Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Barletta Urges President to Restore Animal Welfare Information to Website

2017/02/15

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) joined 100 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives in writing to President Donald J. Trump to urge him to restore data to a Department of Agriculture (USDA) website, which contained information about animal welfare violations by research laboratories, zoos, dog breeders, and other facilities.  Documents regarding enforcement of animal welfare laws were removed in early February from the online database maintained by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.  Barletta was one of the leaders in drafting and circulating the letter among House members for support.

“Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act decades ago, and in recent years Congress has provided tens of millions of dollars for enforcement of these laws,” the lawmakers wrote.  “USDA annually inspects approximately 9,000 licensed facilities including commercial dog and cat breeding facilities, laboratories, zoos, circuses, airlines, Tennessee walking horse shows, and other operations. The work product of USDA employees executing these enforcement programs – invaluable information about both compliant and non-compliant licensees – is valued by lawmakers; the media; a variety of industries that use animals in commerce, exhibition, and research; the animal welfare community; and the general public. These are two of our nation’s most important and broadly supported animal welfare programs.”

The House members argued that access to such animal welfare records performs a public service, as the free flow of information can deter organizations from abusing animals, while also guiding consumers in their decision-making.

“Access to these records has enabled the public to learn about many animal-care violations including those by puppy mills, roadside zoos, and training barns engaged in cruel horse soring,” the letter reads.  “It has also provided accountability for research facilities that violate the law, and allowed assessment of how many animals are used (often with taxpayer funding) for research that causes unrelieved pain.”

The members noted that withholding such information impedes the enforcement of animal welfare laws on the state and local levels.

“For example, seven states currently prohibit the sale of dogs from breeding operations with a history of serious AWA violations,” the lawmakers wrote.  “Without ready access to inspection reports, dog sellers in those states will have no practical way to comply with these laws, and state and local law enforcement efforts will be severely impeded.”

Finally, the members of Congress said they were not persuaded by USDA’s explanation that the information was withdrawn out of concern with court rulings and privacy laws.  The suggestion that information could be obtained by the public through Freedom of Information Act requests was also unconvincing.

“While the agency has indicated that the public can access these documents by submitting a request under the Freedom of Information Act, history has shown that such requests can take months, and even years, to fulfill,” the letter concludes.  “We should be increasing government transparency, not diminishing it and shielding those cited for violations of these key animal welfare laws. We hope you will immediately restore what was removed from USDA’s website regarding the Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act, and resume posting inspection reports, annual reports, and other animal welfare related documents so that the public can access them in an efficient and timely way.”

To view a copy of the letter, click here.

 

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Barletta Bill Protects Legal Workers from Illegal Immigrant Competition

2017/02/14

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) has introduced legislation that protects people who are legally authorized to work in the United States by clarifying that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action cannot be issued work permits.  The Defense of Legal Workers Act (H.R. 1010) is intended to remedy executive actions taken by former President Barack Obama to shield millions of illegal immigrants and permit them to compete with legal American workers for jobs that are already scarce.  Barletta previously introduced the same legislation in November 2014.

“When President Obama granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, he improperly created more competition for legal American workers who are already finding it difficult to find work,” Barletta said.  “American citizens, or people who have come to the United States legally, should not have to suffer from others butting in line after they have broken the law to enter this country.”

The legislation is necessary in the wake of two Obama programs: an expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).  Under DACA, legal presence was granted to illegal immigrants claiming to have been present in the United States since before they turned 16, and who claimed continuous residency since 2010, among other criteria.  Under DAPA, legal presence was granted to people who had lived in the country since 2010 and were parents of citizens or legal residents.  In June 2016, The United States Supreme Court split 4-to-4 in a case involving the Obama executive actions, leaving in place a lower court ruling that blocked the programs.  The resulting legal limbo means that legislative action is the best means of settling the issue.

“This legislation makes it crystal clear: only those lawfully present can lawfully work,” Barletta said.  “This legislation is only necessary because Congress never conceived that an administration would engage in the level of executive overreach exhibited by the Obama Administration.”

The Defense of Legal Workers Act amends current law to clearly state that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action are not authorized to work in the United States.  It leaves in place current processes by which people become legally present and authorized to work. 

“I am hopeful that President Trump will act to overturn DACA and DAPA in defense of legal American workers,” Barletta continued.  “Until then, this legislation clearly states that it is the policy of the United States to favor legal residents over those who have broken the law to come here.”

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Barletta Bulletin 2.12.17

2017/02/12

Start of a New Congress

As we begin the new 115th Congress, the United States is under the leadership of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.  On January 20, 2017, the world witnessed what is one of the finest attributes of the United States: the peaceful transfer of power from one chief executive to the next.  I thank former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for their service and wish them and their families well on the next phase of their lives.  And I welcome President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as they begin to travel their own path in blazing a new trail of American history.

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Barletta Praises Trump’s Creation of Office to Aid Victims of Illegal Alien Crimes

2017/02/10

 

Rep. Barletta (left) questions retired Gen. John Kelly, the new Secretary of Homeland Security, during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on February 7, 2017. 

Click here or on image for video of Barletta’s Q&A with Gen. Kelly.

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) is applauding the creation of an office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will provide services to people who have been victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens.  The office was established by President Donald J. Trump’s executive order of January 25, 2017 (found here), which dealt with enforcing immigration laws in the interior of the country.  This is a separate executive order from the one that addressed the refugee program and travel restrictions for nationals of seven specific terrorist-laden countries.  Barletta highlighted the creation of the office during a February 7, 2017 House Homeland Security Committee hearing featuring testimony from the new DHS Secretary, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly.      

“One of the principal reasons I ran for Congress was my frustration with the federal government over refusing to enforce our existing immigration laws,” Barletta said to Gen. Kelly.  “My City of Hazleton … was overrun by illegal aliens who brought with them gangs, drugs, identify theft, fraud, other crimes that I had to deal with.  No one was speaking for the victims of these crimes.  I always heard that we have to have compassion for the person who comes here illegally.  But I had to sit with people who lost loved ones who were victims, and I have compassion for them.  So I commend the Trump Administration for recognizing these crime victims.”

Among other provisions, the executive order created the Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens:

Sec. 13.  Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens.  The Secretary shall direct the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take all appropriate and lawful action to establish within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement an office to provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims.  This office shall provide quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.

Gen. Kelly said the creation of the office is already underway, and though it was originally intended to be housed within the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, he has directed that it be elevated to answer directly to him as secretary of DHS.  He described the office as a clearinghouse for information pertaining to crimes committed by illegal aliens.

“Generally speaking, these criminals who are here illegally are generally going through a criminal justice system in the states, for the most part,” said Gen. Kelly.  “First of all, our view would be that those people can expect from us, if they call and say, ‘How’s the case going?  The person that murdered by daughter with a gun, or ran over my son with an automobile, or killed a police officer on the side of the road … how’s that going?’  We will be able to say it’s in court, give them a description of what it is.  But further down the line, that office will be able to tell those people, ‘Okay, the convicted person that killed your daughter, murdered your son, killed a cop, he’s got ten years, nine years, eight years, seven years … okay, he’s going to be paroled.’  You can bet that my people will be standing there when he is paroled to take him into custody and send him back to wherever he came from.  That’s what I see that office doing.”

Another section of the same executive order cut off federal grants to sanctuary cities, an issue long championed by the congressman.

“One of the principal duties of the government is to protects its citizens, and the idea of sanctuary cities runs completely counter to that responsibility,” Barletta said.  “Too many mayors and local governments think that they are above federal law and place their own ideology ahead of the safety of their residents.  I commend President Trump for taking this action, as our local elected officials must know that there will be consequences for thumbing their noses at federal law.” 

Barletta has authored legislation that would go even farther than the president’s executive orders.  Barletta has introduced the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, which will stop all federal funds from flowing to states or localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or flatly refuse to cooperate with immigration officials.  The bill prohibits any federal funding for a minimum period of one year to any state or local government which has a policy or law that prevents them from assisting immigration authorities in enforcing federal immigration law.  The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) lists about 300 such localities in the United States.  Barletta’s bill directs the attorney general to compile an annual list of such cities and issue a report on any particular state or locality upon request from a member of Congress.  A state or local government would only regain federal funding eligibility after the attorney general certifies that its laws and policies are in compliance with federal immigration statutes.  This is the third time he has introduced the legislation.

Barletta introduced the bill as his first piece of legislation as a freshman congressman in 2011 because of his personal experience with the danger of sanctuary cities while he was mayor of Hazleton.  In 2006, a 29-year-old local father of three, Derek Kichline, was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been released by law enforcement a number of times, including by the sanctuary city of New York.  Additionally, Barletta was spurred to reintroduce the bill in 2015 following the San Francisco murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, whose accused killer was a seven-time felon who had been deported five times previously.  

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Barletta: 9th Circuit Missed Real Threats from Seven Terror-Laden Failed States

2017/02/10

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today faulted the ruling of a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which declined to reinstate President Trump’s executive order suspending travel to the United States from seven specific failed states with strong connections to terrorism.  The court claimed that there was no evidence of actual terrorist attacks perpetrated by citizens of the seven countries, while completely ignoring recent history and ample instances of arrests for foiled plots or coordination with terrorist organizations.  The judges somehow overlooked last year’s Ohio State mass stabbing, as well as other specific cases and a broad pattern of terrorist activity that demonstrate clearly that the seven nations do indeed pose a real and credible threat to national security.

“Since the court decided that it has the authority to look at the reasons behind a presidential executive order, the least the judges could do is perform a simple Google search.  If they had, they would have found plenty of evidence that people from these failed states have been in this country and have been engaged in terror plots against Americans,” Barletta said.  “The fact that there have been so many terror plots disrupted means that we’re asking law enforcement to play goalie after the terrorists are already roaming free inside the United States.  Why would we purposefully place extra pressure on them by refusing to tighten controls on who can enter this country?”

In January, President Trump issued an executive order which suspended the entire refugee program, but also suspended travel specifically for non-green card holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  The 9th Circuit failed to lift a lower court’s temporary restraining order against the presidential action, in part by repeating the false claim that no one from any of the seven nations has ever represented a threat.

As he did during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on February 7, 2017, Barletta again pointed to a recent University of North Carolina study (link here), which found that since September 11, 2001, 23 percent of people arrested for terror-related crimes in the U.S. have direct ties to the seven nations covered by the executive order.  Barletta also highlighted several specific instances of terror-related activity by people connected to the seven countries.

“Nearly a quarter of the people arrested on terrorism charges are tied to the seven countries in question,” Barletta said.  “Put that together with specific, known instances of terrorist activity, and it is clear that the court reached the outcome it wanted despite facts readily at hand.”

In addition to the University of North Carolina study, Barletta noted the following cases:

  • In November 2016, Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove a car into a group of people and stabbed a number of others during a rampage at Ohio State University.
  • In January 2016, federal authorities made separate arrests in of two Palestinians who were born in Iraq and had entered the U.S. through the refugee program.  Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab was arrested in Sacramento, California and charged with making false statements to investigators regarding terrorism.  Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan was arrested in Houston, Texas and charged with attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization ISIS.
  • In 2011, Iraqi refugees Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were arrested on terror-related charges in Kentucky.  They were convicted in 2013 of attempting to move weapons and money from the U.S. to Iraq and trying to assist al Qaeda with assaults on American troops.

“Congress expressly gave the president wide authority to stop the flow of foreign nationals into this country if he deems it in the national interest,” Barletta said.  “In hearings before my House Homeland Security Committee, we have had numerous national security experts tell us that we simply cannot accurately screen refugees because we have no information from their home countries to verify their identities.  In many cases, we simply have no idea who we are admitting to the country.  I remain in full support of President Trump’s actions, which I believe are only prudent, while we work on a system that allows us to verify the identity and background of applicants.”

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Barletta to Co-Host Heroin & Opioid Forum with State Rep. Keller

2017/02/08

SHIPPENSBURG – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that he will be co-hosting a forum with state Representative Mark Keller (86th District) to discuss the growing opioid epidemic facing Pennsylvania communities and efforts underway to combat the problem.  Barletta and Keller will welcome members of the public to the Ceddia Union Building, multipurpose room C, at Shippensburg University from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.  The forum, moderated by WHP-AM morning show host R.J. Harris, will feature representatives from government agencies, health professionals, and treatment advocacy programs.  This is the second such forum Barletta has hosted – the first was last August in Harrisburg.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the most tragic problems we face as a community, as substance abuse is an affliction that affects millions of Americans,” Barletta said.  “I consistently hear about opioid and heroin abuse when I am home in my district.  I look forward to this, another public forum in our ongoing discussion, and I thank Rep. Keller, R.J. Harris, and Shippensburg University for making it possible.”

Expected panelists at the forum include:

  • Carrie DeLone, M.D., Medical Director, Holy Spirit Medical Group
  • Dave Freed, Cumberland County District Attorney
  • Charles Hall, Cumberland County Coroner
  • Fred Scott, Shippensburg Chief of Police
  • Kenneth Martz, PA Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Special Asst. to the Secretary
  • Kristin Varner, Director of Training and Advocacy, The RASE Project

Barletta was a member of the conference committee that worked out the differences between House and Senate versions of a new, sweeping approach to combating the opioid epidemic – a package which contains his own bill that specifically protects addicted newborns and their caregivers.  The legislation combines educational and prevention programs, enhanced treatment, and increased law enforcement efforts to provide a comprehensive approach to the expanding problem of opioid abuse.  The House and Senate approved the legislation and President Obama has signed it into law.

As a conferee on the legislation, Barletta was able to secure the inclusion of provisions his own Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act (H.R. 4843), which had already passed the House on its own by a unanimous vote of 421-to-0.  Specifically, based on Barletta’s legislation, the bill:

  • Requires the department of Health and Human Services to review and confirm states have put in place policies required under the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
  • Strengthens protections for infants born with addiction by clarifying the intent of safe care plans. 
  • Improves accountability related to the care of infants and their families by requiring additional information on the incidents of infants born with substance exposure and their care. 
  • Provides states with best practices for developing plans to keep infants and their caregivers healthy and safe.
  • Encourages the use of information made available through other child welfare laws in verifying CAPTA compliance.

CAPTA was enacted in 1974 to coordinate federal efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.  The law provides states with resources to improve their child protective services systems.  In order to receive funds under CAPTA, states are required to assure the Department of Health and Human Services that they have implemented certain child welfare policies.  Such policies include requiring health care providers to notify state child protective services agencies when a child is born with prenatal illegal substance exposure, as well as requiring the development of a “safe care plan” to protect these newborns and keep them and their caregivers healthy.  A recent Reuters investigation revealed some states are receiving federal funds without having the necessary policies in place, resulting in shocking and deadly consequences.

“Every 25 minutes in this country, a baby is born having already been exposed to drugs and suffering from opioid withdrawal,” Barletta said.  “Children who are exposed to illegal substances before they’re born are helpless in avoiding the pain and suffering caused by addiction, and so many infants enter this world without even a fighting chance.  These children will pay the price for something they had absolutely no control over—something they were defenseless against.”

The overall legislation, the Conference Report to Accompany S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, authorizes the attorney general and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to address the national epidemics of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids, and makes various other changes to Federal law to combat opioid addiction and abuse.  The legislation:

  • Authorizes HHS to award grants to states and combinations of states to carry out a comprehensive opioid abuse response, including education, treatment, and recovery efforts to prevent overdose deaths.
  • Authorizes the Department of Justice to award grants to states, local governments, and nonprofit organizations to carry out a comprehensive opioid abuse response, including alternatives to incarceration, law enforcement training, and treatment to prevent overdose deaths.
  • Creates a task force on pain management to review best practices for chronic and acute pain management.
  • Creates awareness campaigns to spread information on prevention and detection of opioid abuse.
  • Authorizes Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Address Local Drug Crises.
  • Creates information materials and resources to prevent addiction related to youth sports injuries.
  • Authorizes grants to states to establish, implement, and improve state-based prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • Authorizes grants for states to implement standing orders for opioid reversal drugs.
  • Supports the purchase and distribution of opioid overdose reversal drugs and training for first responders and other key community sectors.
  • Support states in expanding access to addiction treatment services for individuals with an opioid use disorder.
  • Expands access to medication-assisted treatment by authorizing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid addiction or treat moderate pain.
  • Reauthorizes the Residential Treatment Program for Pregnant and Postpartum women and creates a new pilot program to support family-based services for women and their children.
  • Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to issue a report on neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Clarifies that pharmacists coordinating with the doctor and patient and in accordance with state law do not need to fill the entire amount of a prescription for a Schedule II substance, such as opioids.
  • Facilitates the creation and management of “lock-in” programs to curb identified fraud, abuse, and misuse of prescribed medications.
  • Requires the Government Accountability Office to study and report to Congress on the effects of the various “Good Samaritan” laws at the state level.
  • Protects classified information from disclosure during a federal court challenge by a designee.

“It was a great honor to be named a conferee as the House and Senate worked together to craft this bipartisan legislation to address our nation’s growing opioid epidemic and prevent the heartbreaking instances of addiction and loss that have touched every American community,” Barletta said.  “No American demographic is safe from the scourge of opioid addiction.  It crosses party lines and it transcends Congressional district boundaries.”  

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Barletta Retains House Committee Assignments in 115th Congress

2017/02/08

Member of Key Homeland Subcommittee on Counterterrorism & Intelligence

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that he has retained all of his previous committee assignments for the new 115th Congress, including as a subcommittee chairman on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) and as a member of a key subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee.  Barletta will again serve as chairman of the T&I Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.  Barletta also remains a member of the important Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.  He will also again serve on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where he sits on two subcommittees.

“Committee assignments are key to being an effective member of the House, because they are where most of the legislative work is done, and I am once again pleased to serve on three committees that cover issues that are very important to me and the 11th District of Pennsylvania,” Barletta said.  “Transportation is a natural fit, because I came from a family road construction company and am very concerned with the state of our infrastructure system.  Additionally, in this time of rising terrorism threats and open U.S. borders, homeland security is more important now than it has ever been.  And finally, education is an area of great interest for me, particularly in helping to create a better-trained workforce in an always-evolving economy.”

Barletta remains at the helm of the T & I Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, where he has changed the way the federal government manages its office space, leases, and real estate portfolio.  Through Barletta’s leadership, the subcommittee’s work has already saved taxpayers more than $3 billion through better stewardship of public buildings.  The subcommittee has also undertaken a reform of disaster response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“In the next five years, half of all federal leases, or 100 million square feet of space, will expire,” Barletta said.  “Since last congress, we have worked to reduce the federal footprint through consolidating space and improving space utilization.  With the large number of leases expiring in the near future, we have a good opportunity to save even more.”

“I welcome Congressman Barletta back to lead this important subcommittee,” said T & I Chairman, Bill Shuster (PA-9).  “His previous work as Chairman has already helped save the American taxpayers billions of dollars.  This Congress will present new and unique opportunities to continue saving money for taxpayers, including through reforms of federal real estate management and reforms to federal disaster response programs.  This will be a busy Congress for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rep. Barletta’s subcommittee will play a key role in our efforts.”

Barletta’s complete subcommittee assignments are:

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

  • Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management (Chairman)
  • Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
  • Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials

Homeland Security Committee

  • Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence
  • Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security

Education and the Workforce Committee

  • Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development
  • Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions
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Barletta: Seven Nations in Exec. Order Account for One Quarter of Terror Arrests

2017/02/07

Rep. Barletta speaks with Gen. John Kelly (Ret.), the new Secretary of Homeland Security, prior to a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee. 

Click here or on image for video of Rep. Barletta’s Q&A with Gen. Kelly.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today pushed back on the false claim that no one from any of the seven nations targeted by an executive order from President Trump has ever been arrested for terrorist-related activities.  In January, President Trump issued an executive order which suspends the entire refugee program, but also suspends travel specifically for non-green card holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  Some critics of the travel restrictions argue that citizens from those countries have never been arrested for terrorism-related crimes while in the United States.  Barletta produced a study (found here) from a professor at the University of North Carolina that found that those seven nations account for 23 percent of terror-related arrests in the U.S. since September 11, 2001.

“I have here a study by a professor from the University of North Carolina, which finds that in all the arrests made for terror-related activities in the United States since 9/11, almost a quarter of them have direct family ties to those seven countries,” Barletta said, while asking a question of new Homeland Security Secretary, Gen. John Kelly (Ret.).  “In your opinion, are the critics correct?  Have there been no problems at all with people from these seven countries?”

During his questioning of Gen. Kelly, Barletta noted that the federal judge who temporarily blocked the executive order made the same claim: that no one from those seven nations had ever been arrested on terrorism-related charges.  The judge’s ruling is currently under appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I can’t help but note that, at least in one instance, he is right,” Barletta said.  “The young man who stabbed a number of people at Ohio State this past November was in the United States through the refugee program.  He came here from Somalia, one of the seven countries we’re talking about.  But in this one case, the judge was right.  He was not arrested, because he was killed at the scene by police.”

Gen. Kelly replied that he is tasked with keeping the country safe from threats, and that he does not have the luxury of having theoretical discussions.

“Hope is not a course of action for people like me, and police officers and sheriffs and members of the CBP, people like that,” said Gen. Kelly.  “We can never rely on, ‘Gee, I hope nothing bad happens.’  I have nothing but respect for judges.  But in their world, it’s a very academic, almost in a vacuum discussion.  And, of course, in their courtrooms they’re protected by people like me.  So they can have those discussions, and if something happens bad from letting people in, they don’t come to the judge to ask him about his ruling, they come to people like me.”

Barletta has been a supporter of President Trump’s executive order, which suspended the entire refugee program for 120 days, while also barring the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely.  Additionally, the order barred the admission of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days.  In the meantime, the president ordered a review of the screening, or vetting, process until it can be determined that refugee applicants are indeed the individuals they claim to be.  The Department of Homeland Security has stated that the order will not impact Legal Permanent Residents, or holders of green cards.  

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Barletta Votes to Stop Obama Gun Grab for Certain Social Security Recipients

2017/02/02

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted to overturn a new rule from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that would have the effect of stripping the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens simply because they need help in managing their finances.  The rule, issued in the waning days of the Obama Administration, affects people who receive Disability Insurance or Supplemental Social Security benefits for certain mental health conditions, and who also are deemed to require someone to help manage their benefits.  The list of mental health conditions includes such afflictions as bulimia, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  People covered by the rule would have their names sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. 

“It seems incredible that President Obama would use Social Security and a blanket policy as means to limit the lawful ownership of firearms, but that’s just what he did on his way out the door,” Barletta said.  “This rule, stated simply, says that if your grandmother has anxiety and needs help managing her finances, she gets reported to NICS and is stripped of a Constitutional right.  That cannot stand.”

Barletta was an original cosponsor of the resolution of disapproval of the rule, H.J. Res. 40, which passed the House by a vote of 235-to-180.  It now heads to the Senate for its consideration.  The resolution was passed by the House pursuant to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn an agency’s rule if a joint resolution of disapproval is passed by both chambers and signed by the president.

The SSA rule also violates an individual’s right to due process.  Once a person’s name is sent to NICS, the individual may only seek relief through the agency’s appeals process.  This puts citizens in the position of having to prove they are not threats to public safety after they already have been deprived of their rights.  Although the rule took effect on January 18, 2017, the SSA will not begin submitting names to the NICS under the new criteria until December 19, 2017.

“It’s a pretty rare issue that brings together the National Rifle Association and a whole list of groups that advocate for seniors and the disabled, but that’s what this rule has done,” Barletta said.  “Just because you need a little help in managing your finances doesn’t mean you forfeit your Constitutional rights.”

The following is a list of organizations which support the overturning of the SSA rule:

 

ADAPT

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

Association of Mature American Citizens

Autism Self Advocacy Network

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force

Disability Rights Law Center (DRLC) Alaska

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

National Association for Rural Mental Health

National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

National Council on Disability

National Council on Independent Living

National Disability Leadership Alliance

National Disability Rights Network

National Rifle Association (NRA)

New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services

Safari Club International

The Arc of the United States

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Barletta Warns of Email Scam Asking for Employee IRS W-2 Forms

2017/02/02

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued a warning that there is a new wave of email scams circulating which target company payroll or human resources offices and seek personally-identifying information of employees.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reported that the email scams may use a corporate officer’s name to create an appearance of legitimacy, a form of the email phishing practice known as “spoofing.”  The emails may request a list of employee names, salaries, and IRS W-2 forms.  The purpose of the information is to file fraudulent tax returns in an attempt to collect refunds.

“Email scammers are getting more and more clever, which means that people must be more on guard than ever,” Barletta said.  “If you receive an email that looks like it comes from a company executive requesting sensitive information about employees, it is better to double check that it’s a legitimate request.  These emails can look extremely authentic, so it is always best to ask.”

The following are examples of requests that may be contained in the emails:

  • Kindly send me the individual 2016 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.
  • Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary)?
  • I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees’ wage and tax statement for 2016.  I need them in PDF file type.  You can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me ASAP.

Barletta advises residents who believe they have received one of the spoofing emails to forward it immediately to phishing@irs.gov.

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Contact Information

115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6511
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barletta.house.gov

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.


Serving With

Mike Kelly

PENNSYLVANIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Glenn Thompson

PENNSYLVANIA's 5th DISTRICT

Ryan Costello

PENNSYLVANIA's 6th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Brian Fitzpatrick

PENNSYLVANIA's 8th DISTRICT

Bill Shuster

PENNSYLVANIA's 9th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Keith Rothfus

PENNSYLVANIA's 12th DISTRICT

Charlie Dent

PENNSYLVANIA's 15th DISTRICT

Lloyd Smucker

PENNSYLVANIA's 16th DISTRICT

Tim Murphy

PENNSYLVANIA's 18th DISTRICT

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