by Peg Dissinger
Time and time again, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick refers to himself as “your independent voice.” As you’ll see, there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary.
We all remember—or should remember—the financial disaster at the end of George W. Bush’s term. There were many important reforms enacted so that the excesses that led to that financial disaster would not happen again. Currently, some of those reforms are being savaged by Republicans in Congress. Rep. Fitzpatrick voted “yes” to all of the following bills:
HJ Resolution 111: This resolution allows credit card companies, financial institutions, payday lenders and the like to continue to require arbitration to resolve disputes. Therefore, the only way consumers wronged by the system can seek redress is via arbitration with company-selected arbitrators who make the final decision.
HR 985: This act makes it harder for wronged consumers to file class action lawsuits.
HR 10: This bill ends many of the consumer protections afforded by the Dodd-Frank Act and also allows Congress to defund the Consumer Protection Bureau established by that act.
With respect to the above consumer protection legislation, the score for Congressman Fitzpatrick is Corporate Interests: 3; Average Guy: 0.
Our “independent voice” seems to represent himself as concerned with the environment. However, this supposed “independent voice” sometimes flip-flops, voting against his Republican party’s proposals against environmental regulations but then voting against Democrat proposals that seek to undo some of the negative effects of the original bill. For example, HR 806 proposes to extend the deadline for adoption of stricter standards for reducing ground level concentrations of smog and other serious air pollutants. He voted against it.
Good for him, but then he voted to oppose a Democrat amendment to HR 806 that would have prevented it from taking effect if EPA scientists concluded its adoption would raise health risks to vulnerable populations such as children, seniors, pregnant women, etc. His second vote negated his first vote; thus, he can claim both sides of the issue.
That’s not independence, that’s trying to have it both ways.
Fitzpatrick touts his principled vote against the Republican “Repeal and Replace of the ACA” bill, and for that I applaud him. However, future votes on health issues often serve to counter that vote. HR 806: As noted above, his votes on both sides of the issues essentially allowed the negative health effects of pollution to continue.
CHIP—Children’s Health Insurance Program—pays for children’s health care coverage when not provided elsewhere. Fitzpatrick voted to pay for it, but from cuts to the ACA Preventive Care outlays, which is an interesting “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul” contradiction.
HR 1215: Fitzpatrick voted for this bill, which limits the amount of medical malpractice awards to people on Medicaid, Medicare or who get their insurance through the ACA Marketplace. I guess Fitzpatrick feels it’s OK to be entitled to large medical malpractice awards only if you’re already rich.
Another example of Fitzpatrick’s lack of independence is his vote for HR 1181.This bill requires patient-by-patient judicial review before the Veterans Administration can submit the name of a mentally unstable individual to the FBI for inclusion in background checks regarding the ability of said patient to purchase firearms. Only the NRA and the gun manufacturers would like this bill.
The above examples of votes by Fitzpatrick illustrate that while he is our congressman, he is not our “independent voice” in Congress.
Peg Dissinger is a resident of Newtown Township