Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta


Barletta Statement on Obama Cuba Announcement


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding President Obama’s announcement that the United States will begin normalizing relations with Cuba following the negotiated release of American Alan Gross and an unnamed U.S. intelligence asset in exchange for three Cubans convicted of spying in 2001. The statement is as follows: “I join all Americans in celebrating the release of Alan Gross after years of unjust imprisonment.  It is in keeping with our tradition of leaving no one behind. “That said, the negotiated release should have come about without normalizing relations with the same nation which has oppressed its own people for decades.  These are enormous concessions extended to a country that does not allow its citizens simple, basic freedoms that we, as Americans, too often take for granted.  Instead, I fear this will only embolden the dictatorship, and teach others the lesson that all oppressive regimes need do is wait until the United States tires of standing firm for freedom.  Further, I am concerned that the Obama Administration will use this move as the pretext for closing our facility at Guantanamo Bay, which would cause either the release of known terrorists, or the housing of them within our own borders.” Read More

Barletta Statement Regarding Ruling on Obama Executive Amnesty


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding a federal judge’s ruling that parts of President Obama’s executive action on amnesty for illegal immigrants are unconstitutional.  Pennsylvania U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab wrote in an opinion related to a deportation case that the president’s actions amounted to legislating from the Executive Branch and goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in refusing to deport illegal immigrants.  Barletta has maintained that the president’s actions are a violation of the constitutional separation of powers and trespass on Congressional authority to make laws. Barletta’s statement is as follows: “Though this is the first of presumably many court rulings on the president’s unilateral executive amnesty, it is encouraging to see a federal court agree with what I have been saying all along.  It is clear that the president has overstepped his authority by creating new laws and granting sweeping amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.  Meanwhile, the administration is already defending its unlawful actions by telling federal courts that they don’t have the authority to block the amnesty plan because of the constitutional separation of powers.  The irony could not be richer. “I still support a federal lawsuit against the administration for their own violation of the separation of powers.  I also will be working closely with House leadership on defunding the president’s executive amnesty program once the new Congress, with the new Senate majority, is sworn in. “We have immigration laws in this country for two basic reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs.  The president’s plan to grant amnesty and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants violates both of those principles.” Read More

Barletta Details Highlights of Cromnibus Spending Bill


  [[{"fid":"359","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]] WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today detailed highlights of the so-called “Cromnibus” spending bill, which is a combination of a Continuing Resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through February 27, 2015 and an omnibus spending package funding the rest of the federal government through September 30, 2015.  Most importantly, Barletta said he will now assume a prominent role as the House of Representatives moves forward with efforts to block President Obama’s amnesty plan for illegal immigrants.  “A huge majority of voters in my district and across America are opposed to the president’s amnesty plan, which we will now be able to combat when the new House and Senate majority arrive in January,” Barletta said.  “Speaker Boehner personally promised that I will be at the table when our new policies are set, so for all citizens who are rightly concerned about amnesty, I will be serving as their eyes, ears, and voices.” Given the current makeup of the Senate, Barletta said the House was limited on its options of what to include in the spending package.  Key in the legislation was the fact that DHS only received short-term funding, meaning Congress will be able to revisit the issue early in the new year to defund the president’s amnesty program. “There is no immigration language of which I would approve that would stand a chance of passing the Senate while Harry Reid is still in charge,” Barletta said.  “We had to get the best bill that we could at this very moment, and then come back to the battle when our reinforcements have arrived with the new Congress in January.” The bill adheres to existing spending caps, but includes a number of important policy improvements, including the protections for national security and members of the military.  It also improves public safety and gang prevention, and increases funding for Community Development Block Grants.  The package also curtails overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency, political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service, and includes no new money for Obamacare. National Security & Military Includes $521 billion in defense spending. Includes a 1% pay increase for military personnel and cost-of-living adjustment. Includes additional $900 million to address military funding shortfalls, including depot maintenance at facilities such as Tobyhanna Army Depot. Prohibits the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. Increases funding for VA programs by $1.8 billion. Provides $2.5 billion for processing VA disability claims to end the backlog. Rescinds $41 million in performance bonuses at the VA. Public Safety Restores funding zeroed out under President Obama’s budget request for State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which reimburses localities who house criminal illegal immigrants in local jails (increases funding from $180 million to $185 million rather than president’s request of $0.) Increases funding for gang prevention efforts, while providing resources to address drug trafficking (particularly methamphetamine and heroin), human trafficking, and an update of the National Gang Survey.    Through COPS and JAG funding, increases gang prevention and methamphetamine prevention efforts. Provides $20 million to combat prescription drug abuse. Communities Funds Community Development Block Grants at $200 million more than original budget request. Increases funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by $75 million. Increases funding for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Increases funding for flood prevention under the Streamflow Information Program. Coal Requires the Department of Defense to use anthracite coal to heat the Army and Air Force Barracks in Kaiserslautern, Germany.  Health Provides $5.4 billion to Fight Ebola in the US and abroad. Increases funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by $43 million. Increases funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $150 million – specifically increases for Alzheimer’s, cancer, brain research, and the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act pediatric research initiative. Transportation Provides almost $41 billion in obligation limitation funding for the Federal Highway program (the same level authorized in the MAP-21 transportation authorization legislation). Protects small business from over regulation related to commercial trucking, driver hours, and hazmat permitting. Obamacare Provides no new funding for Obamacare. Requires Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury to report to Congress on improper payments of ObamaCare tax subsidies. Reduces funding to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Maintains all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions. Three new pro-life provisions:   Obamacare Transparency - requires Obamacare healthcare plans to inform customers if they provide abortion services. Conscience Protection - requires HHS Office of Civil Rights to address complaints of violations. Provides $12 million in unused abstinence education funds. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Cuts IRS funding by $345.6 million ($1.5 billion below the president’s request and below Fiscal Year 2008 levels). Prohibits IRS targeting of organizations based on their ideological beliefs or for exercising their First Amendment rights. Prohibits the White House from ordering review of tax-exempt status. Prohibits use of IRS funds for inappropriate videos and conferences. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Cuts EPA by $60 million, representing the 5th consecutive year of cuts – a total reduction of 21 percent since Fiscal Year 2010. Reduces EPA staffing by 2,000 positions, which is equivalent to 1989 levels. Prohibits regulation of farm ponds and irrigation ditches. Protects Second Amendment rights and prohibits EPA from regulating lead content in ammunition or fishing tackle. “As with any spending bill, the end result is not perfect, but this makes important strides in many key areas,” Barletta said.  “I look forward to working with our new partners in the Senate in the new Congress, when we can finally work to stop the president’s amnesty plan.” Read More

Barletta Statement Regarding His Vote on “Cromnibus” Funding Bill


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding his vote in favor of the so-called “Cromnibus” funding bill, which is a combination of a Continuing Resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security through February 27, 2015 and an omnibus spending package funding the rest of the federal government through September 30, 2015. Barletta’s statement is as follows: “While the overall discussion of the Cromnibus spending bill deals with the operation of the entire federal budget, for me the most important factor is illegal immigration and the question of stopping President Obama’s executive amnesty.   We have immigration laws in this country for two reasons: to protect national security and preserve American jobs.  The president’s actions violate both of those principles.  He is introducing five million more competitors into an already tight job market, at a time when 20 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.  It is time that someone stood up for legal American workers.  Therefore, the most important question I must answer for myself is: how best to stop the president’s unlawful executive action? “After careful consideration, I have determined that it is a much better strategy to have the fight over funding the amnesty program once our reinforcements have arrived in the form of the new Senate to be sworn in early next year.  I did not come to this decision lightly, but it is obvious to me that there is no language that I would support regarding illegal immigration that would stand a chance of passing the Senate while Harry Reid is still in charge.  Understanding that truth, I cast my vote in favor of the Cromnibus with the full knowledge that we will attack the issue again early in 2015. “There can be no one who questions my position on illegal immigration.  During lengthy discussions and negotiations leading up to the vote, I was personally assured by Speaker Boehner that I will play an integral role in crafting new, strong national immigration policies beginning in January.  I came to Congress to strengthen our enforcement of immigration laws, and now I will have the ability to influence the direction and impact of our immigration policies as we work to block the president’s amnesty.”   Read More

Barletta Testifies in Support of Unaccompanied Alien Children Transparency Act


[[{"fid":"358","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]] Click here or on image to watch Rep. Barletta's testimony WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today testified in a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee in support of his legislation, the Unaccompanied Alien Children Transparency Act (H.R. 5409).  Barletta introduced the bill in September in response to the flood of illegal immigrants who streamed across the United States border with Mexico earlier this year.  Barletta told members of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security that the legislation empowers governors and local elected officials to control whether or not the federal government can place unaccompanied minors, who have illegally entered the country, into their communities.  “It is critical that state and local governments are not left in the dark,” Barletta said. “Lawmakers must know who is coming to their communities, how much it will cost, and how it will impact their health and educational systems, which is why my bill gives local communities veto power if this information is not provided to their satisfaction.  I wish we didn’t need legislation like mine, but unfortunately, my bill is needed due to the total lack of transparency by the administration following the surge of crossings over the southern border.” The legislation requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide state and local elected officials with a 30-day notice and comment period to determine for themselves whether they are prepared and able to receive unaccompanied alien minors.  In particular, HHS would be responsible for assessing and informing communities of the cost and impact of receiving them.  The department must also certify that the unaccompanied alien minors have undergone health screenings, including vaccinations, as well as criminal background checks, and pose no public health or safety threat.  “Such steps are vital to ensuring the welfare of our communities,” Barletta said.  “I have already been informed of several instances of unaccompanied alien minors seeking to enter schools in my district who have not been properly screened or vaccinated.  They have absolutely no formal education and cannot speak English.  What grade should the school system put them in?  How can the school district be prepared when students like this just show up at their doorstep?” Barletta first became aware of the need for the legislation when local officials from his hometown of Hazleton alerted him that a non-profit organization had been investigating opening a facility to house some of the unaccompanied minors who had crossed the border this past summer.  “That’s how I found out – because an organization had called the city,” Barletta said.  “The federal government didn’t tell anyone about the plan: not the Governor, not the Department of Public Welfare, not Luzerne County.  When I made the information public, residents of Hazleton expressed their concerns, and the plan was dropped.  Had I not been informed of the situation by local officials, the plan would have proceeded without public notice.” Barletta said the legislation is more necessary than in years past because of the recent surge, which he attributed to a failure of the federal government to enforce immigration laws.  He highlighted the Obama policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in particular. “In 2011, President Obama’s head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a series of memoranda announcing his agency would not be enforcing immigration laws against certain segments of the illegal immigrant population, effectively telling illegal immigrants that being in the country unlawfully was not reason enough to deport them,” Barletta said.  “Then, in 2012, the President announced his DACA program, which grants deferred action to certain illegal immigrants who claim to have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, and requires them to apply for a work permit.” Barletta said that the president’s recent expansion of executive amnesty will only contribute to the problem. “He’s telling people that so long as they make it into this country, they won’t be asked to leave and will be rewarded with a work permit, Social Security, and Medicare,” Barletta said.  “I fear it will not be long before we see another massive surge of illegal immigration along our southern border.” Read More

Barletta Statement Regarding House Passage of ABLE Act


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding the House of Representatives passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act by a vote of 404-to-17.  The ABLE act amends the Internal Revenue Service code to establish tax-exempt accounts for individuals with disabilities to assist in paying for certain expenses, including higher education, primary residence, transportation, employment assistance, health and wellness, and other personal support expenses.      Barletta’s statement is as follows:   “The passage of the ABLE Act is a huge step forward for people with disabilities and their families.  So many times, families have been left in the difficult position of choosing between taking care of children’s special needs and planning for their future.  The ABLE Act helps families avoid that predicament and lets them plan ahead.   “As it stands now, people living with disabilities are unable to accumulate more than $2,000 in assets without endangering their Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits.  This bill allows them to live independently and make decisions on their own, outside the artificial limits placed on them by the federal government.” Read More

Barletta Bulletin 12.9.14


Thank You For Your Support You may have heard that I had a fairly significant health scare last month which involved the warning signs of a stroke.  As a rule, I take care of myself pretty well by exercising regularly and watching what I eat, so I might have been tempted to ignore the temporary vision problems I was experiencing, or even the sensation of being disoriented in familiar surroundings in Harrisburg.  Fortunately, however, I was touring the Penn State-Hershey Children’s Hospital the day I was experiencing these symptoms and decided to get myself checked out.  Following some preliminary tests, I made an appointment for a return visit scheduled for the day before Election Day. It was on that second visit that my doctors told me that I had some plaque dangling inside my right carotid artery, which unless addressed immediately, could break free and cause a major stroke at any moment. Read More Read More

Barletta Bill Removes Incentive to Hire Amnesty Recipients, Protects U.S. Jobs


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today highlighted his own legislation as a mechanism to remove a $3,000 per job incentive created by President Obama for employers to hire amnesty recipients over legal American workers.  The Affordable Care Act and Obama’s recently announced amnesty program for illegal immigrants combine to make it financially more attractive for businesses to choose illegal immigrants when making hiring decisions.  Barletta’s bill, the Defense of Legal Workers Act (H.R. 5761), removes the incentive by clarifying that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action cannot be issued work permits.    “When it comes to illegal immigration, the conversation is always focused on how to help the illegal immigrants, who have broken our laws,” Barletta said.  “No one ever wants to talk about how granting them amnesty will affect legal American workers.  It’s about time someone stood up for the millions of people who are looking for work, but who will now find millions of new competitors for jobs that are already scarce.”   Obamacare, Amnesty Threaten American Jobs   Barletta introduced the Defense of Legal Workers Act in advance of the president’s announcement of his amnesty program, which includes handing out work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.  Under Obamacare, businesses with fifty or more employees must provide health insurance or pay a $3,000 for each worker not insured.  However, under President Obama’s recent executive action on illegal immigration, those receiving amnesty will not be eligible for Obamacare.  The result is a strong, $3,000 per job incentive to hire amnesty recipients rather than workers who were already legally present in the United States.  Barletta’s legislation would remove that enticement by preventing work permits from being issued to amnesty recipients.         “Nearly twenty million Americans woke up this morning either unemployed or underemployed,” Barletta said.  “And now we find out that the toxic combination of amnesty and Obamacare will actually drive businesses away from hiring Americans.  What’s worse is that employers will now have financial incentive to replace existing workers with illegal immigrants who have received amnesty.  What I can’t figure out is if that’s an unintended consequence or a planned feature of the president’s policies.”   [[{"fid":"357","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]]   Click here or on images for video of Barletta Q&A with Sec. Johnson   In a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee Tuesday, Barletta asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about the $3,000 per job incentive to hire amnesty recipients.  Johnson’s answer was brief and unsatisfactory:   Rep. Barletta: Mr. Secretary, is it true that the illegal immigrants who are granted amnesty will not need to comply with the Affordable Care Act?   Secretary Johnson: Those who are candidates for and are accepted into the Deferred Action program will not be eligible for comprehensive health care.   Rep. Barletta: So, therefore an employer may have a decision to make: do I keep the American worker and provide health insurance or pay a $3,000 fine, or do I get rid of the American worker and hire someone who I do not have to provide health insurance and I won’t get fined?  Is that a possibility?   Secretary Johnson: I don’t see it that way.   Rep. Barletta: You don’t think any employers will see it that way?   Secretary Johnson: I don’t think I see it that way, no.  No, sir.      Following the hearing, Barletta expressed his frustration about the unsatisfactory answers from the Obama Administration regarding the president’s policies and their effects on American workers.   “I keep hearing people say that illegal immigrants are doing the jobs that Americans don’t want to do,” Barletta said.  “Well, now the illegal immigrants won’t do those jobs anymore either, because the president just cleared the way for them to take all of the other jobs away from Americans as well.”   Read More

Barletta to DHS Sec’y Johnson: Who Will Protect American Workers in Amnesty Fight?


[[{"fid":"357","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]]   VIDEO: Rep. Barletta questioning DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson: “How does this help the American worker who can’t find work and can’t provide for his family?”   WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson over the impact on American workers as a result of President Obama’s executive action on illegal immigration.  In a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, Barletta argued that the president’s granting of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants will increase competition for jobs that are already scarce.  In addition, Barletta highlighted the fact that illegal immigrants granted amnesty will be ineligible for Obamacare, meaning they would be cheaper and more attractive for businesses to hire than legal American workers.   “Some people say that our economic security is national security,” Barletta said to Johnson.  “Nearly 20 million Americans woke up this morning either unemployed or underemployed.  The president didn’t mention these Americans when he announced his plan to grant de facto amnesty and work permits to up to 5 million illegal immigrants.”   In response to the problem, Barletta has introduced the Defense of Legal Workers Act (H.R. 5761), which clarifies that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action cannot be issued work permits.  In the committee hearing, Johnson indicated that the Obama Administration’s plan was to encourage illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows and seek to have their deportation deferred under the amnesty program, which would also grant them work authorization.   “But how does that make it easier for the American worker?” Barletta asked.  “We keep talking about the illegal immigrant.  Here we go again, talking about the illegal immigrant and how we can make it easier for them.  How does this help the American worker who can’t find work and can’t provide for his family?  Who’s fighting for them?  Why don’t we talk about the American worker and what this will do to them, not what it will do for the illegal immigrant?”   Johnson claimed that introducing millions of newly-legalized workers would not impact Americans who are currently seeking work.   “The question of U.S. jobs, American jobs, is, in my view, a separate issue,” Johnson said.   “So adding 5 million more competitors for these jobs will make it easier?” Barletta asked.   “The estimate is that the potential class is up to 4 million,” Johnson said.  “Not all of those will apply.  The goal is to encourage these people, who are now working off the books (and we do have undocumented immigrants in this country working off the books), to get on the books, pay taxes into the federal treasury pursuant to a work authorization.  The assessment is that that will not impinge upon American jobs with American workers.”   Obamacare, Jobs, and Amnesty   The president’s amnesty program and the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, combine to produce an incentive for businesses to hire illegal immigrants granted amnesty instead of American workers.  As outlined in the Employer Mandate provision of the health care law, employers must supply health insurance for workers or pay a fine of $3,000 per employee.  Conversely, under the president’s executive amnesty, illegal immigrants will not be eligible for Obamacare, meaning that employers will face no such mandate or fine for hiring them over legal American workers.    Secretary Johnson, however, refused to acknowledge that a $3,000 savings per worker could be an enticement for employers to hire illegal immigrants granted amnesty under the Obama program.   “Mr. Secretary, is it true that the illegal immigrants who are granted amnesty will not need to comply with the Affordable Care Act?” Barletta asked.   “Those who are candidates for and are accepted into the Deferred Action program will not be eligible for comprehensive health care,” Johnson agreed.   “So, therefore an employer may have a decision to make: do I keep the American worker and provide health insurance or pay a $3,000 fine, or do I get rid of the American worker and hire someone who I do not have to provide health insurance and I won’t get fined?” Barletta said.  “Is that a possibility?”   “I don’t see it that way,” Johnson said.   “You don’t think any employers will see it that way?” Barletta asked.   “I don’t think I see it that way,” Johnson replied.   In an op-ed piece that ran in the Hazleton Standard Speaker on Thanksgiving Day, Barletta argued that the president’s amnesty program was a breach of the Constitutional separation of powers, and that the result would be damage to American workers and national security.   Read More

From ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Because I want to’


Barely 48 hours after President Barack Obama unilaterally granted amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants, “Saturday Night Live” satirized the move in a remake of an old “Schoolhouse Rock” educational cartoon.  In the sketch, Obama repeatedly shoved legislation (“Bill”) down the steps of the Capitol, displaying his contempt for the legislative process. Regrettably, the comedy writers at NBC have a better grasp on how a bill becomes a law under the U.S. Constitution than does the president of the United States.  Viewers could be forgiven for barely recognizing the president who previously shouted “Yes we can!” to adoring crowds, but now says “Because I want to” when explaining his actions. The president’s executive action directly usurps congressional authority for making laws and continues his habit of governing by fiat rather than through the legislative process. To that point, the president himself has emphatically agreed by stating more than 20 times that he did not have the legal authority to single-handedly rewrite immigration law in exactly the manner he now has done. Through many public displays of hand-wringing, he complained that Congress had failed to send him legislation to his liking, but that his options were limited by the confines of the Constitution. Once the final mid-term elections of his presidency were behind him, however, he somehow discovered a new, previously undiscovered path to the unilateral power he once lamented he lacked. In perhaps his most sweeping claim of authority, the president hides behind the concept of prosecutorial discretion in refusing to deport entire classes of people who are illegally present in this country. This is a flagrant abuse of this unique power, which ought to be employed on a case-by-case basis and not deployed as an across-the-board policy. In addition, the administration is granting work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in a program contrary to the laws established by Congress. In this, the president is in violation of the “Take Care Clause” of the Constitution — Article II, Section 3 — which compels him to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Equally suspect is the president’s assertion that his hand was forced by the inaction of Congress. This is false on its face, as the House has indeed acted by repeatedly rejecting many proposals similar to what the president has now done on his own. In any event, the Constitution, in Article I, Section 8, expressly grants the legislature the sole authority to establish rules for naturalization. If the president is so frustrated by a legislature not willing to cede to his wishes, perhaps he should have taken advantage of the first two years of his presidency when his party controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress.  In the days leading up to his announcement, Obama’s supporters claimed that the looming executive maneuver was nearly identical to previous actions taken by presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Such an obvious diversion ignores the fact that under those presidents there was already an underlying law that indicated the intent and will of the legislature. Any executive action was taken within that framework. In Obama’s case, he has acted entirely without Congressional approval. He demanded legislation be sent to him to his exact specifications, and when he didn’t receive it, enacted his own policies by edict. That is not the way our system works. (Most telling, perhaps, is that the same people who argued that the president’s plan was routine executive behavior are now describing it as bold and historic. Both claims cannot be true.)  Though the president has done damage to the Constitution and the rule of law, he has also exposed the nation to tangible harm as a result of his policies. His prediction that his amnesty will only cover 5 million illegal immigrants is laughably short, as history clearly demonstrates. In the 1986 amnesty under Reagan, Americans were assured that there would only be 1.5 million people covered, but it turned out to be more than double that number once it was all finished, and the border was never secured as promised. There is no telling how many more people will be drawn to this country because of the renewed Obama promise of amnesty. By granting work authorization to so many more people, the president has dramatically increased the competition for jobs that were already scarce. Millions of legal workers woke up this morning unable to find employment, and the amnesty program has dimmed their prospects even further. Low-income populations will be hit the hardest, which ought to come as a shock to those who heard the president promise hope for the struggling masses. Strictly by the numbers, the amnesty program is a dismal failure: counting the 5 million covered under amnesty, and the 1.5 million people awarded work permits in 2013, the president has now created more new workers over the last year (6.5 million) than jobs since he took office (less than 6 million). Hope and change, indeed. It will be impossible for the federal government to conduct adequate background checks on the 5 million receiving amnesty, which represents a serious threat to public safety and national security. We already know that in 2013 the administration released 36,000 criminal illegal aliens from custody, including 116 convicted of homicide, 43 convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and one convicted of something called “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.” At a time when we know that terrorists are plotting to attack us here at home, to flood the system with people with untraceable backgrounds is irresponsible and threatens our safety. With the case against President Obama’s amnesty clearly stated, many are asking what can be done to stop it. Congress has the power of the purse and must stand ready to use it. I have already called for the blocking of funding of the identification cards that would be supplied to those taking advantage of the president’s action. If it were crafted in the appropriate way, it would specifically pinpoint the amnesty-related expenditure while allowing all other functions of government to proceed. To further oppose the president’s amnesty program, I have authored legislation, the Defense of Legal Workers Act, which will prohibit the government from issuing work permits to anyone who receives amnesty through executive action.  It is most unfortunate that we have come to this as Americans, but we are left with little choice by a president who ran on the slogan of “Yes we can!” but governs by the philosophy of “Because I want to.” Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican, represents Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read More

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Contact Information

115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6511
Fax 202-225-0764

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


Scott Perry


Glenn Thompson


Jim Gerlach


Patrick Meehan


Mike Fitzpatrick


Bill Shuster


Tom Marino


Keith Rothfus


Charlie Dent


Joe Pitts


Tim Murphy


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