals and corporations in the United States.

“ISIS is a unique terror organization in that it is able to self finance at an extremely high level – giving itself the resources and influence to expand its reign of hate and oppression,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s reported that ISIS now controls tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day, netting the terror group nearly $2 million in sales through foreign markets. To halt ISIS’ growth, we must stop its ability to fund and finance – that’s what the Isolate ISIS Act does.”

Fitzpatrick’s Isolate ISIS Act is made up of two parts:

  • Imposing sanctions on foreign financial institutions that do business with ISIS (or individuals acting on their behalf) by locking those financial institutions out of doing business with U.S. banks or using U.S. banking systems.
  • Imposing harsh penalties and sanctions on individuals or corporations inside the U.S. who do business with foreign third parties engaged in commerce with the Islamic State. The provision is focused on those who may facilitate the black market sales of petroleum products by ISIS.

“Simply put, the Isolate ISIS Act is one piece of larger response to the threats posed by ISIS,” said Fitzpatrick. “By attacking the group’s funding we can slow its growth, limit the reach of its recruiting efforts and push back against the twisted world-view it promotes.”

Fitzpatrick’s announcement comes just hours before President Obama is scheduled address the nation regarding ISIS.

“It is my hope that tonight the president will lay out a clear strategy to assuage Americans very real concerns and send a message to those who wish us harm,” added Fitzpatrick. “Our nation must speak with one voice when it comes to foreign policy - regardless of location, party or legislative body. However, any response must include taking action against ISIS’ financing through legislation like the Isolate ISIS Act .

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

 

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Lawmakers Urge State Dept. to Suspend Funding for Hamas-Linked Agency in Gaza

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressmen Patrick Meehan (PA-7), Jim Gerlach (PA-6) and Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) today wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to suspend U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency pending an investigation into the group’s ties to Hamas.

“Over the last decade, American taxpayers have contributed more than $2 billion to UNRWA,” the letter says. “But events in Gaza during the last year, particularly in recent months, have demonstrated that American taxpayers should not continue to subsidize UNRWA operations without a full and complete investigation into its ties to Hamas.”

“During the most recent conflict in Gaza, three separate UNRWA schools have been identified by the agency itself as warehouses for Hamas weapons. It has also been reported that the weapons discovered in at least one of the caches were simply turned back over to the Hamas-controlled Gaza authorities. Hamas militants regularly launch attacks on Israel from close proximity to UNRWA facilities. These are just the latest examples of how interwoven UNRWA has become with Hamas.”

“It is clear from these incidents that UNRWA officials are either knowingly aiding Hamas or derelict in their duty to prevent Hamas from using UNRWA facilities. Either way, a complete investigation – conducted by the U.S. government, not UNRWA itself – is warranted before more taxpayer dollars flow to this organization,” the letter continues.

Meehan, Fitzpatrick and Gerlach have long been critical of UNRWA, most recently last year when they wrote Secretary Kerry seeking answers about an anti-Semitic documentary filmed in an UNRWA school.

The full text of the letter is below and a PDF version is available here.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

 

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Fitzpatrick Urges Senate Action on Bill to Protect School Students

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers and victims’ rights advocates on Capitol Hill Tuesday to urge the Senate to take action on legislation to protect students from sexual predators in school.

The bipartisan Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act, which passed the House last year and includes language added by Fitzpatrick, requires schools to perform background checks on all new and existing employees. Additionally, it would forbid schools from hiring persons who have been convicted of certain crimes - including violent or sexual crime against a child. The bill would close the loopholes that led to the tragic death of 12-year-old Jeremy Bell.

“The transferring of teachers known or suspected of sexual misconduct between school districts is known simply as ‘Passing the Trash’,” noted Fitzpatrick. “This shameful practice was first brought to my attention in 2006 when I learned of the story of 12-year old Jeremy Bell who was drugged, sexually abused and then murdered by his elementary school principal who had been passed between schools despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. This could have been stopped.”

In a letter of support for the legislation (attached), the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) said the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act was needed to close the loopholes that left classrooms unprotected from potential predators.

“Currently, no nationwide background check system is in place for school staff, opening up the possibility of convicted predators gaining employment in a school,” writes Jon Adler, the group’s national president. “FLEOA strongly supports this measure as an additional tripwire that could ensnare known predators that could otherwise prey upon our children in the classroom.”

Also speaking at the event was Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) who introduced the Senate version of the bill.

“Since January 1 of this year, over 325 teachers and other school employees across America have been arrested for sexual misconduct with children .That is more than one per school day,” said Sen. Toomey. “Every story represents a tragedy, a childhood shattered, and a family torn by grief, betrayal, and self-blame. I am grateful for the support of those here today that have seen, or experienced, these tragedies first-hand. As our children are going back to school, it is time for the Senate to act to keep our kids safe.”

Fitzpatrick, a member of the Congressional Victims Rights’ Caucus, father of six and husband of a teacher was optimistic about the outlook in the Senate following the event.

“The Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act passed the House unanimously last October, and I am confident that it will be met with strong bipartisan support on the Senate floor. It’s time for the Senate to act.”

Attending the event in support of the bill were: Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL); Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH); Terri Miller, S.E.S.A.M.E.; Jon Adler, FLEOA; Melissa Bōrofsky, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; Denise Edwards, CACs; Kelli Thompson, PA Partnerships for Children; David Freed, DA, Cumberland Co.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Contact Information

2400 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4276
Fax 202-225-9511
fitzpatrick.house.gov

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.


Serving With

Mike Kelly

PENNSYLVANIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Glenn Thompson

PENNSYLVANIA's 5th DISTRICT

Jim Gerlach

PENNSYLVANIA's 6th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Bill Shuster

PENNSYLVANIA's 9th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Keith Rothfus

PENNSYLVANIA's 12th DISTRICT

Charlie Dent

PENNSYLVANIA's 15th DISTRICT

Joe Pitts

PENNSYLVANIA's 16th DISTRICT

Tim Murphy

PENNSYLVANIA's 18th DISTRICT

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