Just a few hours before the polls close, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick sat down with WBCB for an exclusive interview. The discussion covered many topics including his vote for president, the rise of China, ANTIFA, and the character of the United States.
In 2016, Congressman Fitzpatrick cast his ballot for Vice President Mike Pence. This year, he voted for President Donald Trump.
However, the representative from Levittown made it clear his vote was based on two main policy issues. He views both candidates as “having their flaws.”
“Neither candidate is perfect. We all know that. I think everybody in this country agrees with that.”
However, Fitzpatrick cited the rise of China and the rise in advocacy of socialism as his two fears. He noted socialist policies have become more acceptable and commonplace in both chambers of Congress over the past two years.
When asked if candidate for Vice President Kamala Harris fit this category, he responded saying she is free to define herself.
“Do I think she has socialist views? Yes I do,” Fitzpatrick said. And on Joe Biden:
“I think Joe Biden is a good man. I think most people who know him or met him feel that way. But the concern here is that Joe Biden is an old school Democrat who has been trying to morph to the new caucus that he is seeking to lead.”
The second term congressman added America is unique from every country in the world because it has chosen freedom over socialism.
As for specific policies, he clarified he believes in Medicare, Medicaid, and that each person who works a 40 hour week should earn a living wage. Fitzpatrick said this minimum wage should be based on the state or local economy instead of a federal dictate.
Fitzpatrick also further elaborated on China as a growing rival to the United States. He expressed concerns their growing influence had become political.
“They are a threat and I think we need to take that seriously.”
Fitzpatrick listed a litany of problems with the Chinese government including the Belt and Road initiative, Huawei and aspirations for 5G dominance, manufacturing of islands in the South China Sea, an expanding influence in Africa, currency manipulation, and intellectual property theft.
While Fitzpatrick said he wanted to be transparent about who he voted for, he said many of his colleagues never answer this question. Additionally, he added the caveat that his vote for president is separate from his work in Congress.
“My vote for any office holder is my personal vote. My vote on the floor of the House is my vote for the district.”
Fitzpatrick delved into the history of the crossing of the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War as his favorite local moment in history.
The congressman recalled Headquarters Farm, where General George Washington planned the Battle of Trenton, and the famous painting of these events. He used it as an allegory for the American spirit.
He noted the painting is not historically accurate. It was night time when Washington’s Army crossed, different boats were used, and Washington’s boat includes people who artist Emanual Leutze had never seen.
In the boat are 13 people, each representing an American colony. Additionally there is an African American, a Native American, a woman, and a Scotsman.
“That’s who he thought would have been in the boat on that night. People from all different backgrounds, all in the same boat, all going in the same direction.”
Fitzpatrick continued, saying he views ANTIFA and socialism as a threat to this ideal.
“I think if people are being honest about this election, and they look at what’s being advocated by the left, it’s very concerning. The fact that a “Defund the Police” movement is even being mildly entertained by the left to me is beyond troubling.”
When asked if he believed he would win in the PA-01 Congressional race this year, Fitzpatrick answered quickly and confidently.
“Yes, I do,” he said. “No doubt about it.”
He added the campaign this election cycle was very different, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fitzpatrick then transitioned to how the pandemic is impacting people.
“The physical health consequences, the psychological and emotional health consequences, its impact on opioid addiction and suicide rates, the economic consequences which are significant, the impacts on parents and school children – how we’re educating our kids and how they deal with child care. It’s completely transformed so many aspects of life and therefore so many issues we talk about.”
When asked if there were any bills or pieces of legislation he wish had made it across the finish line, he gave two prime examples.
First, he stated there was approximately $140 billion in CARES Act funding still on the table. However, he said the deadline for spending it had passed because Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi failed to add an extension.
“For all the wrong reasons, for political reasons. Because she didn’t want a signing ceremony in the Rose Garden before the election. That is a terrible reason not to help people.”
Second, he wished the RESTAURANTS Act had passed. Despite having more than 210 co-sponsors, and bills only needing 218 votes to pass, Pelosi never brought the bill to a vote.”
“This is a bill that would have provided direct relief to perhaps the most hardest hit industry in our country. I can’t go to a restaurant without the owner or manager stopping at my table and begging for help.”
He expressed concern for local restaurant owners especially as the weather gets colder. Fitzpatrick said it was “very frustrating” how important decisions are being stymied for purely political purposes.
He also said single issue legislation is vital to making progress. However, he recognized it would take a Speaker and a majority leader willing to put aside political gain.
Fitzpatrick cited his own single issue legislation, including a constitutional amendment for term limits. The conversation then transitioned to the Problem Solvers Caucus.
The congressman serves as Vice Chair on the caucus and hopes it will expand to be “the new governing majority in Congress.” The body now has about 50 members. Once it grows to about 65 to 70 members, Fitzpatrick said they would control “a bipartisan, centrist block of votes.”
Near the closing of the conversation, Fitzpatrick answered how he viewed failed primary candidate Andy Meehan advocating for Republicans to turn their backs on Fitzpatrick. He saw Meehan’s approach as “misguided.”
He observed how leftist activist and Meehan had “come full circle.”
“They don’t like or appreciate independent thinking,” said Fitzpatrick. “I stand by the people in this district, and it’s a majority of people in this district, who just want government to work the way personal relationships work.”
For Fitzpatrick, this included listening and not allowing the “perfect to be the enemy of the good.”
“For some reason these fringe groups on the left and the right don’t take that perspective. And I don’t think it’s a healthy perspective.”