WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding the awarding of a contract by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to Hazleton Shaft Corporation to isolate and extinguish the Jeansville mine fire. The mine fire has been burning for decades near the village of Tresckow in Banks Township in Carbon County. Barletta has pressed federal, state, and local authorities for a solution to the ongoing public safety hazard. Barletta convened a meeting with DEP and local officials in September to exchange information about the problem.
According to DEP, the $9.3 million contract “involves digging two isolation trenches to contain the fire and stop it from spreading. The project will involve the excavation of approximately 2.6 million cubic yards of material to isolate the fire on the south side. A water supply for the fire will be obtained by connecting to a line owned by the Hazleton City Authority and from a well to the mine pool which lies below the area.”
Barletta’s statement is as follows:
“This is welcome news and a good first step in solving a problem that has been plaguing the community for far too many years. I am proud of the cooperation I have witnessed among people from all levels of government, the private sector, and the community. The Jeansville mine fire will not be extinguished overnight, but today we have begun the work to get it done.”
Rep. Barletta and Sen. Yudichak (left) read “The Night Before Christmas”
to children in the SHINE program at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Wilkes-Barre.
WILKES-BARRE – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, and state Sen. John Yudichak, 14th District, today read to school children involved in the SHINE program (Schools and Homes in Education) to highlight the importance of reading in education. Barletta and Yudichak took part in a special Storytime at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at the Arena Hub Plaza, where SHINE has been selected to benefit from the annual Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive.
“Reading is a fundamental part of the education of any young person, and we’re thrilled to be part of this book drive to help SHINE and the students of Luzerne County,” Barletta said. “A child who learns to enjoy reading at a young age will be a reader for life. That’s what this is all about.”
“The selection of SHINE as this year’s recipient is the just latest way the community is supporting the program,” said Yudichak. “The book drive makes it convenient for everyone to support SHINE while shopping this holiday season.”
Barletta and Yudichak have worked to promote the SHINE after-school program, which is flourishing in Carbon County and is now in its first year in Luzerne County, to improve academic achievement, increase school attendance and engage families in education. The SHINE program focuses on project based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics activities for students kindergarten through eighth grade. Wilkes University is the host institution for SHINE.
The Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive provides an opportunity for customers to donate books through locally designated non-profit organizations. Barnes & Noble customers and booksellers last year provided more than 1.5 million books nationally to over 2,000 local charitable organizations that provide services to children across the country. Locally, The SHINE program has been selected as the recipient of books collected for the drive through January 1, 2016.
“The Holiday Book Drive is a favorite program of both booksellers and customers,” said Donna Wench, Community Business Development Manager for Barnes & Noble. “Customers often purchase and donate a personal childhood favorite as a way to pass on a holiday tradition to a child in their local community. We’re very pleased and excited to partner with SHINE this year.”
Customers who are not purchasing an item for donation to the Book Drive can still help by participating in SHINE’s Book Fair, running simultaneously with the Book Drive. At the Arena Hub Plaza store, customers can mention SHINE at checkout, and the organization will receive up to 25% of the sale at no additional cost to the customer. Customers shopping online at www.bn.com, or at a Barnes & Noble store other than the Arena Hub Plaza location should use Book fair ID#11718418 in order for SHINE to receive credit for the sale.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today supported legislation that requires certified comprehensive background checks for refugees from Syria or Iraq before they are allowed entry into the United States. The American SAFE Act (H.R. 4038) is in response to the terror attacks in Paris, which were perpetrated with the help of at least one terrorist who entered the European Union through the refugee program in Greece. Barletta, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, voted in favor of the bill, but still has concerns that holes exist in the security net, vetting process, and visa waiver program. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 289-to-137.
“This is a good first step, but we must continue to strengthen our defenses against terrorists currently in many countries who have vowed to kill us,” Barletta said. “ISIS has said that ‘American blood is best, and we will taste it soon.’ I believe them when they say they are coming, and that they will use the refugee program as one method of entering this country.”
Barletta said the attacks in Paris should serve as a reminder that radical Islamic terrorists belong to an ideology, not a specific nation or army, and that they are expanding and growing in number. ISIS has vowed to attack the United States and has indicated that it would use any means at its disposal to infiltrate our defenses. Barletta favors suspending the entire refugee program until national security analysts can verify that background checks and screenings are thorough enough to protect Americans.
“The 9/11 Commission Report told us very clearly that terrorists want two things: to be able to enter America, and to be able to stay here to carry out their mission,” Barletta said. “We know there are flaws in our defensive capabilities, and as elected officials, we are obligated to fix them.”
The American SAFE Act requires comprehensive background checks of every refugee from Iraq or Syria before they can be admitted into the United States and certification that each does not pose a threat. No refugee from Iraq or Syria will be admitted into the U.S. unless:
“The United States has a proud tradition of compassion and concern for people looking for safety and a better way of life, but that doesn’t mean we should be reckless about throwing open our door,” Barletta said. “I look at it this way: If I gave you a bunch of fifty grapes and told you two might be poisoned, how many grapes would you eat?”
Holes in the Vetting Process
While regarding the passage of The American SAFE Act as a positive first step for security in the refugee program, Barletta is concerned that the underlying information – particularly regarding Syrian refugees – is incomplete. Barletta noted that overthrowing Bashar al-Assad is American policy, so obtaining documentation about Syrian nationals from the dictator is unlikely. A thorough screening of Syrian refugees, therefore, may be nearly impossible.
At a join hearing of the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees Wednesday, Barletta questioned two witnesses, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Matthew Olsen, and Chairman of the Board for the Institute for the Study of War, Gen. Jack Keane (Ret. U.S. Army).
Click here or on image to watch Barletta Q&A with witness.
Rep. Barletta: We’ve had four national security experts, two from the FBI, tell us that we don’t have a system in place there. It’s very difficult to get information, records, and to really know who these people are. So, my question goes back to, “How do you separate the salt from the sugar?” I don’t doubt that many of the people that we’re going to let in are going to be good people, but I’m worried about the salt part.
Olsen: The way you do that it through a very rigorous process …
Rep. Barletta: But if the process is flawed, how do we assure the American people that they don’t have to worry?
Olsen: I think, as General Keane said, and I said earlier, I think there’s no process that’s going to be 100 percent guaranteed.
Visa Waiver Program, Biometric Exit
Another problem area identified by Barletta is the visa waiver program, which allows citizens from 38 participating countries to enter the United States as temporary visitors for 90 days without to obtain a visa or undergo an in-person interview. Coupled with the lack of a bio-metric exit program for people who do arrive on a visa, this creates another large gap in national security measures.
“Nearly half of the people who are illegally in this country didn’t cross a border: they arrived on a visa, the visa expired, and they never went home,” Barletta said. “It’s why I have always said, if you live in a state with an international airport, you effectively live in a border state.”
Click here or on image to watch Rep. Barletta in transportation conference committee.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today laid out his priorities during the first meeting of the conference committee seeking to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of the surface transportation bill. Barletta, who serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, repeated his call for a sustainable revenue source for roads, while also pushing for limits on truck weights, a reliable truck safety scoring system, support for highway safety, and common sense regulation of farm equipment.
“I grew up in a family road construction business and also owned my own pavement marking company, so I know about buying equipment, hiring workers, and planning projects,” Barletta said. “As a former mayor, I have also endured the headaches associated with constructing and maintaining safe roads and bridges, projects that are repeatedly delayed by endless and repetitive environmental reviews. Given my background, I know that certainty is needed for communities to be able to plan highway projects. That’s why, since my first day in Congress, I have been urging my colleagues to support a long term, robustly funded highway bill. I am pleased to have a seat at this table today to work towards such a goal.”
Barletta’s entire opening statement for the record is as follows:
I am pleased to serve on this Conference Committee. I grew up in a family road construction business and also owned my own pavement marking company, so I know about buying equipment, hiring workers, and planning projects. As a former mayor, I have also endured the headaches associated with constructing and maintaining safe roads and bridges, projects that are repeatedly delayed by endless and repetitive environmental reviews.
Given my background, I know that certainty is needed for communities to be able to plan highway projects. That’s why, since my first day in Congress, I have been urging my colleagues to support a long term, robustly funded highway bill. I am pleased to have a seat at this table today to work towards such a goal.
We must make sure that states, cities, and counties have the funding they need to invest in America’s infrastructure. While we care more than China about paying fair wages and protecting the environment, we do have competitive advantages that result from efficient transportation systems. However, we are slowly watching these advantages crumble as we systematically fail to invest in our infrastructure.
That’s why I proudly co-authored an amendment to provide 10 years of sustainable funding for our highway infrastructure. The amendment would have allowed for a bipartisan, bicameral task force to determine the best solution to our Highway Trust Fund shortfalls. I am deeply disappointed that the House Rules Committee prevented this bipartisan amendment from being considered on the House floor.
It is irresponsible that neither the House nor the Senate has worked on serious funding solutions to our Highway Trust Fund shortfalls. We have NOT adjusted the user fee for our infrastructure in 20 years. Today, 25 percent of our bridges are structurally deficient. On Chairman Shuster’s Pennsylvania Road Show, we saw the Greenfield Bridge, which was crumbling so badly that another bridge had to be built below it to catch debris threatening to endanger motorists driving on I-376.
We should be looking for long-term, sustainable funding sources, not short term gimmicks. When I was a mayor, to make our city budget balance, I kept looking for a short term funding source, but at some point, you run out of rabbits you can pull out of the magic hat. This is fiscally irresponsible. We should be using a highway user fee to pay for our roads and bridges, not robbing the banks, homeowners, or increasing Customs user fees. At some point, we have to say enough is enough. I believe that time has come. We need to support a long-term, robustly funded bill. I am hopeful that this bill will provide communities the tools they need to invest in America’s infrastructure.
I also was happy to work with Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio on important roadway safety issues, such as preventing heavier trucks from driving on our local roads and ensuring that we fully fund the Highway Safety Improvement Program. I urge my fellow conferees to oppose the Senate’s cuts to the Highway Safety Improvement Program. This program invests in infrastructure like guardrails, rumble strips, and retroreflective signs. While you will never read a headline in the newspaper about crashes and deaths that were prevented because someone could see a sign or hit a rumble strip, this program saves lives every day and for that reason alone should not face the cuts in the Senate bill.
Additionally, the House bill includes common-sense provisions I championed to make sure farm vehicles are not regulated like long haul trucks as they drive from field to field. Likewise, it prevents interstate truck drivers from facing a patchwork of meal and rest break rules as they drive through different states. It also includes language to make crude oil being transported by freight rail safer by better protecting the pressure valves, which give first responders more time to react in the unlikely event of a derailment. Finally, many of the policy ideas that I introduced in the Safer Trucks and Buses Act were incorporated into both the House and Senate bills. It is critical that flawed safety scores are not publicly displayed for buses and trucks. We must work to make sure we fix the important safety score program so that good decisions can be made on scores that actually represent truck and bus safety records.Read More
“If I cannot convince you to rethink your acquiescence to the Syrian refugee relocation program,
perhaps I can appeal to your concern for students in our public schools.
Please do not, by your actions, favor the former over the latter.”
-- Rep. Lou Barletta, in letter to Gov. Wolf
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today chided Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf for using state resources to cooperate with the relocation of Syrian refugees, while simultaneously refusing to release federal education funding to public schools during the continuing budget impasse. Barletta sent a letter to Wolf arguing that the governor’s decision to accept refugees is especially egregious since he has firmly refused to direct his treasury department to distribute federal education dollars the Commonwealth already possesses. School districts across Pennsylvania are threatened with closure as a result of a budget stalemate between the Wolf Administration and the legislature, and an increasing number have resorted to borrowing funds to stay open.
“As you know, you have agreed to cooperate with the relocation of refugees to Pennsylvania while the protracted budget impasse between your administration and the General Assembly drags on,” Barletta wrote to Wolf. “I find it unconscionable that you would permit state agencies and resources to facilitate the flow of funding to organizations assisting the refugees, while you simultaneously have blocked your treasury from releasing to public schools federal dollars, which have already been appropriated by Congress and dispersed to Pennsylvania.”
While the federal government is in command of the decisions to relocate refugees, states do have influence under federal law, Barletta wrote.
“Federal law states that the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement ‘shall consult’ with state and local governments, as well as the independent non-profit agencies that sponsor and maintain the relocation programs,” Barletta wrote. “The consultations are required to occur regularly, which is deemed to be no less than quarterly. In addition, federal law also requires that the federal agencies should, ‘to the maximum extent possible, take into account recommendations of the State.’ It is clear, then, that Pennsylvania has the same ability to influence decision-making as any other state may have.”
The federal government directly funds the non-profit organizations which manage and place the relocated refugees, but the agencies must also have the cooperation of state and local governments to operate, Barletta argued.
“Non-profit organizations, such as the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, must arrange for shelter, support services, and staff within a state before contracting with the federal government to receive the evacuees,” Barletta wrote. “These organizations must have the cooperation of government at all levels, including local and state, to be able to perform their duties. It is clear from your position on the refugee situation that you have directed your administration and the state resources at your disposal to be cooperative in the effort.”
Most problematic is Gov. Wolf’s refusal to release federal education funds which have already been appropriated by Congress and distributed to Pennsylvania. School districts have directly requested access to the funds and have been denied by the Wolf Administration.
“These are funds which would keep educating our children and prevent school districts from having to borrow money simply to remain open while your disagreement with the state legislature continues,” Barletta wrote. “All that needs to happen is for you to permit your Treasury Department to release the duly appropriated federal funds, which, unfortunately, you have pointedly refused to do. The result has been a statewide panic among students, parents, teachers, and administrators who do not know how long their schools will continue to operate.”
Barletta, who has previously written to Wolf to express his concerns about school funding and the state’s decision to accept Syrian refugees, closed his letter by asking the governor to reconsider his positions.
“If I cannot convince you to rethink your acquiescence to the Syrian refugee relocation program, perhaps I can appeal to your concern for students in our public schools,” Barletta wrote. “Please do not, by your actions, favor the former over the latter.”
Click here to read Rep. Barletta's letter to Gov. Wolf.
Click here or on image to watch Rep. Barletta’s appearance on C-Span’s Washington Journal
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today appeared on C-Span’s Washington Journal program to call for a “time out” in the United States program that admits refugees from other countries. Barletta, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, noted that he has heard from four national security experts, including two from the FBI and the Secretary of Homeland Security himself, who testified that the U.S. has no ability to properly vet refugees fleeing Syria. In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Barletta discussed the issue with C-Span host Greta Brawner and took viewer phone calls for 45 minutes.
Barletta stated, in part:
“We’ve had four national security experts, two from the FBI and the Secretary of Homeland Security himself, Jeh Johnson, testify to our lack of ability to gather information. The FBI has no system on the ground to collect information, there’s no FBI office in Syria. There’s no one we can count on. And the Secretary himself said that there’s a lot that we don’t know about the people that we’re letting in. That’s a national security risk and I think it boils down to just that.
“Allowing Syrian refugees into the United States when ISIS has claimed that ‘no blood is better than American blood,” and that they will ‘taste it soon,’ I think it’s irresponsible for us to turn our heads and not heed the warning of national security experts who cannot collect any background information.
“So we have a lot of talk about the ‘rigorous background checks’ that are done in the refugee program, and that may be true, but that doesn’t mean that that’s in place in Syria and that’s what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about refugees somewhere else, we’re talking about the refugees from Syria. When we know we have no way to interview them, we have no records to look at, we know nothing about their background. But we do know that ISIS wants to come here and kill us.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf urging him to reconsider his plans to accept so-called “Syrian refugees” in Pennsylvania in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Barletta, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, advised Wolf to heed the warnings of national security experts that the vetting process for the refugees is inadequate and flawed.
“I write to urge you in the strongest terms possible to reconsider your plans to accept the so-called ‘refugees’ fleeing Syria and welcome them to Pennsylvania,” Barletta wrote to Gov. Wolf. “As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and also its Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, I implore you to suspend cooperation until a dependable system is in place to check the background of those seeking refugee status.”
Barletta reminded Gov. Wolf that one of the attackers in the Paris terrorist assaults is believed to have entered the European Union through Greece as a Syrian refugee. Barletta indicated that this should give Pennsylvania pause in accepting the relocated refugees.
“In my role on the committee tasked with overseeing much of the security apparatus of this country, I have had the opportunity to speak directly with some of our best and most experienced national security experts,” Barletta said. “They have told me that properly vetting these refugees is a difficult challenge at best and nearly impossible at worst. These are professionals who are best positioned to know what our intelligence and analytical capabilities are, and I strongly recommend that you consider their warnings.”
Barletta noted that governors of other states have decided to reject the settlement of refugees and asked Gov. Wolf to follow suit.
“With all these facts considered, I appeal to your concern for the safety of your fellow Pennsylvanians and ask that you reverse your policy of accepting the so-called ‘Syrian refugees.’” Barletta wrote. “Already, the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Texas have announced that they will not be cooperating with the federal relocation program. I urge you to direct your administration to do the same.”
Click here or on image to watch June 24, 2015 Barletta Homeland Security Q&A on vetting Syrian refugees
Click here to read Rep. Barletta's letter for Gov. Wolf.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today called for an immediate moratorium on the acceptance of refugees into the United States until the national security risks and fiscal impacts have been evaluated. Barletta co-sponsored H.R. 3114, the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act, which places a moratorium on the entire refugee program. In addition, Barletta endorsed budget language that would prevent federal funds from being used to admit refugees from Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa until certain conditions are met. Barletta took these actions in response to word that at least one of the attackers in the Paris terrorist assaults was admitted to the European Union through Greece as a Syrian refugee.
“As a nation, the United States has always been a place for people seeking a better life, but our generous nature should not be able to be used as a weapon against us,” Barletta said. “Until we know that we have a dependable way to screen people seeking refugee status, we should not be throwing our doors open and possibly allowing terrorists to enter the country.”
The Resettlement Accountability National Security Act
Barletta has cosponsored H.R. 3114, the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act, which places an immediate moratorium on all refugees allowed into the United States under the United Nations Refugee Resettlement Program. The moratorium would stay in place until Congress fully assesses the national security risks of the refugee program. Further, the legislation requires the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to conduct a study to determine the costs of this program on state, local, and federal programs and infrastructure, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and public housing. Refugees would only be allowed admittance to the U.S. following the moratorium once a joint resolution is passed giving the Department of Homeland Security the authority to do so.
Prevent Funding of Refugee Program
Barletta also signed a letter addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (KY-5) in support of appropriations language that would prevent federal funds from being used to admit to the United States refugees from Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa. The letter reads, in part:
It is prudent and in the best interest of the American people that language be included in the upcoming FY 2016 appropriations legislation to restore Congressional oversight and authority over the refugee program. Specifically we would ask that language be included in the final bill that would:
a. Federal Immigration, law enforcement and national security agencies put in place processes to ensure that refugee and related programs are not able to be co-opted by would be terrorists;
b. That such process and programs are provided to the Congress in both classified and public formats;
c. That a longer-term monitoring process be put into place for those admitted to the U.S. as refugees; and
d. That no federal funds may be used for refugee travel to the U.S. or any U.S. resettlement until Congress has passed by joint resolution a bill that specifically approves funding for such purposes.
2. Permit U.S. funds to continue to be used to provide for the safety of refugees overseas, including housing, food and medical aid.
Better Coordination and Information Sharing
Barletta continues to look for ways to expand coordination and information sharing among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and first responders. The House has already passed Barletta’s Fusion Center Enhancement Act (H.R. 3598), which clarifies and enhances the partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the national network of fusion centers. A fusion center is a collaborative effort of two or more agencies, including federal, state, and local entities, which share resources and information to improve their ability to detect, prevent, and respond to terrorist or criminal activity.
“I have seen this problem firsthand as a mayor, and I know that more can be done to help our local law enforcement get the support they need from the federal government,” Barletta said. “My concern is that smaller communities are soft targets, and that terrorists are not always concentrating on major cities like New York and Washington. It is also likely to be someone at the local level who notices strange behavior first, not someone at the FBI or a member of an anti-terrorism task force.”
Urging PA Gov. Wolf to Stop Taking Refugees
In addition, Barletta has sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, urging him to reconsider his plans to accept so-called “Syrian refugees” in Pennsylvania in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Barletta, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, advised Wolf to heed the warnings of national security experts that the vetting process for the refugees is inadequate and flawed.
“In my role on the committee tasked with overseeing much of the security apparatus of this country, I have had the opportunity to speak directly with some of our best and most experienced national security experts,” Barletta wrote. “They have told me that properly vetting these refugees is a difficult challenge at best and nearly impossible at worst. These are professionals who are best positioned to know what our intelligence and analytical capabilities are, and I strongly recommend that you consider their warnings.”
More information about Barletta’s letter to Gov. Wolf can be found here.
Honoring Our Nation's Veterans
Veterans Day is a time we set aside annually for the specific purpose of honoring those who served, but we should also take great care in acknowledging our heroes on every other day of the year as well. Without the honor and selfless sacrifice of our veterans, we would not enjoy the freedoms we cherish today as American citizens. As a nation, we continue to owe them a debt we can never fully repay.
On November 6, in recognition of Veterans Day, I was honored to have the opportunity to visit American Legion Post 781 in Mountain Top. It was a pleasure to present an American Flag to John Columbo, Post Commander, and I was honored to be able to talk with so many men and women who sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms, and keep us safe. I am eternally grateful for their dedicated service.Read More
Participants from the 2015 Challenger Division exhibition game at the Little League World Series. (Photo: Little League Baseball)
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, has thrown his support behind the Hazleton Challenger Division for its inclusion in the 2016 Little League Baseball World Series. The Challenger Division is a special designation of Little League to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges to enjoy the game of baseball and the thrill of competition. Each year, two Challenger Division teams are selected to play in an exhibition game at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. At the request of the Hazleton Challenger Division League, Barletta has sent a letter to Little League headquarters expressing his support for their selection.
“As a former ballplayer myself, I still remember my childhood dream of playing center field for the New York Yankees like my idol Mickey Mantle,” Barletta wrote to Sam Ranck, League Development Manager for Little League International. “I was lucky enough to be able to take a chance at that dream by trying out for the Cincinnati Reds, but was quickly turned away when they realized I could not hit a curve ball. For these youngsters, the opportunity to participate in the Little League World Series will be the true realization of their dreams. I urge you to make 2016 a year these special children will never forget.”
The Challenger Division was established in 1989 for children from ages 4 to 16, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school. Teams are set up according to abilities, rather than age, and can include as many as twenty players. Challenger games can be played as tee ball games, coach pitch, player pitch, or a combination of the three. Challenger Division play encourages the use of “buddies” for players. The buddies assist the Challenger players on the field, but whenever possible, encourage the players to bat and make plays themselves. However, the buddy is always nearby to help when needed.
More than 30,000 children now participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide. The Little League Baseball World Series Challenger Exhibition Game has been a part of the Little League Baseball World Series schedule since 2001. In 2015’s Challenger Division exhibition game, State College (PA) Little League and First Colony Little League from Sugar Land (TX) represented the division.
115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Louis J. Barletta proudly represents his hometown of Hazleton and the people of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. He began his second term on January 3, 2013.
Representative Barletta was first sworn in on January 5, 2011. He immediately started serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which plays a critical role in the economic development of and job growth in Northeastern and South Central Pennsylvania, and the Education and Workforce Committee, which focuses on how our nation can improve its educational system so we have competitive, qualified workers in the future.
He remains on these committees during his second term in office. Additionally, Rep. Barletta was appointed Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Also for his second term, Rep. Barletta was assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security, which was established in 2002 to provide congressional oversight for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack. The committee has jurisdiction over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), and the U.S. Coast Guard; border security programs including efforts to achieve operational control of the border; and border smuggling and trafficking of drugs, humans, currency, weapons and other illicit materials. The committee also has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport security, and more.
Illegal immigration is a very important subject for Representative Barletta, who first tackled the problem when he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Lou Barletta was the first mayor in the country to introduce and sign into law local ordinances cracking down against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. He has since become a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration.
During his first term in Congress, Representative Barletta formed the 112th Class Immigration Reform Caucus, which brings together members of the historic 2011-12 “freshmen” class. Representative Barletta chairs this caucus as it examines solutions to the country’s illegal immigration problems.
Also during his first term, Representative Barletta used his position on the Small Business Committee to fight to reduce the interest rate charged on certain Small Business Administration disaster recovery loans after massive flooding devastated the 11th District in September 2011.
Born and raised in Hazleton, Representative Barletta majored in elementary education as a student at Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University). He left school to try out for a Major League Baseball team, but was released when the team’s management discovered he couldn’t hit a curve ball.
After he returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania, he and his wife Mary Grace started a business together. For $29.95, the Barlettas formed a line-painting business. Through hard work and perseverance, they grew that business into the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within five years. They eventually grew it to be the sixth-largest business of its kind in the entire nation.
As a small business owner, Representative Barletta saw how government regulation and taxes could affect the bottom line. Even though he had very little interest in politics, he decided to run for a slot on Hazleton City Council. He was first elected to council in 1998, then was elected mayor in 2000.
Despite inheriting a massive budget shortfall, he was able to turn around the City of Hazleton with tough, fiscally responsible decisions. This turnaround earned statewide praise and recognition.
In addition, his leadership on the issue of illegal immigration in Hazleton garnered national attention. By ever-increasing margins of victory, Representative Barletta was elected mayor three times.
In September 2004, Representative Barletta was appointed by the White House to serve on the United Nation Advisory Committee of Local Authorities as the representative of the United States of America.
In November 2010, Representative Barletta was elected to Congress on his third attempt. He was re-elected in November 2012.
Lou and Mary Grace are the parents of four daughters: Kelly, April, Lindsey, and Grace. They also have one grandson, Gabriel Louis; and one granddaughter, Madeleine Grace.
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My original letter to DoD regarding the blimp's escape on Oct. 28th. (2/2) https://t.co/lz4BkGbUgd
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The Army replied to my questions about the runaway blimp, reporting that they're investigating. Stay tuned. (1/2) https://t.co/r5gIqiuQ2I
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Today is #SmallBusinessSaturday and a great time to do some Christmas shopping and support our small businesses. In this economy, almost 7 out
With the way the world seems to be today, it can often be easy to overlook the many blessings we have as Americans that we too often take for
Here's a nice write-up by Bill O'Boyle of the Runaway Blimp Escapade of 2015. The story so far ...
The Army has offered a preliminary reply to my inquiries about the "runaway blimp" episode, essentially telling me that they're investigating
Quite an honor for Crystal Tree Farm in Lehighton, in Carbon County, to have provided the Christmas tree for the state Capitol in Harrisburg.