Trump-backed Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and U.S. Army veteran Democrat Ashley Ehasz made their case to Pennsylvania First District voters Tuesday during a 90-minute debate at Bucks County Community College’s Lower Bucks campus.
The anti-choice incumbent Fitzpatrick lied multiple times throughout the debate in an attempt to fool voters into thinking that he is some kind of moderate lawmaker. The Bucks County Beacon wanted to solve this problem by fact-checking Fitzpatrick’s five biggest lies from yesterday’s debate.
#1 Abortion Ban
Fitzpatrick Lie: “Anything that’s not eight months and 29 days, regardless of the medical necessity, is a ban (according to Ehasz). That is not true and that is not where the majority of Bucks Countians and Montgomery Countians are,” Fitzpatrick said. “We believe in legality in the beginning stages and limits, not bans but limits set, reasonable limits in the later terms.”
Brian Fitzpatrick made the claim that the abortion bill he voted for in 2017, H.R. 36 (115th Congress), is not a ban. This is a lie. The language of the bill itself calls for not just forbidding abortion after a certain point with minimal exceptions (for example, a woman would not be able to terminate a non-viable fetus under that bill), but for criminalizing doctors who perform abortions after the prohibited point with fines and up to five years in prison.
In Fitzpatrick’s response, he accused Ashley Ehasz of mis-stating the contents of H.R. 36, which he insisted was not a ban, and instead spoke of “legality” and “limits.” However, it is not within the power of Brian Fitzpatrick to rewrite how our general political discourse names these laws that limit abortions. It is not just Ashley Ehasz or only Democrats who call these laws “abortion bans.” Fox News calls an Indiana law that limits abortions an ”abortion ban.” Even Breitbart referred to the Texas law as an “abortion ban.” A bill that limits abortions and criminalizes those who perform the procedure is most certainly an abortion ban. And Brian Fitzpatrick voted YES on that 2017 abortion ban bill.
#2 Domestic Terrorism Protection Act
Fitzpatrick Lie: “The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, the version that I co-sponsored, passed the prior Congress 435 to 0. Ashley, every single member of Congress voted for it. So we co-sponsored again. And in order to get “The Squad,” because they did not want to vote for it, because it called out left wing extremism along with right wing extremism, they wanted to carve out for left wing extremism. So they held the bill up. They changed the language.”
Just four days after an 18-year-old white male, motivated by racist and white supremacist beliefs, massacred 10 Black people and injured three others in an act of domestic terrorism in Buffalo, Fitzpatrick voted against the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022. The bill, as The Beacon reported earlier, would provide the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI with the task and resources to work together in order to effectively “analyze and combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies.”
In the debate Fitzpatrick essentially recycled a lie that he issued in an statement on his official government website: that there was some kind of liberal carve out to appease the so-called far-left. That’s just not true.
Here are the facts, which you can see in its original thread here:
So it appears that it was Brian who wanted the “wiggle room” and why the so-called bipartisan Congressman joined every single one of his Republican colleagues to oppose the fight against domestic terrorism, leaving us less safe as a result.
#3 Affordable Care Act/Health Care
Fitzpatrick Lie: “I think it starts by preserving the ACA, which I’ve done every single time, every single solitary time it’s come up for a vote, I voted to protect it. It needs improvement for sure. But I voted to protect it.”
While Brian Fitzpatrick does have some history of supporting the Affordable Care Act, his statement above is definitely false. Many of our readers will remember the Trump Tax cut bill of 2017, sometimes called the GOP Tax Scam. The vast majority of the benefits of that bill went to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, by cutting the top individual tax rate, doubling estate tax exemptions and slashing the corporate tax rate from 36% down to 21%. But what a lot of people do not remember is that this bill that favors the 1% also included a provision that gutted the ACA… and Brian Fitzpatrick voted YES on that bill.
In an article titled “The GOP slipped a rule into its tax bill that will kill a fundamental part of Obamacare,” Business Insider explains that text was tucked into the GOP tax cuts that removed a key provision that funds the ACA:
“The bill would repeal the individual mandate, the provision in the ACA that requires individuals to have health insurance or face a penalty fee.
Without the individual mandate, healthy people may opt out of getting insurance, and the number of uninsured Americans would increase by 13 million by 2027, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Premiums on the individual market are expected to increase about 10% a year over the next decade without the mandate.”
Fitzpatrick’s YES vote on a bill that included text to slice out key sections of the ACA makes a lie of his claim that “every single solitary time it has come up for a vote [he] voted to protect it.”
#4 Article V Constitutional Convention
Fitzpatrick Lie: “So just to be clear, what Ashley just told everybody is she’s going to raise both corporate and individual rates and she’s opposed to the balanced budget amendment. That’s what that bill was Ashley. It was to do exactly what we do here in the state of Pennsylvania, what our state legislators have been doing for years, is balancing our budget just like we do in our households. Why would you be against it?”
Ashley Ehasz criticized Brian during the debate for sponsoring House Concurrent Resolution 101 (H. Con. Res. 101). Brian says it is not about changing the Constitution. Really? The text of the resolution – that he co-sponsored so he should know unless he doesn’t actually read the legislation he supports – calls for “an Article V Convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States and stipulating the ratification of such amendments by State conventions, a vote of We the People, and for other purposes.” This is a political project that right-wing, Republican-dominated state legislatures are calling for, and it is supported by far-right figures such as Steve Bannon and Rick Santorum. And, if this happens, and far-right activists get to rewrite the constitution, just like Ehasz pointed out, that would likely lead to the end of Social Security, and would likely result in a constitutional abortion ban, among other items on the far-right wish list. And as far as Fiztpatrick’s idea of a Balanced Budget Amendment goes – that’s just another Fitzpatrick/GOP bad idea.
# 5 Election Security
Fitzpatrick Lie: “We also have to secure our elections, Ashley, because that’s what is upsetting so many people.”
People are not upset because elections are insecure. They are upset because former President Donald Trump has spread uncountable lies about election security, and the vast majority of elected officials in the Republican Party continue to repeat those lies to this day. Not to mention that Trump lost.
On Nov. 12, 2020, Trump appointees who oversaw our national elections infrastructure issued a statement that said, “the November 3rd election was the most secure in American history … There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” Just this week, U.S. District Judge David Carter of Central California issued an order that stated “emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.”
This is a recursive cycle: Republicans lie about election insecurity, which creates constituent concerns about election security, and that in turn gives Republican lawmakers the ground for pursuing laws that create additional hurdles for voters. It is a point that Jon Stewart ably made in an interview earlier this week. And if enacted, the laws born from this cycle will disenfranchise millions of Americans.
Take an issue that congressman Fitzpatrick brought up in the debate – signature matches. Fitzpatrick has introduced a bill this session, H.R. 102, that would require signature-match for ballots. This provision has the potential to invalidate the votes of millions of Americans. Should Fitzpatrick’s bill be passed and signed into law anyone who experiences arthritis, muscle tremors or weakness, joint related disabilities, or any number of medical conditions that adversely affect one’s ability to to write would be at the mercy of the their local Board of Elections and the whims of the clerk who looks at their ballot to determine if the signature matches the one on file. This is just one of many issues built into Fitzpatrick’s election security bill. And his introduction of this legislation shows that Fitzpatrick is more than happy to promote the false GOP talking point about election security.
Bucks County Beacon editor Cyril Mychalejko contributed to this article.