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Fitzpatrick calls out extremism, isolationism in chamber speech


The State of the Nation is precarious, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick told members of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce frankly during its recent meeting.

The Republican congressman Friday touched on a wide range of topics during the luncheon at The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm in Buckingham.

The Bucks County Herald was the event’s media sponsor.

During the hour-long discussion, which included no mention of former President and 2024 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Fitzpatrick several times noted his concerns over the strength of the nation’s democracy and criticized the “far right” and “far left” in both parties.

“We now have extremists vs. centrists,” said Fitzpatrick, a co-founder of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which looks for bipartisan solutions to policy issues. Citing “the political games” of three members of the House, whom he did not name, Fitzpatrick said their opposition to funding for Ukraine “cost lives on the ground.”

The lawmaker stressed America’s role in the world and the need for engagement.

“World War II,” he said, “shows us the lessons of isolationism.”

“Freedom-loving democracies have an obligation to support other freedom-loving democracies. The choice is binary — isolation, or supporting other democracies,” said Fitzpatrick.

He warned against the complacency of believing America will always lead the world and that our democracy can’t be destroyed from within.

“It’s not guaranteed the U.S. dollar will always be the standard currency, that we’ll always be a superpower,” Fitzpatrick added, “Every democracy that ended didn’t think it would end.”

Listing dictators like Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, Fitzpatrick warned, “Evil is very real. There are dictators that would love, love for us to fail.”

On the subject of immigration and the border, Fitzpatrick said he supports “smart immigration that is lawful and legal.”

The U.S., he said, is where people want to live and that gives the country a “key advantage” to have policies that bring the “best and brightest” immigrants here.

Fitzpatrick, who is running for his fifth term representing Bucks County in the U.S. Congress, called the national debt “an urgent national concern.” He said the country must have a balanced budget, adding a debt commission is needed.

“We can’t cut or grow our way out” of its record-breaking debt, he said.

When it comes to college loan forgiveness, Fitzpatrick said, “We need to be real. I’m in favor of some types of forgiveness…we need to identify professions in need of workers, like teachers and nurses,” and provide them with public service-based student loan relief.

He also emphasized the need for physical security in schools, saying, “We have no higher responsibility,” than to protect children, as well as more investment in local fire departments, technical schools and mental health services.

Asked about what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sees as “government overreach” in regulating some environmental matters, Fitzpatrick responded that he sees “an intersection between environmental preservation and economic growth.”

While not “letting China off,” the congressman said, “No one wants to get off fossil fuels more than me…we all want green, but we can’t get there tomorrow.”

Addressing the country’s military readiness, Fitzpatrick said, while the U.S. continues to lead China, “the gap is diminishing.”

“China is weaponizing satellites, laying cables on the ocean floor and (launching) an Africa initiative.”

He noted that 70% of the recently passed Ukraine and Taiwan aid package will go to the nation’s military readiness.

“That’s an under-told story,” he said.

Touching on concerns over the social media platform TikTok, Fitzpatrick said, its influence is “subliminal” and determining its use here is “very, very important to our national security.”

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