Congressman Fitzpatrick Hopes For Problem Solvers Caucus Expansion Post-Election

Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Dori Dugan, former State Rep. David Steil, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Fitzpatrick and Suozzi are Vice-Chairs on the Problem Solvers Caucus. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is hoping smaller margins in the House and Senate next year will spur bipartisanship in Congress.

In an interview with WBCB News Monday, the vice chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus called these small margins an opportunity.

Democrats lost nine seats in the House and possibly more. Meantime, the GOP has seen a net loss of one seat so far. In Georgia, Democrats could potentially win both runoff seats and hold the GOP to 50 seats.

“No matter what happens in Georgia we’re going to have tightened margins in both the House and Senate. That’s a given,” said Fitzpatrick. “And any time the margins shrink, the role of the centrists, moderates, and Problem Solvers will expand.”

Supporters and members call the PSC an “independent member-driven group.” They tout bipartisanship, centrism, and closing the political divide.

Fitzpatrick has consistently said the Problem Solvers Caucus needs near 70 members to control “a bipartisan, centrist block of votes.”

Several Democratic members of the caucus lost their re-election bid. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Kendra Horn (D-OK), and others will not be returning for the 117th Congress.

But this is not the first time the Problem Solvers lost members. In the 2018 midterms, the group shed more than a dozen members, mostly Republicans.

But thanks to aspiring freshman representatives and growing interest, the caucus grew by more than it lost. It went from 46 members to in the 115th Congress to 50 in the 116th.

Fitzpatrick says this time will be no different.

“There is always going to be 435 members of the House. The makeup will always be different, the balance will always be different, but our message stays the same,” said Fitzpatrick. “We encourage people to reject the polarization of the pure ideologues on both sides, the far-left and the far-right.”

Fitzpatrick said they’re already in talks with incoming freshman to grow the caucus. Any time spent waiting post-election is time other groups in the House could catch new members’ ears.

At the same time, the results and fallout of the presidential race have not unified the country as a whole.

Fitzpatrick reiterated comments he made a week after the election regarding President-elect Joe Biden and challenges from President Donald Trump. He compared the situation to the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

“The statement I issued shortly after the election remains,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think those legal challenges should be allowed to go forward, obviously provided they are not frivolous or duplicitous.”

Fitzpatrick continued, saying the courts are the place for people, and campaigns, to seek legal relief. He added everyone should support openness and transparency.

“If the campaign has alleged irregularities they want to bring to light, they have every right to do that,” said Fitzpatrick. “And every American should want to know if that is the case or not the case.”

Fitzpatrick also stood by a letter he signed following the election criticizing Pennsylvania election officials. All nine of PA’s GOP House members signed the letter, citing “conflicts and irregularities.”

He said the voting process must allow access to everyone who is eligible to vote. But he added the people must have faith and confidence in that system.

As an example, he questioned PA Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s decision to not require signatures to match for mail-in ballots.

“That is, I believe, a very irresponsible decision because the average person out there doesn’t understand it. Nor should they understand it because it makes no sense. Why even have a signature requirement if the signatures don’t have to match?”

He also called into question the PA Supreme Court’s decision to extend the deadline for ballots to arrive from 8 p.m. Election Day to close of business the Friday after, along with other measures.

“If we’re going to do mail-in voting, there’s a right way to do mail-in voting and that requires guardrails around the system to allow the public to have confidence in the outcome.”