Rep. Pitts Will Not Seek Re-Election
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA) announced that he will not seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2016.
A leading defender of human rights, Rep. Pitts has represented the Sixteenth Congressional District of Pennsylvania since 1997. He served on the Budget Committee from 1997-2000, when the federal budget was balanced for the first time since 1969. A former Electronic Warfare Officer in the Air Force, Pitts founded the bipartisan Congressional Electronic Warfare Working Group. At the request of Speaker Gingrich, Pitts founded and chaired the Values Action Team for 18 years of his service in Congress.
In 2011, Pitts was named Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee. As Chairman, he oversaw the most productive Subcommittee in Congress during a time of gridlock and partisanship. Just this week, the Subcommittee passed comprehensive mental health reform.
In 2013, Speaker Boehner named Pitts to co-Chair the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Co-Chairman Pitts has conducted hearings on the plight of minority groups in Egypt, the victims of ISIL, and the use of forced labor by the North Korean regime.
Pitts authored federal laws to protect the White Clay Creek area, and to reform the Food and Drug Administration. He is also the Chairman of jurisdiction over the landmark 21st Century Cures Act, and recent Congressional reforms ending the annual “Doc Fix” and saving taxpayers $3 trillion.
Pitts also led Congressional efforts to reform federal agricultural subsidies, particularly to sugar growers. Many expect that this issue will grow in prominence in the near future.
“With great appreciation for the support of all those who have contacted me to urge me to run for re-election, I have decided, after prayerful consideration, not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2016,” Rep. Pitts said. “It has been an honor to serve the people of Southeast Pennsylvania in Lancaster, Chester, and Berks counties. I thank my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for the past 19 years.”
Pitts intends to continue his work for human rights around the world.
“As a person of faith, and a follower of Jesus, I believe that we are called to pursue justice and reconciliation, and to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves,” the Congressman said. “I plan to focus my future work on human rights and religious freedom, both domestic and international, as well as on matters of culture and the American family. My passion for these issues has been influenced by the examples of President Reagan, Chuck Colson, as well as great legislators like the 18th Century Member of the British Parliament William Wilberforce, and former colleagues like Henry Hyde, Frank Wolf, and Tony Hall.
“I want to thank the many marvelous current and former members of my staff, in both the Congressional District and in Washington, who have helped me serve the people of the Sixteenth District. I am also grateful to my wife Ginny and my family for their love and support these many years.
“I am pleased to have chaired the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and to have passed into law more bipartisan bills than any other committee in Congress in the last two sessions, including the “Doc Fix,” or SGR reform, that included for the first time in decades entitlement reform that will save taxpayers $3 trillion, “Track and Trace,” or Drug Supply Chain security that has been sought for over a decade, as well as many other bills.
“I am also pleased to have founded and chaired for the past 18 years the Values Action Team, an inside/outside coalition working for good public policy on life, family, and religious liberty issues. I also enjoyed serving on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission as co-Chair, on the Helsinki Commission, and on the China Commission to work on behalf of persecuted and disenfranchised minorities around the world.”