Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick


Congressman's Notebook 10.12.16


“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. 

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Fitzpatrick Issues Statement on ‘Right to Try’ Legislation


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.


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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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On America's Drug and Opioid Epidemic


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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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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