Hey, Freelancers! Meet the Four Republicans who Voted "YES" to Pass the PRO Act

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

As our sister publication Townhall reported,

“The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would essentially eliminate freelancers and the gig economy. The bill passed 225 to 206. Five Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the act.’

As we have seen so clearly over the past year, it’s less about the letter before your state, and more about who is putting the feed in your trough; and how much. The PRO Act is a clear “gimme” to the big Labor Unions, so signing on for the destruction of 57 million Americans ability to pursue work as they choose and build their businesses means that you care about one thing and one thing only: Labor campaign contributions.

So, “Bravo” to these four stooges who love their Union endorsements more than they love the people they are actually supposed to serve. Believe me, we’ll check you in a few years when it’s time for re-election.

For now, let’s get to know these men of the people.

Brian K. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) wins the nepotism award of this bunch. A former FBI agent, in 2016 Fitzpatrick ran for, and won, the Congressional seat formerly held by his brother Mike, who chose to retire. There was more than a hint of impropriety in this move, since about a month before he announced he would run, Fitzpatrick lived in the State of California. His brother was also making calls on Fitzpatrick’s behalf, before the younger brother declared his candidacy.

Hmmm….

Fitzpatrick won anyway, and when the District was redrawn in 2018, (from District 8 to District 1), he won again, beating a pro-Trump Republican by 58 percent of the vote.

Fitzpatrick was a “No” vote on repealing Obamacare in 2018, and also a “No” vote on H.R. 1 a few days ago.* Saddling you with bad health insurance, on the one hand, but not necessarily on board with stripping you of your voting rights.

Fitzpatrick was also a “Yes” vote to strip Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) of her committee assignments. So, helping to set bad precedents is not something he’s opposed to.

But let’s get to the devil in the details: According to Open Secrets, a major share of Fitzpatrick’s campaign contributions come from the Air and Transportation Unions.

Fitzpatrick knows which side his bread is buttered on, and it’s not ours.

On March 5, Representative John Katko (R-NY) sat in the Oval Office of the White House with other members of Congress to discuss infrastructure with Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Auburnpub.com reported on the meeting:

“This is why I came to Congress, and it’s finally coming to a head,” Katko, R-Camillus, recalled thinking during the meeting.”

Four days later, Katko voted “Yes” on the PRO Act, and made it clear he is no friend of the freelancer or for Constitutional liberties—he’s just there to get his name on a tunnel project.

The fact that he is fan-girling over the callow and incompetent Buttigieg in order to see this happen, speaks volumes:

“He sent a letter in February inviting Buttigieg to visit central New York.

“ ‘I told him he’s a rockstar in Syracuse. Everyone wants to meet him,’ Katko said with a laugh. ‘He was very receptive to coming up. I talked to him about how we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something transformative with that highway. We need to do it. I would love to have him come up and hear from all sides. He said he would love to.’

“But the main focus of the meeting was the pursuit of a large infrastructure package. Katko agrees with Biden that it must be ‘substantial.’ But he told the president that while he’s prepared to make a deal and willing to compromise, Biden must urge Democratic leaders in Congress to allow House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members to work in a bipartisan manner. Biden, he said, is willing to do that.”

Sure he is. That, and a buck fifty will get you a Starbucks coffee.

Katko apparently only cares about the people in New York who build the infrastructure he champions for his state: Unions and Union workers. The other people of New York State? You know, the ones who run their own businesses, are independent professionals, and self-employed? Not so much. These are the same people who will be driving through those tunnels and on the turnpikes he is whoring himself out to get built.

Back in 2018, Katko received endorsements from several Unions for his re-election. When he ran in 2014, he barely scratched the surface of Union support. How times have changed.

“24th District Representative John Katko has received the endorsement of 8 Central New York labor unions in his re-election bid.

“The 8 groups include two IBEW Locals, along with Locals of International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers’ Local Union, New England Regional Council of Carpenters, International Union of Painters & Allied Trades of America & Canada, Plumbers & Steamfitters, and the Teamsters.

“In a joint statement, they cite Katko’s dedication to working families, as well as his support for numerous infrastructure projects throughout the region.”

Katko did the bidding of those who pay his freight. Full stop.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, independent professionals and freelancers had their own local legislative battle in combatting a bill that would codify the ABC Test embedded in the PRO Act and in California’s AB5. The independent professional and self-employed community were successful in shutting it down.

“When New Jersey’s legislature tried to codify the ABC test in the 2019-20 session, large and small businesses responded with an uproar. California enacted a similar bill in January 2020, and the result was widespread income loss and economic devastation to thousands of independent contractors, from court reporters to musicians. The US House of Representatives is voting today on the PRO Act, which includes the same regressive ABC test as the New Jersey and California legislation. Fight for Freelancers New Jersey, a nonpartisan, grassroots group of independent contractors, creatives and businesses, demands that federal legislators vote no on the PRO Act as long as it contains the ABC test.”

Sadly, their Congressional representatives decided to stick it to them anyway, with TWO Republicans voting “Yes” on the PRO Act.

New Jersey freelance writer Kim Kavin, who co-founded the group Fight for Freelancers, had this to say:

“It was disappointing to see that all of New Jersey’s federal legislators co-sponsored the PRO Act, and none introduced amendments to remove the 1930s ABC Test that we fought so hard to defeat in Trenton. Covid-19 already took away a lot of jobs, and ruined many small businesses. And now our elected officials want to harm our livelihoods even more? Really?””

Republicans Christopher H. Smith and Jefferson Van Drew added their vote and voice to destroying independents lives and income for pretty much the same reason: Union money.

Van Drew switched parties when he refused to vote for the first impeachment of then-President Donald J. Trump back in 2020. The AFL-CIO poured money into a Democrat challenger to oust him from his seat, but he won re-election anyway.

But now, Van Drew and the Teamsters are tight, yo!

From the New Jersey Globe:

“Months after endorsing a Democratic challenger that failed to oust the Republican incumbent, the AFL-CIO on Tuesday thanked Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) for signing onto a bill bolstering labor protections and weakening right-to-work laws that allow workers to skirt union membership and dues.

“Congressional record shows Van Drew signed on as a cosponsor to the bill on Feb. 15, nine days after he was one of just five House Republicans to vote in its favor from the chamber’s floor.

[…]

“The AFL-CIO’s relationship with Van Drew has swung back and forth throughout his time in Congress. The union backed him in his 2018 campaign against Republican Seth Grossman, but it backed Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy last year after Van Drew defected to the Republican Party.”

Christopher H. Smith, on the other hand, was an original co-sponsor of the PRO Act, along with his Democrat colleagues; so, his vote in support of the Act was already set in stone. Getting a lion’s share of your campaign contributions from the Transportation, Building and Trade, and other union-like organizations is also a guarantee that it’s a done deal.

Smith was also a “Yes” vote on stripping the notorious Georgia Rep. MTG of her committee assignments. Take that for what it’s worth.

Smith is that version of New Jersey squish that allows him to be Republican in name only, while mostly supporting Democrat causes. Smith is also a fossil—over four decades in Congress (since 1981) classifies you as Jurassic. As long as Smith has the Union backing and pretends to play both sides of the aisle, prying him out of this Congressional seat would definitely be a challenge.

But someone needs to try.

What can you say about Representative Don Young (R-AK)? Nothing good. Another Congressman who has stayed too long at the fair, he has served 25 terms in Congress (1973).

In 2009, he was implicated in a State corruption investigation, but in case you didn’t notice, he still holds public office. Let that sink in.

Young’s list of Union contributors is almost as long as his list of corruption. With additional cash from the Oil and Gas industry, Young is a well-fed mule, and unless the citizens of Alaska wake up and vote him out, he’s not going anywhere.


*UPDATE: 03-12-2021: PA Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s voting record from the House.gov website reflects a “Yes” vote on the “Motion to Recommit” for H.R. 1, but a “No” vote on its actual passage.