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Mike Fitzpatrick: Dems’ Favorite Target

PA Dems and the DCCC hammer Fitz over fact-checking by local paper.

By Nicole Houck, Contributing Writer

Representative Mike Fitzpatrick seems to be making a controversial name for himself on the political stage lately. The Congressman faced charges this week that he cast a vote to send American jobs overseas, then accused by a local paper of giving a misstatement about it. The DCCC and PA Dems were keen to talk about it. Fitzpatrick seems to have landed himself at the top of the PA Dems list of favorite targets.

“Mike Fitzpatrick can’t follow the rules, and he can’t seem to shake the cloud of scandal and errors that has followed him back into office,” said Mark Nicastre, a spokesman with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

The PA Dems sent out a release detailing an article (excerpt at the bottom of the article) by the Bucks County Courier Times which fact-checked a statement by Fitzpatrick, and determined that his statement was false.

“First, Representative Mike Fitzpatrick got caught holding a fundraiser in the Capitol and tried to hide it, and now he gets caught voting against a bill to stop spending taxpayer money on corporations that ship American jobs overseas, and lies about it.  Representative Fitzpatrick already built a record of voting to send Pennsylvania jobs overseas during his last stint in Congress, so this can hardly be chalked up as a rookie mistake,” said DCCC spokesman Josh Schwerin. According to Schwerin, this week’s vote wasn’t the first time Fitzpatrick has voted to send jobs overseas.

But is Fitzpatrick really just a casualty of political gamesmanship? Spokesman Darren Smith laid out why he thought Dems’ charge was unfair.

“It was a motion to recommit. There are three ways to amend a bill: you can do it through the committee mark up process which is open and transparent for everyone to see, you can do it as filing an actual amendment to the bill, or you can do it as this motion to recommit which is what the Democrats did in this situation,” Smith charged.

“They threw it up at the last minute. There was literally ten minutes to review any language before it was voted on. That’s essentially what happened. So, it was not put forth any kind of transparent method. It was not put through any kind of amendment process. It was thrown up as a roadblock to the bill.”

While it is true that Rep. Fitzpatrick only had 10 minutes to look at the Motion to Recommit, it is also true that if the Congressman was interested in the amendment receiving fair consideration, he could have asked the Rules Committee to allow the amendment to be made in order under the rule passed prior to consideration of the bill or he could have voted against the rule for the bill (he voted in favor of the rule passed by the Rules Committee without the amendment). He did not do either so the Democrats only recourse for offering the amendment was the Motion to Recommit.

It’s a familiar role for Smith, who’s been asked for comment on several rounds of DCCC advertising in his district, as well as ads by Planned Parenthood, all critical of Fitzpatrick.

And given the swing nature of the Bucks County-based 8th district, it’s a role that’s likely to continue.

From the PA Dems’ release:

Fitzpatrick erred on jobs bill (Bucks County Courier Times) Two weeks ago, while defending his vote not to penalize companies that ship jobs overseas, Bucks County Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick said the motion defeated in January would have sent the full bill back to committee, where it would have been killed. And since it was tied to House Resolution 38, which allowed Republicans to cut federal spending, the GOP would have been prevented from slicing the budget. It turns out, that’s not the case.

Managing Editor Keegan Gibson contributed to this report.

3 Responses

  1. How are they going to shore up his seat?

    The MontCo and Philadelphia sections are only five percent of the district. They could cut part of Lower Bucks and add some more of the Indian Valley (farther North in MontCo) or some of the rural parts of the Lehigh Valley that are more conservative, but that makes Charlie Dent more vulnerable.

    And besides, there is strong institutional pressure on the R side to keep Bucks County together.

    This is going to continue to be a swing district.

  2. This shows how shortsighted the dems are. Do they really think that during re-districting the R’s aren’t going to shore up fitzpatricks seat? This is an r seat for the next decade.

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