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Bucks Co. GOP Chair Believes Party Will Unite by November

How divided is the Bucks County GOP?

The county’s Republican primary voters gave an unknown, first-time candidate, pro-life candidate Mark Houck, 37 percent of the vote in his challenge to incumbent Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. It reflects the divide between the more MAGA and moderate wings of the GOP.

Will that hurt Fitzpatrick or former President Donald Trump in the general election this November?

Bucks County GOP Chair Pat Poprik said it is not unusual for Fitzpatrick to have a primary opponent.

“That’s really normal for a district that’s so different,” she said. Bucks County is closely divided between Republicans, at 196,311, and Democrats, at 197,883. Some 80,624 voters are unaffiliated or belong to other parties.

“Even in the Republican Party, there are some differences,” she said. “But come November, [Fitzpatrick] wins by 10 or 13 points. I mean, a lot of congressmen would love to have that number in November. Brian does have the right positions for this county.”

Fitzpatrick has been ranked the most bipartisan member of Congress, which makes him a good match for the purple county.

“In the general, where it matters, he gets the independent vote. He gets tons of Democrat votes. That’s being representative, and that’s doing his job,” said Poprik.

In the most recent episode of the Delaware Valley Journal podcast, Commonwealth Foundation Senior Fellow Guy Ciarrocchi said Houck was running against “the status quo” as much as against Fitzpatrick.

“And Mark had a personal story he needed to tell that he’s genuinely concerned about.” Houck was arrested and tried for a shoving incident during his pro-life ministry at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia. A federal court jury acquitted him.

“You may not like him, but there was a genuineness,” said Ciarrocchi. “And there, what happened to him in real life happened, whether you think it was necessary right or wrong, it happened. So, I think people rallied to him because of his personal story.

“And then the other part is, look, every two years, there are Republicans who want to express their dissatisfaction with Brian Fitzpatrick, that he doesn’t behave more like other Republicans. So this is sort of ritualistic. Conservative Republicans express their dissatisfaction. Brian gets the message, and he has usually been very effective at unifying while at the same time reaching out to independents and Democrats to get himself to 52 or 53 percent [of the vote].

Bellevue Communications Vice President Jeff Jubelirer agreed.

“I’d say that’s a pretty good night for Brian, actually,” said Jubelirer.  Many Republican primary voters are pro-life, he noted.  “I think [Fitzpatrick] threads that needle well.  He does get Democrat and independent support because he delivers.”

This November, Fitzpatrick will again face Democrat Ashley Ehasz, who ran against him in 2022 and lost by nearly 10 points, at 44.91 percent to 55.04.

“The only way I see Brian losing it today, you ask me (again) in the fall, is if Trump goes down by more than a few points, and then there’s some coattails perhaps,” said Jubelirer. “But Bucks is not Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, as we know. It’s very purple. So, I see Brian as very difficult to beat.”

In a statement after the primary, Fitzpatrick said, “There has been one guiding principle that has motivated me from the very first day that I decided to run for Congress: my firm, unequivocal, and unshakable belief in bipartisanship and two-party solutions to address the challenges that the good people of our community face each and every day.

‘To the very core of my being, I believe in bringing people together. I’m asking everyone in our community to join us in leading our People’s Movement of bipartisanship, center-forward problem-solving, and fighting against the bigotry of hyper-partisanship and extremist ideological purity that is destroying our nation. We need to be one community, now more than ever.’

Houck thanked his supporters on Facebook.

“Your encouragement, donations, and volunteered time have been invaluable. A special thanks to my beautiful family—through unimaginable experiences, you have been my rock. I believe God has guided us through this election, and I eagerly await the outcome. God Bless America,” Houck said.

Ciarracchi believes the party will unite to reelect Fitzpatrick and Trump and to elect Dave McCormick for the U.S. Senate, as well as other GOP candidates.

“At the end of the day, conservative Republicans understand that it’s a binary choice. Do you want [Democratic Minority Leader] Hakeem Jeffries to be speaker or not?” Ciarracchi asked.

 

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No Debate Scheduled Between Fitzpatrick and Houck

The Delaware Valley Journal erroneously reported that a debate had been scheduled for Sunday night between Republican challenger Mark Houck and Congressman Brian Fritzpatrick (R-Pa.). No debate has been scheduled between them.

The Delaware Valley Journal regrets the error.

 

DelVal Dems Reject Bipartisan ‘Laken Riley Act’

On Thursday, the U.S. House passed the Laken Riley Act, a bill named for a young Georgia student who was killed while jogging on campus, allegedly by an illegal immigrant.

The bipartisan bill passed 251-170, with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) voting for it and all three Delaware Valley Democratic congresswomen –Mary Gay Scanlon, Madeleine Dean and Chrissy Houlahan—voting against it. All the no votes came from Democrats; 37 other Democrats voted for the measure.

“Congress must do everything it can to prevent another parent from losing his or her child,” Fitzpatrick told DVJournal. “Laken Riley’s death never would have occurred if our borders were properly secured and immigration laws enforced. I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to find a solution to protect our borders.”

Scanlon, Dean, and Houlahan did not respond to requests for comment.

The bill would require that any illegal immigrant who committed burglary, larceny, shoplifting, or theft be detained.

The murder of the 22-year-old nursing student, allegedly by an illegal immigrant, on the University of Georgia campus shocked the country.

Jose Antonio Ibarra, a Venezuelan who came to the U.S. illegally, was charged with her murder.

Congressman Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) posted on social media, “Laken Riley was murdered in cold blood by Jose Ibarra – an illegal alien who had committed previous crimes in NY. This NEVER should have happened & today, we voted to to ensure ALL criminal illegals like Ibarra will be arrested & detained. 170 Democrats STILL voted against this.”

Along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) taking the immigrants charged with crimes into custody, the act allows state attorneys general to litigate against Homeland Security to enforce the removal requirements in the act.

The resolution was introduced by Georgia Rep. Mike Collins (R).

“While we can’t bring Laken back, we must now turn our focus to doing everything we can to prevent this from happening to another American,” Collins said in a statement. Collins had invited Riley’s parents to come to the State of the Union with him, but they declined.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said on social media, “170 House Democrats just voted against the Laken Riley Act, refusing to require the detention and deportation of illegal immigrants who have been caught committing a crime. Sadly, if these Democrats have their way, there will be more victims like Laken Riley.”

Also, on social media, Johnson said, “The Laken Riley Act is so important because we’ve got to ensure that this can’t happen again. Republicans will not stand for the release of dangerous criminals into our communities, and that’s exactly what the Biden administration has done. Laken is just one of the tragic examples of innocent American citizens who have lost their lives and been brutally and violently attacked by illegal criminals who are roaming our streets because they’ve allowed them in.

Republicans have called on President Joe Biden to mention Riley in his State of the Union speech.

He did mention her, briefly, in his remarks.

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Bucks Co. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s Trip to Ukraine, Israel

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) sent this letter to his constituents on Friday:

Dear Friend,

I am sending you a special update on my recent trip to our allies Israel and Ukraine as they fight raging wars to defend their homeland and survive.

On my travels to Ukraine, I met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In our discussion, I promised I would do whatever necessary to pass our bipartisan bill providing urgently needed military aid to Ukraine and protecting democracy in the region.

As part of my briefings, I also received status updates on the war from the Ukrainian Armed Forces and intelligence officials. The briefings highlighted the need for additional military aid on the frontlines to protect Ukrainian borders against ruthless dictator Vladimir Putin.

Additional meetings included a discussion with U.S. Ambassador Brink on the role of the U.S. in the region, a visit to brave Ukrainian soldiers and veterans, and participation in a public lecture about U.S. support for Ukraine.

I then visited Israel where I received briefings on operations in Gaza and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the role of the U.S. in this war.

While in Israel, I also attended security briefings as part of my role on the Intelligence Committee. These meetings with Israeli defense and intelligence officials provided insights into addressing national security and intelligence-related matters in the region.

Hamas wants to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. Congress has a moral obligation to continue to provide defensive aid to our strongest democratic ally in the Middle East. The United States must never waver from supporting freedom and democracy throughout the world.

We have an obligation to assist our allies, especially when they come under assault by dictators, terrorists, and totalitarians. Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan are all freedom-loving democracies, they are our allies, and we must assist them in protecting their borders just as we must protect our own. I recently introduced the bipartisan Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act, which would provide critical defense aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as well as secure our southern border. Learn more about the bill here.

Sincerely,

Brian

Fitzpatrick Joins GOP Delegation to Southern Border Calling Out Biden’s Immigration Failure

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) joined a delegation of Republicans led by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to Eagle Pass, Texas, this week to call for an end to the border chaos and to decry President Joe Biden’s immigration record.

The lawmakers came to see the humanitarian and national security crises at the southern border, where migrant numbers reached more than 300,000 in December — the highest single-month number ever recorded. More than eight million migrants have entered the U.S. illegally under Biden’s watch. The trip included intelligence briefings related to trends in border security, according to Fitzpatrick’s office.

“The migrant crisis at the southern border is real and presents a grave national security threat to our nation,” said Fitzpatrick. “Our brave Border Patrol men and women are overwhelmed by a migrant surge that is a direct result of misguided policies from this administration. Over the past three years, we have witnessed the public health, humanitarian, and national security consequences that the porous southern border has created for our nation, and this Congress must come together and find real solutions to this crisis.”

The House Homeland Security Committee is also poised to begin hearings next week on whether to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border.

The Biden administration threw out former President Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy for asylum seekers, which had required them to stay in that country until their case was adjudicated. Another factor was Biden’s ending of Title 42, a Trump administration policy that allowed immigrants to be sent back due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Berks/Montgomery), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) did not reply when asked whether they support the Biden administration’s border policies or defend its results.

The flow of millions of illegal immigrants across the border has garnered national attention, largely through the efforts of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who has sent busloads of migrants to Democrat-run “sanctuary” cities, including Philadelphia.  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican running for president, has also flown some undocumented immigrants out of Florida, notably to Martha’s Vineyard.

Johnson wrote on X (formerly Twitter) about the trip, “Yesterday, more than 60 House Republicans were in South Texas speaking with local landowners and law enforcement. We were shown firsthand how the president’s reckless open-border policies are devastating communities across the state.

“The Biden administration’s decision to sue the state of Texas for trying to secure its border is shameful. The first responsibility of leaders is to protect their citizens, and @GovAbbott has shown leadership where President Biden has been an abject failure. The Biden administration is showing once again it is obviously their deliberate strategy to keep the border open and continue the chaos and humanitarian crisis their policies have created.”

On X, Fitzpatrick added, “The Senate must take up the Secure the Border Act, which has already passed the House, and the administration must restore the Remain in Mexico policy and enforce 8 U.S.C 1325 and 1326. We are, and always have been, a nation of legal immigration. We must not be a nation of lawlessness.”

While Democrats in the Delaware Valley delegation declined to comment about the border today, they have spoken out in the past.

Scanlon’s website notes that as an attorney, she “worked for many years representing immigrants and asylum seekers. In Congress, Rep. Scanlon is committed to repairing our complex and broken immigration system through common-sense policy measures. She has cosponsored legislation to end inhumane family separation practices and will fight to protect Dreamers and TPS holders.”

She also visited the border in 2019 and “will continue working to ensure that Customs and Border Patrol and the Coast Guard have the resources they need to protect our borders and legal ports of entry while addressing the humanitarian crisis at our border.”

“Our failure to address this humanitarian crisis with diplomacy, foreign aid, and humane border policies has created a challenge for law enforcement officers. They need resources to address the facts, not a crisis dreamed up by those sowing racist division for political gain,” Scanlon said at the time.

On her campaign website, Dean said she “supports a strong legal immigration system and humane treatment for anyone seeking citizenship.” She supports “a path to citizenship for [illegal immigrants] who want to be part of our country, reinstating DACA to allow the Dreamers to be able to stay in our country without fear.” She promised to fight against “inhumane border policies” and “end the cruel practice of family separation and placing those seeking legal asylum in inhumane living conditions at the border or elsewhere in our country.”

Houlahan is “cosponsor and vote for the Dream and Promise Act. This legislation aims to secure permanent residency for immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program, Temporary Protected Status, and Deferred Enforced humanitarian programs.”

Houlahan also cosponsored bills to help legal immigrants: H.R. 3648, the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act, and H.R. 3897, the H-2B Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021.

“What is happening at our southern border should alarm all of us,” Houlahan said of the legislation. “When I visited the border in 2019, what was clear was that our facilities lacked, and have been lacking for years, the attention and resources they need. That needs to change, which is why I joined my colleagues across the aisle to vote for a 2022 spending bill providing additional funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to better manage immigration across our southern border.”

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Fitzpatrick Leads Push to Bring Back McCarthy as Leaderless House Deals With Israel Crisis

Saturday’s shocking attack on Israel by the Iranian-backed terror organization Hamas has flipped the script on the vote to oust Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). With one of America’s closest allies at war and the danger of a wider regional conflict looming, the U.S. needs authorization to act. But under House rules, no action can be taken as long as the speaker’s chair is vacant.

The decision of all 208 House Democrats to support Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and vote out McCarthy has left Congress “effectively frozen until it elects a new speaker, delaying action on pressing matters,” according to The Wall Street Journal. As a result, some Republicans are talking about voting McCarthy back into the speakership so Congress can take any necessary action related to Israel’s security.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), a moderate, tweeted on Saturday, “This is why you don’t remove a speaker mid-term without cause. What an unmitigated sh*t show. Removing ⁦Speaker McCarthy from office, mid-term, was idiotic.”

“A short window is all we need in the House to reinstate Kevin McCarthy and change the rule,” Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) told the news site Politico.

Bucks County U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) was ahead of the curve, appearing on “Fox and Friends” Friday morning to suggest Republicans would regret the vote and, possibly, undo it.

“This all happened so quick,” said Fitzpatrick. “A deal was pulled together [Sept. 29], which was consistent with the Problem Solvers (Caucus), we don’t believe in government shutdowns…ultimately, there was a House bill that was put on the floor.

“Speaker McCarthy pulled a rabbit out of his hat. He saved our country from the shutdown. The Senate stood down and took up the House bill. And we were under the logical assumption that that kind of behavior would be rewarded.”

But a few days later, every House Democrat — including the three members from the Delaware Valley — joined Gaetz and seven other fringe GOP members to vote McCarthy out. At the same time, 210 Republicans voted against the Gaetz move.

“The motion to vacate [the speakership] gets put on the floor, and we went to our (Democrat) colleagues and said, ‘Can you at least buy us some time?’” said Fitzpatrick. “Forty-eight hours. We can’t rewrite a 300-page rules package to make the House work more in a bipartisan manner in eight hours. It’s impossible.”

So they asked their Democratic colleagues in the Problem Solvers Caucus, “Can you vote to table it, just this one time?” said Fitzpatrick. They knew that Gaetz would not stop after one try to oust McCarthy.

Fitzpatrick said Republicans asked Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus to vote ‘present’ instead of advancing the motion to vacate. They refused.

“That’s all we were asking for was some time…And that’s why there are so many Republicans in our group that are very, very upset, and add me to the list.”

Asked if they might decide to end the Problem Solvers Caucus “because when you need them most, they collapsed under the pressure from (Minority Leader) Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.),” Fitzpatrick said he did not think it would end.

“There always needs to be some forum where Democrats and Republicans talk,” Fitzpatrick said. However, “The members are going to decide what that’s going to look like.”

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks), a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, did not respond to requests for comment.

The politics may have changed in the wake of the attack on Israel. Republicans appear unwilling to go through another chaotic vote like the 15 it took to seat McCarthy as speaker in January.

On Sunday, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy, told ABC News he wanted the next speaker to be picked by the party in private.

“It makes a lot more sense to do this behind closed doors and get it finished before we go to the floor,” Buck said, adding: “We’ll agree on a candidate by the end of the week, or we’ll agree on a candidate over the weekend. I think we lock the doors, and we have very limited bathroom breaks and food breaks and make sure we get the job done.”

Pro-Life Activist Houck Challenging Rep. Fitzpatrick in GOP Primary

Pro-life activist Mark Houck may be riding the fame that came from being wrongfully prosecuted by the federal government all the way to Congress.

Houck announced he will challenge four-term Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) in the 2024 Republican primary.

In January, a jury acquitted Houck, 48, of all charges. The Bucks County father had been accused of violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act on Oct. 13, 2021, when he pushed a volunteer escort at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Locust Street in Philadelphia. The escort, who had confronted Houck’s 12-year-old son, Mark Jr., was not seriously injured. Philadelphia courts declined to prosecute Houck, but after Roe v. Wade was overturned about a year later, the U.S. Department of Justice brought charges.

Houck, who protested in front of abortion clinics for years, could have been sentenced to 11 years in prison if convicted.

During a podcast interview, Houck told DVJournal he believes the Biden administration has implemented a two-tier, partisan justice system targeting “American citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights.”

“I’m an enemy of the state, as are many others like me. And we saw that all played out in 2022. It’s still playing out,” Houck said. “So, clearly, there is an agenda there. And you know, I’ve been doing this for 20 years now. All of a sudden, Roe v. Wade gets overturned in June 2022. And now I’m a target of the federal government. Come on!”

Asked why he’s running, Houck gave an apocalyptic answer: “Because the republic is falling apart. That’s what Congressman Scott Perry (R-Dauphin) shared with me when I asked him his thoughts about me running. And he said, ‘Look, we need people of integrity. We need people of your character in Washington. So, if not you, then who? Right? So that’s the short answer. Obviously, what happened to me and my family, my wife and seven children, you know, we don’t want that ever to happen to anyone else ever again in this country.”

Asked about challenging a pro-life Republican in a Democratic corner of the state, Houck rejected the idea that Fitzpatrick is truly pro-life.

Houck cited the congressman’s vote to fund abortions for military members. However, Fitzpatrick has voted in favor of pro-life bills, including the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a resolution against violence against pregnancy resource centers, and against the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would wipe out state pro-life laws and permit abortion unit the moment of birth.

And in 2022, Fitzpatrick’s Democratic challenger, Ashley Ehasz, attacked his pro-life stance.

Asked about Houck’s candidacy, the national organization SBA Pro-Life America sounded supportive.

“The Biden-Harris administration will stop at nothing, including weaponizing the Justice Department to punish political enemies like Mark Houck and protect the abortion industry that spends millions to elect them. It is clear the administration has put a target on anyone who reveals the horror of abortion and works to protect unborn children and their mothers. In this new Dobbs era, that’s why it is so important to have pro-life leaders and put a stop to the Democrats’ extreme agenda.”

Houck, a Kintnersville resident, said that while abortion is not his only issue, “The life of the child in utero is, is of [primary] importance. And of course, you know, all things flow from that. So our decisions on energy, our decisions on education, our decisions on the environment, they’re all going to stem from the dignity of the human person.”

Houck said he is pro-legal immigration but not the “22 million” illegal immigrants who have entered the country under Biden’s policies. He is also concerned about fentanyl that is killing thousands.

Houck, a father of seven, runs a nonprofit called The King’s Men. The group helps men in their roles as fathers and providers.

Ashley Garecht, vice chair of the Pro-Life Union of Philadelphia, said, “As a nonprofit, the PLU does not endorse any political candidates. Mark has been a staunch defender of the unborn for decades, and his work for The King’s Men and in partnership with the Pro-Life Union has had a significant effect on the lives of hundreds of families dealing with crisis pregnancies.

“Given the egregious behavior of the Biden administration’s Department of Justice last year, weaponizing the full force of government in an attempt to strip Mark of his First Amendment and parental rights and intimidate into silence the broader Philadelphia pro-life movement, it is no surprise that Mark is now focused on reforming a federal government that has disintegrated into corruption and one-sided application of justice.”

But some political pundits believe Houck will need a miracle to prevail.

“Does anyone really believe Mr. Houck will do better than the other GOP challengers who fell to Congressman Fitzpatrick in the past?” asked Christopher Nicholas, a political consultant with Eagle Consulting Group. “That district has no history in general elections of supporting Republicans whose only top issue is pro-life. I don’t expect that to change next year,” said Nicholas, who grew up in Bucks County.

Fitzpatrick did not respond to requests for comment.

 

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DelVal Dems Oppose National Defense Authorization Act

The $886 billion 2024 National Defense Authorization Act  (NDAA) passed in the U.S. House Friday, with the Delaware Valley’s Democratic representatives voting against it and Bucks County Republican Brian Fitzpatrick voting for it.

At issue are GOP-backed amendments pushing back on new policies put in place by the Biden Defense Department (DoD) on contentious social issues like abortion, transgender medical procedures, and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.) For example, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision sent regulating abortion back to the states, the DoD implemented new policies paying for travel for women in the armed forces who are stationed in states with abortion restrictions and want to travel out of state for the procedures.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, all Republican members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee wrote the policy change “would force taxpayers to subsidize abortions by paying for service members or their dependents to travel to obtain the procedure and by granting additional leave for this purpose.”

Under the longtime rules of the Hyde Amendment, federal funding for abortions is not allowed. Critics say the Biden administration’s policy violates that rule.

Another amendment would block the military from funding gender procedures on minor children that could result in sterilization — including hormone therapy and puberty blockers. It is another issue injected into the NDAA by the Biden administration. National Review reported, “A team of military medical practitioners in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) defended “gender-affirming” care, including hormone replacement and puberty blockers for dysphoric minors as young as seven years old.”

Republicans argued the Biden administration is using the U.S. military to advance what they call “woke” politics.

“It’s a good thing the Republicans are in the majority, but it’s more important that we keep our promises to America and to our men and women who serve to defend us. And today is exactly what we did,” said Speaker Kevin McCarthy  (R-Calif.). The NDAA passed on a largely party-line 219-210 vote.

Delaware Valley Democrats disagree.

“The bipartisan annual defense bill that I proudly passed out of committee is no longer recognizable with all the extreme amendments tacked on,” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks) wrote on Twitter. “It left me no choice but to vote against it. Our service members and their families deserve better.”

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) accused Republicans of taking a bipartisan bill and “transforming” it “into an extremist manifesto that targets lifesaving care for women in uniform, attacks LGBTQ+ service members, and chooses the books that military families can read.”

“For decades, Congress has crafted and passed the National Defense Authorization Act on a bipartisan basis. While major pieces of legislation like this are – of necessity – works of compromise, House Democrats worked to craft a bipartisan bill that demonstrates our commitment to national security and ensures that our service members and their families would get the support that they deserve,” said Scanlon.

Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) said she voted against the bill because it was “hijacked by extremists.”

“I cannot and will never compromise on a woman’s freedom to control her own body,” said Wild. “This bill undermines female servicemembers’ access to reproductive healthcare at the expense of our military readiness. It is a slap in the face to our female servicemembers—women who defend American freedom every day—to tell them that they do not deserve the fundamental freedom to make their own healthcare decisions.”

Chris Gustafson, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, noted that Wild voted against an amendment to the NDAA that prohibits taxpayer dollars from going to the Taliban.

“Voting against pay raises for our troops and the safety of our country over taxpayer-funded late-term abortions and woke transgender ideology is extreme and dangerous,” said Gustafson. Wild is “following an extreme and dangerous agenda led by the fringe elements of their party that are entirely out of touch with the American people.”

He added Wild should explain why she is “willing to put our national security risk for (her) woke agenda.”

Neither Dean nor Fitzpatrick responded to requests for comment.

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DelVal Dems Back Higher Mortgage Fees for Good Borrowers

Three Delaware Valley congresswomen voted to keep President Joe Biden’s new policy that lowers mortgage fees for borrowers with poor credit and raises them for would-be home buyers who’ve earned higher credit scores.

Democratic Reps. Madeleine Dean (Montgomery), Mary Gay Scanlon (Delaware/Philadelphia), and Chrissy Houlahan (Chester/Berks) voted against the Middle-Class Borrower Protection Act that would reverse the fee changes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now charge.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) and Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) voted for the bill to stop the new fee structure. It passed the House Monday on a 230-189 bipartisan vote, with all Republicans present, plus 14 Democrats.

“In May, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, made changes to the structure of upfront mortgage fees that would result in higher costs for borrowers with higher credit scores,” Fitzpatrick told DVJournal. “Hardworking middle-class families looking to purchase a home should not have to subsidize less creditworthy, riskier borrowers. We must ensure our housing finance system remains stable so we avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis while pursuing bipartisan solutions to housing affordability. I am happy to see the Middle-Class Borrower Protection Act pass the House with a bipartisan vote.”

Biden’s progressive policy, which took effect May 1, promotes “social justice” by reducing lending fees on borrowers with lower credit scores. Meanwhile, home buyers with a credit score over 680 will pay about $500 more per year on a $400,000 loan. That adds up to more than $14,000 throughout a 30-year mortgage.

And borrowers who put aside enough in savings for a 20 percent down payment will pay the highest fees under the new FHFA policy.

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who introduced the act, repeatedly said the new fee structure is “a socialist redistribution of wealth.”

“It’s a scheme created by the Federal Housing Finance Agency that forces financially responsible homebuyers with good credit to subsidize those with bad credit. Responsible action should never be penalized, and irresponsible action shouldn’t be subsidized. Under this rule, most new homebuyers will pay higher fees to offset the costs of riskier borrowers,” Davidson said.

Under the new LLPA (Loan-Level Price Adjustment) fee schedule, the borrower with modest credit — 640 to 659 — who puts down just 5 percent would enjoy a fee drop from 2.75 percent to 1.5 percent. But a borrower with good credit (740-759) with a 20 percent down payment would see their fee double from 0.5 percent to 1 percent.

Republicans and many responsible borrowers have lashed out against the policy, described by critics as income distribution applied to home ownership. Some 18 Republican governors also opposed the policy.

“We write to you in regard to the mandated May 1, 2023, changes to the loan level pricing adjustment (“LLPA”) structure employed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and ask that you reverse course on behalf of hardworking Americans across the country,” the Republicans said in a letter to President Joe Biden and his Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Sandra Thompson.

“In short, the new LLPA framework will inevitably increase mortgage costs for lower-risk individuals and handicap those borrowers with larger down payments. Further, the changes provide no incentive to borrowers to maintain good credit and will confuse borrowers at all credit levels.”

“Your actions are threatening the American housing system,” they added.

Treasurers and finance officials from 27 states, led by Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, also urged Biden to end his “unconscionable” policy that requires people with good credit scores to subsidize mortgage loans for others.

“This new policy makes it more expensive for people with good credit to buy houses – and that’s absurd,” said Garrity. “Americans who have built a good credit score and saved enough to make a strong down payment should not be penalized and forced to pay more on their mortgage every single month. I’m proud that so many of my colleagues from across the country – representing a majority of states – have united to urge the immediate elimination of this policy.”

Dean, Houlahan, Scanlon, and Wild declined to respond to requests for comment.

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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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