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Fitzpatrick Wants Russia Off Security Council

The International Criminal Court has charged Russian leader Vladimir Putin with war crimes for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia during the ongoing war with Ukraine. Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian commissioner for children’s rights, was also charged.

Russia allegedly took thousands of Ukrainian children and placed them with Russian families.

And yet Putin’s Russia remains a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Delaware Valley Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) says that must stop.

Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, said he will push to remove Russia from the United Nations Security Council.

“In light of the UN-backed inquiry finding Russia has perpetrated large-scale crimes against humanity, followed by the ICC issuing a war crimes warrant against Vladimir Putin, I will be launching an all-out effort to remove Russia from the U.N. Security Council,” Fitzpatrick said via Twitter.

It is a position some Republicans have been advocating since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has proposed a Senate resolution urging the U.N. to remove Russia from the council. There are no Democratic co-sponsors.

“Russia should be kicked off the U.N. Security Council,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas, said on Twitter. “The U.N. has become a complete joke, and this might be a good first step to correcting that problem.”

And in the wake of the invasion, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President Donald Trump, said the Biden administration “should call for Russia to be expelled immediately.”

Fitzpatrick is co-chair of the House Ukraine Caucus. Eugene Luciw, a Delaware Valley Ukrainian American leader, welcomed the Bucks County congressman’s efforts.

“The Ukrainian American community of the Delaware Valley recognizes Congressman Fitzpatrick as a staunch supporter of America’s expressly recognized ‘strategic partner,’ Ukraine,” said Luciw. “He knows, as most all Americans do, that Ukraine fights to defend Western freedom and democracy from Russian aggression.

“It fights to prevent Russia from again expanding into a restored and re-invigorated empire that will threaten to occupy and enslave all of Eastern and East-Central Europe. That will threaten world peace. It fights to restore world order and the rule of international law that makes colonial expansion by armed attack and aggression unlawful. It fights to protect its people from Russia’s heartless tactics of ethnic cleansing, mass torture, murder, and forced deportations and kidnapping of men, women, and even children and from brutal genocidal attacks on the civilian populace and its infrastructure.

Luciw added, “An avowed criminal should not have the ability, by veto, to prevent the police from protecting civilians against that criminal’s heartless criminal actions. Nor should an arsonist be able to prevent the fire department from quashing the very fire that he has started. This should be self-evident even to a casual observer. Russia should be summarily dismissed from the U.N. Security Council, as it has unclean, indeed, criminal hands.”

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Fitzpatrick Introduces Bill to Make St. Patrick’s Day a Federal Holiday

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) on Friday introduced the St. Patrick’s Day Act, a bill that if passed would designate St. Patrick’s Day as a federal holiday.

“St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the rich history and fighting spirit of the Irish people—including nearly two million in Pennsylvania—and the countless contributions that generations of Irish Americans have made to our nation,” Fitzpatrick said on his congressional website.

“As a descendant of Irish immigrants and a friend of Ireland, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to properly recognize St. Patrick’s Day as a federal holiday.”

The motion was not without at least one critic. Ashley Ehasz, a Democrat who ran against Fitzpatrick in 2022, tweeted following the announcement: “How about making Election Day a federal holiday while you’re at it, so that no one has to choose between a paycheck and their constitutional rights.” The onetime candidate accused Fitzpatrick of having “used [his] vote to crush those of others.”

Fitzpatrick wrote on Twitter on Friday afternoon that earlier he had had lunch with President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon. The event was hosted by McCarthy at the U.S. Capitol.

St. Patrick’s Day, which began as a religious holiday in the 17th century, honors the patron saint of Ireland.

Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, Patrick was kidnapped at age 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He later escaped but returned around 432 A.D. and converted the Irish to Christianity. Many legends have grown around him, including that he drove snakes out of Ireland.

The addition of a holiday to the federal schedule is a relatively rare event. The most recent addition was Juneteenth, added to the national roster in 2021 to commemorate the official cessation of slavery in the United States.

Nearly 32 million Americans—or roughly 10 percent of the population—claim Irish descent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Jewish Activists Call Out Dem Vote to Keep Omar on Key Committee

Despite her history of antisemitic statements and anti-Israel rhetoric, all three Democrats representing the Delaware Valley voted to keep controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on the Foreign Relations Committee. Now Jewish organizations are calling them out for backing someone whose antisemitism has been repeatedly called out by members of her own party.

The Republican majority, with the help of Bucks County GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, successfully removed Omar last week from the committee that plays an important role in the nation’s foreign policy, including the state of Israel.

“It’s just that her worldview of Israel is so diametrically opposed to the committee’s,” said Foreign Relations Committee chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) leading up to the vote. “I don’t mind having differences of opinion, but this goes beyond that.”

Omar’s antisemitic statements and anti-Israel stances are well known. She has claimed she is criticized for her anti-Israel positions — including supporting the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement — because of the influence of Jewish money. “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” she tweeted. She has also claimed, “Israel has hypnotized the world. May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

She has also compared the U.S. and Israel to the terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban, for which she was also rebuked by Democrats in 2021.

That wasn’t enough to stop Delaware Valley Democrats from siding with her.

”Rep. Omar immediately apologized when told by the Jewish community that her words were hurtful and put in the work to become a better ally,” said Rep. Madeline Dean on Twitter. “Her four years on House Foreign Affairs Committee have been dedicated to peace and human rights — and she should remain.”

And Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) accused the GOP of partisanship.

“Speaker McCarthy struck a corrupt bargain with MAGA extremists to get the speaker’s chair when he agreed to remove Rep. Omar from her committee. This partisan political stunt strikes a blow to the integrity of our democratic institutions.”

Interestingly, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks), who serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, declined to respond to a request for comment. In 2019, in the wake of Omar’s antisemitic comments, Houlahan publicly denounced her. “There is no place for antisemitic comments from anyone at anytime, anywhere. This is not who we are, and language which does not reflect our national values must be called out and condemned without exception,” Houlahan tweeted at the time.

But today she is silent.

The Coalition for Jewish values, which represents 2,000 American rabbis, supported taking Omar off the committee.

“We are obviously very pleased with the outcome,” said Rabbi Yakov Menken, a spokesman for the group. “It is a morally correct outcome. But we’re very distressed at the same time. Her defenders turned around and accused her critics of racism.  That is inverting bigot and victim, which is unacceptable.”

One of those who voted to retain Omar is Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh). Wild is Jewish, serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and voted to keep Omar on the committee. She did not respond to a request for comment.

Wynnewood Rabbi Yonah Gross, a regional ambassador for the Coalition for Jewish Values, was also pleased with Omar’s removal.

Omar has had antisemitic views that she “sometimes covered as being anti-Israel. But even that would be considered antisemitic. And to have her on the Foreign Affairs Committee and have access to information and influence in an area that affects Israel and allowing her bias to impact those decisions is a dangerous thing to allow.”

“She’s certainly welcome to represent her constituents, and she could be on other committees, but her antisemitic, anti-Israel bias makes her unfit to be on that committee, in my view,” said Gross.

Philadelphia Cantor Elliott Tessler also favored removing Omar from the committee.

“The last place she should be is the Committee on Foreign Relations, somebody with such strong anti-Israel feelings,” said Tessler. “I read an article this week that she was flying a Palestinian flag in her office. She’s a constant critic of Israel. That is the absolute last committee she should be on. It’s a very important committee, very powerful.”

“Martin Luther King said anti-Israel criticism is antisemitism,” said Tessler.

Cheltenham resident Myron Goldman said, “It was the right move.”

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At Bensalem Rally, Brian Fitzpatrick Boosts Oz Senate Bid

Dr. Mehmet Oz got a big boost from fellow Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick during a rally at a fire station in Bensalem, one week before Election Day.

The first-time Senate campaign appears to have momentum in the polls in the final days, but political observers say for Oz to win, he must outperform fellow Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, in politically purple places like Bucks County. Fitzpatrick, a Republican representing a district Joe Biden carried in 2020, was on hand to introduce Oz to the crowd and make the case on issues like border security and fighting crime.

“We have people trying to get into this country the right way, the legal way, like so many did at Ellis Island,” Fitzpatrick said. “And everything is broken due to the choice of the far left.”

“Without any enforcement, there is no law,” he continued. “Our police officers across America are under assault. They’re having a hard time recruiting officers and keeping the ones they have. And this is what the far left wants, folks…If nobody does (police work) they advance chaos in the streets.”

Fitzpatrick also talked about national security and Biden’s inept withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. “We all saw what transpired in Afghanistan. I have not had a pit in my stomach, since 9/11, the way that catastrophe occurred…We disrespected our American soldiers.

“And lastly, inflation. This is a big problem caused by politicians making poor decisions,” Fitzpatrick said.

Oz echoed the same issue set, urging the 250 or so supporters to talk to their friends and neighbors about those same issues: The economy, crime and the border. And then to make sure to get those folks to come out to vote next Tuesday.

Oz said when his father came to America from Turkey, “We were welcoming immigrants who would work hard to make themselves better and make our country better. And what he instilled in me is we are the land of opportunity. We are the land of plenty. The American dream lives on in me and you.”

But now, “people are struggling,” he said. “I’ve talked to seniors who don’t see their Social Security checks stretching far enough (because of) inflation. I’ve talked to young couples who can’t buy their starter house because the mortgage rates are too high now. These are self-inflicted problems. I’ve talked to families in every part of the commonwealth who fear what’s in their mailbox. They know their kids can literally order pain pills that could kill them.”

He mentioned a Chester County woman whose 32-year-old daughter died after receiving fentanyl-laced pills in the mail.

“That makes us a border state,” said Oz. “That fentanyl came across the border—an open border.” Drugs and human trafficking “have made these cartels a fortune.”

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” he said. “Why isn’t Washington getting involved? I have a diagnosis. Washington isn’t getting involved because of these extreme positions. They need a dose of Pennsylvania reality. I want to go to Washington and bring balance so we address the problems that are plaguing Pennsylvania and all around this beautiful country.”

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick with a Wawa Eagles T-shirt for Dr. Oz.

Oz said he is for “common sense” but his opponent, Democrat John Fetterman, “constantly takes extreme positions.”

And Oz added people tell him “they don’t want to be part of a social experiment.”

Fetterman wants to “raise taxes on people already feeling pain from inflation. It’s easier to raise taxes when you’re not paying taxes of your own,” he said.

Oz noted the Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed him.

“They know I have their back and they are sick and tired of far-left political leaders not supporting them,” Oz said. When he was going to medical school in West Philadelphia, he could walk to his classes.  Now “it’s too dangerous.”

“Up in North Philly a pastor said it’s easier for him to buy fentanyl than baby formula,” said Oz. “Are you kidding me? The solution is to let people do their jobs.”

“Let the police do their jobs. Let the prosecutors do their jobs,” he said. And political candidates should answer questions. And Fetterman has “taken a strong stance of letting people convicted of murder be released.”

And as for legalizing all drugs, “Oregon actually did this experiment and Fetterman supported it. There was a 50 percent increase in homicide rates…People pay with their lives.”

“I’m not a politician,” he said. “I’m a heart surgeon…I’ll unite us. I’ll bring balance and I’ll address the challenges we’re facing.”

State Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia)

State Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) was also on hand. “Here’s one thing I know for a fact: I could never support a guy who wants to let murderers and criminals out onto our streets,” she said. “We already have one of those in Philadelphia. (District Attorney Larry) Krasner. That guy’s got to go.

“John Fetterman is just the same. He wants to bring those dangerous policies to Washington and to America. And cannot afford to let that happen.”

Bucks County Republican Chair Pat Poprik also emphasized the need to vote and to bring others to the polls because this is the most important election in “our lifetime.”

“Never have our liberties and our rights been so encroached upon by a bunch of people that think they know better than you,” Poprik said. “They know what schools you should have; they know where you should shop. Well, you know what? That’s going to stop. And you know where we’re going to start that stop? Right here in Bucks County.”

Bensalem resident Andrew Tyra told Delaware Valley Journal he came to America from Poland 35 years ago and supports Oz because “he’s fighting for what we’re fighting for…The other guy can’t even make one sentence.”

Philadelphia resident Ronni Newton said she supports Oz because she is pro-life.

Jerry Adler of Warrington supports the entire Republican ticket because, “I believe in our liberties, freedom and our constitution.”

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Bucks’ Fitzpatrick Says He’s Been Threatened In Wake of Trump Raid, Calls for Calm

Noting the Biden Justice Department had taken “unprecedented action” in its raid on Mar-a-Lago, former FBI agent and current Bucks County Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick urged citizens and his congressional colleagues to “weigh the weight of their words.”

In an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Fitzpatrick said he has been contacted by the FBI and warned that “my life has been put in danger recently” in the backlash to the DOJ’s seizure of documents from the home of former President Donald Trump.

“It was an unprecedented action which needs to be supported by unprecedented justification…this has never happened before in our county’s history,” said Fitzpatrick. “Was there unprecedented justification? That remains an open question, and we know exactly where to look and that was the affidavit of probable cause and that document remains under seal.

“Because we don’t have that information I encourage all my colleagues on the left and the right to reserve judgment and not get ahead of themselves because we do not know what that document may contain. It’s going to answer a lot of questions,” he said.

The Bucks County Republican urged calm, telling host Margaret Brennan he is concerned about threats of violence to his former colleagues after the names of the FBI agents who searched former Trump’s Florida home were revealed.

“Everybody needs to call for calm across the board. And everybody needs to respect our law enforcement whether it be local, state or federal,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m very concerned for the safety of our law enforcement officers.”

“I myself have been notified by the bureau that my life was put in danger recently by some of these same people, and violence is never the answer to anything,” he said.

Asked about the rhetoric of some Republicans in the wake of the DOJ’s actions, Fitzpatrick said the problem is bipartisan.

“It’s all my colleagues, and we’ve seen disrespect across the political spectrum, which I’ve mentioned with local law enforcement, the Supreme Court, and federal law enforcement. None of it is okay. None of it,” he said.

Fitzpatrick mentioned the 2017 attack on the Republican Congress members at a baseball practice by a Bernie Sanders supporter, the recent threats to U.S. Supreme Court members after Roe v. Wade was overturned, as well as threats to law enforcement during the riots of 2020.

Fitzpatrick has been offering measured responses to the Mar-a-Lago raid since the news first broke. “As the only FBI agent in Congress, I’ve been getting many inquiries regarding tonight’s reported enforcement action at Mar-a-Lago,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement last Monday. “I will get to the bottom of this, will follow the facts wherever they lead and will report with unimpeachable integrity. I will get to the truth.”

His Democratic opponent, government and public service sector consultant Ashley Ehasz, says that is not enough.

“So now, all of a sudden, he wants to ‘get to the truth,’ after he voted against the Jan. 6th Committee and voted against impeaching Trump twice? As a combat veteran, I was deeply disturbed by Trump’s narrative that the election was ‘stolen,’ but this former FBI agent helped cast doubt on the election results by sending a letter to the Governor alleging election fraud when it was clear the results were sound,” Ehasz said.

Asked by CBS’s Brennan about the receipt showing Trump had classified and top secret and above in boxes in his home, Fitzpatrick said, “Nobody is claiming, certainly I’m not, that it’s okay to have classified information outside of a SCIF (Secure Compartmented Information Facility). I know that better than anybody, given my former profession and current committee assignment.

“But the problem is the administration is disputing a lot of what’s being publicly reported, so the affidavit will answer that question. It will be able to tell us who is providing this information. Is it the prior administration or the current administration? We need to get that clarified.”

Brennan asked whether it would be appropriate to release it now, during an active investigation.

“I would say at the very least, Margaret, for the public consumption, they can certainly bring it into the SCIF to bring it to our house intelligence committee members,” he said. “We, after all, do have oversight over the entire intelligence apparatus. So that’s what’s puzzling to us.”


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Poll Shows Dem Challenger Might Beat Rep. Fitzpatrick Over Abortion Issue

Will the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade shape the 2022 midterms?

One of the first tests of how public sentiment came in a poll in the First Congressional District race in Bucks County, a seat held by incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

Democratic challenger Ashley Ehasz hopes to capitalize on the anger that has energized many pro-choice voters since the Supreme Court’s decision last Friday. The poll, conducted by Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group, found Fitzpatrick leads Ehasz by 7 points with 18 percent undecided. However, when voters were told Fitzpatrick “wants to restrict abortion rights, even if the woman’s life is in danger and in most cases of rape and incest,” the results changed to a 10-point lead for Ehasz, a first-time candidate.

“This just echoes the conversations I have had with people at rallies and knocking doors since Friday’s announcement, which is that when voters learn their congressman had the opportunity to protect their right to an abortion and he refused to, they feel betrayed,” said Ehasz. “Fitzpatrick could have voted to codify Roe v. Wade, but instead he washed his hands of it, and sided with the most extreme members of his party. People feel abandoned, and rightly so.”

Not so fast, the Fitzpatrick campaign countered.

“The language in this partisan poll’s script pertaining to Brian’s voting record on abortion is categorically false, and they know it. This push poll is nothing more than a desperate fundraising ploy from a flailing campaign intended to mislead voters in an attempt to make their campaign relevant,”  said Nancy McCarty,  a Fitzpatrick campaign spokesperson.

According to Global Strategy Group, the poll also shows that 44 percent of voters said they disapproved of Fitzpatrick’s job performance while 33 percent approve. That included 40 percent of Republicans approving with 37 percent disapproving.

The pollsters surveyed 626 likely 2022 General Election voters in the First Congressional District on June 24 and 25. The findings have a margin of error of +/-3.9 percent.

Still, Christopher Nicholas, a veteran Republican consultant, said Ehasz will have a tough time beating incumbent Fitzpatrick.

“Her poll shows that when people find out Fitzpatrick is pro-life and she is pro-choice, her vote percentage goes up above his. Trouble is, no one knows who she is and that won’t be the only issue that the campaigns will talk about,” Nicholas said. “In addition to having no name ID she also has no money, so she has a hard road in front of her.”

Ehasz graduated from West Point and is an Iraq War veteran. She is a former Apache helicopter pilot and company commander. A Bensalem resident, she left the Army to study for a master’s degree at Oxford University.

Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, was embedded with U.S. Special Forces as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the 117th Congress, he was elected co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. Fitzpatrick is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment, and Cyber, and he was appointed by House leadership to currently serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and as a Commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

He also serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and co-chairs the bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force.

In addition to being an attorney, Fitzpatrick is both a  certified public accountant and a certified emergency medical technician.

“As state legislatures across America begin to consider legislation on this extremely sensitive topic in response to today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, I urge all state legislatures to always start from a place of empathy and compassion,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement released after the decision.

“Any legislative consideration must start with the process of seeing the world through other people’s eyes, and walking the world in other people’s shoes. Any legislative consideration must always seek to achieve bipartisan consensus that both respects a woman’s privacy and autonomy, and also respects the sanctity of human life. These principles are not mutually exclusive; both can and must be achieved,” he said.


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Fitzpatrick Introduces Bill to Boost Domestic Rare Earth Production 

As new energy technologies increase demand for rare earth elements and materials, one local congressman is touting a proposal to increase domestic production.

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) and New Jersey Democrat Rep. Josh Gotthemier recently announced the Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths (REEShore) Act. The legislation is a companion to a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate.

It seeks to strengthen the Department of Defense’s rare earth element reserves, according to a statement from Fitzpatrick’s office. Backers of the bill hope to decrease reliance on China. In 2021, 78 percent of rare earth imports were from China, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“We cannot let the Chinese Communist Party continue to benefit from supplying our country with necessary rare earth materials,” Fitzpatrick said. “We will decrease our reliance on the CCP for these resources and will allow the United States to resume its rightful position as a leader in rare earth elements production.”

China’s dominance in the production of rare earth elements has made a once-sleepy issue prominent, according to Bojeong Kim, associate professor at the Earth and Environmental Science Department at Temple University.

“China has been a really big player for rare earth elements,” she said. “The awareness is that now the U.S. government has started to realize to rely on China on these issues is not reliable.”

The concern is that if China were to cut countries off of their rare earth supply, it could spark a crisis. The U.S. Geological Survey reported China accounted for 60 percent globally of rare earth mining production in 2021, up slightly from 2020. So boosting domestic production is a national security issue on the minds of legislators.

Rare earths are especially in demand right now as the U.S. looks toward different renewable energies. They are essential in wind turbines, solar cells, and electrical vehicle creation. The material is also important in smartphone, television, and computer production.

“These elements are good for high-performance applications,” Kim said. “Magnets, aircraft engines, something that’s part of our lives. It’s just that we don’t think that they require the presence of rare-earth elements.”

The Senate version of the bill looks to establish a strategic rare earth metal and products reserve. Additionally, it seeks to restrict rare earth metals processed or refined in China from entering the country.

Conor Bernstein, a spokesperson for the National Mining Association, called the REEShore Act an important first step in making the U.S. more resource independent.

“Now is the moment to take strong action to re-shore this critical piece of our industrial base,” Bernstein told DVJournal. “While this legislation focuses on rare earths, we hope Congress will acknowledge and act quickly to address our unnecessary dependence on imports for a wide range of minerals that are domestically available.”

Bernstein’s additional statement reflects the battle currently ongoing at the national level. Many environmentalists want to protect lands from harmful mining procedures, while simultaneously many of the minerals needed for renewable energy processes that environmentalists support, must be mined.

That was why Kim said a focus of research right now is discovering a new mining technique that would be more environmentally friendly.

“We are trying to come up with different ways of mining, which is not as effective as the traditional mining processes that we have,” she said. “We have these elements, but we are not going to mine them in the way we used to.”

Kim added governments are looking into localized reservoirs to see how mining can be facilitated at individual locations.

Fitzpatrick is not the first local representative to elevate the issue of rare earth minerals. Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) introduced the Securing America’s Rare Earths Supply Act of 2019 in the previous Congress and supported an amendment to the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act surrounding rare earths.

While a spokesperson for Houlahan could not say if she would support the bill or not until the legislation’s text is available, she reaffirmed Houlahan’s focus on the issue and expressed interest in the proposal.

“Rep. Houlahan is committed to securing our supply chains, and ensuring that critical resources like rare earths can’t be monopolized by China,” the spokesperson said. “The bill co-leads are colleagues of Rep. Houlahan on the Problem Solvers Caucus, and she looks forward to seeing final text and working with them in a bipartisan fashion.”


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Southeast PA Key Battlefield In National GOP’s Hopes to Flip House

In Washington, D.C. Republicans only need five more seats to win control of the House. And they could pick up two of them in southeast Pennsylvania, strategists say.

As President Joe Biden’s poll numbers plunge, GOP hopes are rising for pick-ups in PA-6—currently represented by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan—and PA-7, where incumbent Democrat Susan Wild’s seat has already been labeled “lean Republican” by the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

At the same time, perennial Democratic hopes of taking out GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in the Biden-friendly First Congressional District have largely faded.

According to the data analysis website FiveThirtyEight, redistricting made Wild’s district more difficult to hold. Picking up Berks County was not ideal for Rep. Wild, nor was losing Stroudsburg—a borough in Monroe County that is a Democratic stronghold, said Charlie O’Neill, grassroots programs coordinator for the Leadership Institute.

Wild’s district is now considered one of the state’s three competitive congressional races, including races for an open seat in Beaver County and incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), according to FiveThirtyEight.

Although Fitzpatrick is a perennial target by the Democrats with his Biden-backing district, Samantha Bullock with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said Republicans feel confident. Fitzpatrick’s opponent, 33-year-old army veteran Ashley Ehasz, has run a lackluster campaign, Bullock said, while Fitzpatrick has survived far more Democratic-friendly election cycles.

Federal Election Commission filings show Ehasz has $77,976 on hand, while incumbent Fitzpatrick has close to $1.4 million.

Wild may have twice the amount of cash as her Republican challenger Lisa Scheller, but veteran Democrat strategist TJ Rooney said this will be a difficult election cycle for the incumbent.

“Folks who have been elected in the last four or six years had nothing but favorable conditions to run as a Democrat,” Rooney said. “This time, the president has a very low approval rating and Americans, by and large, think the nation is heading in the wrong direction.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has both Houlahan and Wild in their “Frontline” program, a sign they believe the seats are at risk. Houlahan apparently believes it, too. Last week she hosted her 60th town hall meeting.

“Of all of the more recently elected members from Pennsylvania, she’s the head of the class,” Rooney said. “She’s done the things at home that will enable her to win this year.”

O’Neill isn’t so sure. Houlahan’s challenger, former Chester County Chamber of Commerce president Guy Ciarrocchi won a tough, competitive primary and is an experienced political player. And his background in the business community gives him credibility on the economic issues dominating this election cycle.

Both Houlahan and Wild voted with Biden 100 percent of the time, FiveThirtyEight reports, not a positive when the president’s approval is around 40 percent in most polls.

“It’s going to be hard for Wild to talk about the pocketbook and kitchen table issues when her president is largely responsible for inflation, O’Neill said.

Wild’s opponent, Scheller, serves as president and chairman of her family’s manufacturing company. She ran against Wild in 2020 and lost by 4 points.

Adding Carbon County and removing the majority of Monroe County will make Wild’s pathway more difficult, Bullock said.

“In 2020, Donald Trump won Carbon County with 65 percent of the vote as opposed to his 44 percent in Monroe County, which is now almost entirely eliminated from the new district,” Bullock said. “If Scheller mirrored Trump’s 2020 performance in Carbon County, she would have defeated Wild in 2020 due to her performance in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.”

Wild also faces a $50,000 ad campaign organized by the Pennsylvania Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania targeting Hispanic voters in her district. It is the first Spanish-language advertising from the right in Pennsylvania, according to Chris Mundiath, the group’s chairman.

“We are investing in reaching the Latino community in areas like the Lehigh Valley and Hazleton where we can really make a difference,” Mundiath said. “Democrats will no longer have a stranglehold over our demographic in our commonwealth. We are ready to lead the movement.”

Lehigh County has the state’s largest Hispanic population at 26 percent, according to the Pennsylvania State Data Center. Wild won the county by a 6-point margin.

Back in Chester County, Ciarrocchi laid out a mantra voters are likely to hear again and again between now and November.

“This election is a referendum. If you like $5 gas, paying up to 40 percent more for groceries, rising crime rates, unsecured borders, our children being used as political pawns, and Russia and China growing in power, vote for Congresswoman Houlahan. She supported every single policy that brought us to this dangerous place.”


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Putin Bans Brian Fitzpatrick From Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin is known to have a long list of enemies. So long, it reaches all the way to Bucks County, Pa.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) is on Putin’s list of people banished from Russia’s borders, along with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The list is both lengthy and impressive. It features people from many walks of life: Politicians, business executives — even acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman made the list of 963 people who are now banned from entering Russia.

Perhaps the most unexpected name is Fitzpatrick’s brother Mike. A former congressman himself, Mike passed away in 2020 after a battle with cancer. Both Brian Fitzpatrick and his brother were outspoken supporters of Ukraine.

“The current landscape in Russia is one that is ruled by a murderous war criminal who denies its citizens basic human and civil rights, imprisons peaceful protesters, and indoctrinates its citizens with state-controlled propaganda,” Fitzpatrick told the Delaware Valley Journal.

Despite massive sanctions from the U.S., the E.U., and the West, Putin has continued waging war against Ukraine, an assault that has now lasted more than 100 days. His army is facing accusations of war crimes in its attempts to secure some of Ukraine’s cities. Buildings have been bombed, entire towns have been leveled and promises of safe passage have been violated. Children and the elderly have been among the civilian casualties. Fitzpatrick has been supportive of the measures that Biden has taken so far in its attempts to cripple the Russian economy, but argues America should do more.

“As long as Vladimir Putin is leading Russia, the entire world should boycott them and not contribute a single dime to their economy,” said Fitzpatrick.

While Putin is not making many friends in the U.S., a study conducted by Statista last month found 80 percent approved of Putin’s leadership. However, many critics have suspicions as to how accurate polls taken inside a state such as Russia can be.

Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick continues his fight against Russia and its treatment of Ukraine.

“I encourage everyone on Putin’s ‘ban list’ to join me in visiting Ukraine to meet a real leader like Volodymyr Zelenskyy, someone who shares our values and defends freedom and democracy in Ukraine and across the globe,” said Fitzpatrick.


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DelVal Democrats Jump on Gun Control Band Wagon

Democrats in the Delaware Valley congressional delegation are on board with a gun-control package being considered during a House Judiciary Committee emergency hearing this week, calling the proposals “common-sense, constitutional measures” that could prevent future tragedies.

The panel is expected to consider an omnibus package of eight bills, dubbed the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” during a mark-up session Thursday before a full House vote.

It comes in the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, where gunmen killed more than 30 people.

The bills contain proposals to raise the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, ban high capacity magazines, require a registry for bump stocks, and tighten federal firearms regulations to apply to so-called “ghost guns.”

It would establish new safe home firearms storage requirements and provide a tax credit to those who purchase the secure storage devices.

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) called the proposals “common sense” legislation that could help avert future shootings like the one in Texas that claimed 19 schoolkids and two teachers.

That massacre came after 18-year-old Payton Gendron gunned down 10 Black grocers at the Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., in a hate-fueled attack that was streamed online.

“Our duty in Congress is to protect America’s kids—not gun manufacturers’ profits,” Scanlon told Delaware Valley Journal. “I refuse to sit back and watch preventable tragedies play out day after day, year after year. It’s not just horrific mass shootings like those in Buffalo and Uvalde but also the gun violence that wreaks havoc on our communities, unchecked, every day.

“We are not hopeless. We can change this. The ‘Protecting, Our Kids Act’ includes common sense, constitutional measures to address a range of steps we can take right now to prevent gun violence. There is no single magical solution to end the epidemic of gun violence, but there’s much we can do.

“The only unacceptable response is inaction. I look forward to beginning the markup process for this package and invite all of my colleagues — on both sides of the aisle — to show the American people that they’re serious about saving lives,” she said.

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to vote on the bills next week, CBS News reported.

The package faces long odds in the evenly-divided Senate, with most Republicans likely opposed to sweeping gun control measures. And President Joe Biden has not helped, making repeated gaffes that critics say feed fears among Second Amendment advocates. For example, Biden said there is no “rational basis” to own guns that fire 9-millimeter ammunition — among the most common weapons in the country.

“The .22 caliber bullet will lodge in the lungs, and we can get it out. A 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body. The idea of a high caliber weapon, there is simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting,” Biden said.

The White House was forced to walk back his statement and assure the public the president doesn’t support a ban on handgun sales.

Tim Mack, a spokesman for Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery), called the House proposals “incredibly vital.” He added the gunman in Buffalo had “no business at that age having access” to what Biden called “weapons of war.”

“We think that it’s something that’s incredibly vital given the two previous mass shootings. They bring us all a lot of sadness,” Mack said.

Aubrey Suber, a spokeswoman for Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Berks/Chester), said Houlahan supports the gun control bill.

“Sadly, there are too many elected officials who have accepted this uniquely American tragedy as inevitable,” Houlahan posted on her website. “But we can prevent this. We can prevent town names from being forever remembered by bloodshed and tragedy; first responders from walking into carnage; parents shrieking after learning their child didn’t survive. And we have the roadmap to do it.”

“It starts with passing universal background checks, a commonsense reform that over 90 percent of Americans agree on,” she said. “The refusal of Republicans in the Senate to consider this legislation is, in no uncertain terms, deadly. I stand ready, again, to work with my colleagues on action of any kind and show our students and educators we care. To the small number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle willing to find a way forward: thank you.”

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) did not respond to requests for comment outlining his position on the proposed gun reform package.

However, Fitzpatrick released a statement following the Uvlade tragedy offering condolences to the families of the victims and calling on lawmakers to “find a solution” to the nation’s gun issue.

“You can never truly adjust to the loss of a loved one’s life that has ended too soon. My prayers are with the families of those who died, and I hope that we can work together as a country to find a solution that protects our children and citizens from the evils of unnecessary violence,” he said.

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