Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Barletta Statement on Senate Passage of Highway Funding Bill

2014/08/01

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding the Senate passage Thursday night of the House of Representative’s version of an $11 billion highway funding bill.   The House had passed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, which addresses the September 30th expiration of surface transportation authorization and the Highway Trust Fund shortfall predicted to occur.  In fact, the Department of Transportation had indicated that it may have begun reducing disbursements to states as soon as today if an agreement had not been reached.  With Senate passage, the measure now moves to the president for his signature. Barletta, who is a subcommittee chairman in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued the following statement: “I am pleased to see that the Senate managed to put aside politics and pass this bill to sustain the Highway Trust Fund until we can work out a deal for the long term.  There are more than 5,000 bridges in Pennsylvania that are structurally deficient, and countless roadways that are in desperate need of repair.    If Congress failed to act, the money to fund surface transportation projects would soon run dry.  That could have resulted in the stoppage of more than 7,000 projects and the loss of countless jobs across the country, including Pennsylvania. “I have always supported a highway bill of at least five years, but in the absence of one, I supported this bill to give us time to work out a longer term funding solution – one that will meet our transportation needs, while also providing contractors and builders the guidance they need to invest in equipment and employees.” Read More

Barletta Statement on Returning Highway Bill to Senate

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding the House of Representative’s second attempt at giving the Senate the opportunity to approve a bill to fund highway construction.  The House again passed its own bill, removing a drafting error in the Senate-passed bill that inadvertently reduced the amount of highway funding by $2.4 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). On July 15th, the House passed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, which addressed the September 30th expiration of surface transportation authorization and the Highway Trust Fund shortfall predicted to occur in early August.  In fact, the Department of Transportation has indicated that it may begin reducing disbursements to states as soon as this Friday if an agreement is not reached.  With a large bipartisan majority, the House passed the measure the first time by a vote of 367-to-55.  Earlier this week, the Senate adopted changes to the bill, most notably shortening the length of the funding period from May of next year to December of this year, and modifying the funding mechanisms or offsets.  However, CBO recognized that the bill contained the drafting error, which would cause the funding to run out in October, and not December as the Senate intended.  The Senate error rendered the bill unworkable, reduced actual funding to less than $6 billion, and eliminated it as a viable option.  The House has now returned the original version, with funding of almost $11 billion, to the Senate once again, by a vote of 272-to-150. Barletta, who is a subcommittee chairman in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued the following statement: “We have more than 5,000 bridges in Pennsylvania that are structurally deficient, and countless roadways that are in desperate need of repair.  If Congress fails to act, the money to fund surface transportation projects will soon run dry.  That could result in the stoppage of more than 7,000 projects and the loss of countless jobs across the country, including Pennsylvania. “As we used to say on the playground, we’re giving the Senate a chance for a do-over.  Their bill had a glaring error that would cause the money to run out early, and plays politics with road funding by forcing us to deal with it again in December, all because they’re unsure of what the makeup of the Senate will be come January.  This is too important an issue to be fooling around with a politically imposed expiration date that could cut off the end of the construction season for builders and contractors. “I have always supported a highway bill of at least five years, but in the absence of one, I support the House bill to give us time to work out a longer term funding solution – one that will meet our transportation needs, while also providing contractors and builders the guidance they need to invest in equipment and employees.” Read More

Barletta Backs VA Reform to Improve Medical Care for Veterans

2014/07/30

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today voted for House passage of a bill that will overhaul the Veterans Administration and provide veterans with more responsive and accessible health care.  The Veterans Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act (H.R. 3230) is the product of a House-Senate conference committee and passed the House by a massive bipartisan majority of 420-to-5.  The Senate is expected to vote on the measure later this week. “This is a big step in the right direction towards ensuring that our veterans have the care they need and deserve,” Barletta said.  “Our veterans have sacrificed so much for the country they love, and it is the least we can do to keep the promise we made to provide them with quality health care.” The legislation allows veterans to seek medical attention outside the VA system if an appointment is not available within 30 days, or if a veteran resides more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility.  The bill extends several existing pilot programs, including those increasing access to care for veterans with traumatic brain injuries and victims of sexual assault.  It also provides funding to hire additional doctors, nurses, and medical staff, and improves education benefits for veterans and dependents. The legislation also: Requires an independent assessment of VA medical care and establishes a Congressional Commission on Care to evaluate access in the VA health system. Permits the VA Secretary to fire or demote employees in an expedited fashion based on performance or misconduct, while also including due processes rights. Requires public colleges to provide in-state tuition to veterans and eligible dependents in order for the school to remain eligible to receive G.I. Bill education payments. Expands the Sgt. Fry Scholarship Program to provide full Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after 9/11. “The problems discovered in the VA system must be addressed, and they must be addressed right now,” Barletta said.  “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue.  This is an American issue.” Read More

Like Benghazi, Obama's trying to change the subject on the Border Kids - it won't work

2014/07/30

Since the recent influx of illegal immigrants began at the southern border, we have heard the Obama administration and its allies blame the situation on people fleeing escalating violence in their home countries in Central America.  Though the evidence gathered at the border refutes this claim, the story persists in the media and is reminiscent of similar attempts at obfuscation from the administration.  Like the tall tale of an Internet video's involvement in the Benghazi attack, the transparent rearranging of facts leading up to a crisis is designed to blur the root causes and camouflage administration strategies and failures.  It is now accepted as fact that the assault on the American embassy in Benghazi was a planned attack by terrorists, and not the spontaneous reaction to an obscure Internet video as the administration initially asserted.  Obama administration officials dutifully repeated the weak claim about the video, and even went so far as to solidify the cover story by arresting and incarcerating the film's maker for parole violations related to its production.  In the end, the narrative unraveled and was ultimately proven false by the arrest of the terrorist who had masterminded the attack.  It is clear that President Barack Obama was trying to distract Americans from his foreign policy failures in that troubled part of the world. Like the video that absolutely did not cause an assault on an American embassy, there is always yet another false argument at the ready. Today we are being fed a line by the Obama administration that tens of thousands of minors are streaming – illegally – into this country from Central America because they fear the rising violence in their home nations of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.  We are also led to believe that the administration was caught by surprise by the development and has had to scramble to find a solution to the problem.  Once again, the yarn being spun comes apart with a few tugs at the strands.  In my recent trip to the United States border with Mexico, I spoke to Border Patrol agents who conduct interviews with the individuals entering this country.  Their experience was consistent: the huge majority of the border crossers say they came to America primarily because they believed that they would be allowed to stay if they arrived safely.  Additionally, many of those crossing had arrived in family units, with at least one parent or guardian, and others were seeking to be reunited with relatives already inside the country illegally.  Most had heard in their home countries that if they surrendered to the Border Patrol, they would be given a notice to appear in court, or permiso, which would essentially allow them to stay indefinitely and without fear of deportation.    Exactly where could thousands of illegal immigrants have gotten those ideas simultaneously?   In June 2012, President Obama used a White House Rose Garden speech to unveil his policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), under which illegal immigrants up to the age of 30 would not be deported if they claimed to have been present in the U.S. since before they were 16, among other factors.  Such claims are taken at face value, never investigated for truthfulness, and are almost always approved.  Not surprisingly, word has spread of DACA and the promise of effective amnesty, and the result is now in evidence at our southern border.   Not content to rely on just one smokescreen to protect itself from criticism, the administration recently has taken to blaming a 2008 law addressing human trafficking as reason for treating "refugees" differently if they come from nations not contiguous to the United States.  While the law should be changed to treat everyone the same regardless of their country of origin, the administration has ignored the language which gives them flexibility, and is not prevented from deporting those who are not apparent victims of human trafficking.  Finally, the notion that President Obama was caught unprepared for the border crisis is easily disproved.  In a recent hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, Secretary Jeh Johnson was unable to tell me how his agency came to solicit escorts for as many as 65,000 unaccompanied minors in an advertisement placed in January.  Further, the Washington Post reported on July 19 that administration officials had been warned of the impending border disaster nearly a year ago, in August 2013.  That would seem to be sufficient advance warning to avoid what is now described as a surprise.  What, then, is the motivation behind all of the diversionary tactics?  Certainly the administration actively sought to avoid culpability for the crisis, but also reported in that same Washington Post article was the concern that a public exposition of the debacle at the border would ruin chances for "comprehensive immigration reform."  In the language of most Americans, that very simply means amnesty for illegal immigrants. The administration knew that if its policy failures were fully on display, the public would rise in opposition to more shirking of enforcing existing immigration laws.    Another administration ally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, empathically proclaimed recently that "the border is secure," despite mountains of irrefutable evidence to the contrary.  Sen. Reid said that because he knows that no movement on amnesty could ever occur if Americans believe that our borders remain as open as they currently are.  But like the video that absolutely did not cause an assault on an American embassy, there is always yet another false argument at the ready.     U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican, represents the 11th Congressional District, which includes parts of central Pennsylvania. Read it on PennLive.com here.   Read More

Barletta Statement on Senate Games on Highway Bill

2014/07/30

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding Senate changes to the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2104, which addresses the September 30th expiration of surface transportation authorization and the Highway Trust Fund shortfall predicted to occur in early August.  In fact, the Department of Transportation has indicated that it may begin reducing disbursements to states as soon as this Friday if an agreement is not reached.  With a large bipartisan majority, the House passed the measure by a vote of 367-to-55 more than two weeks ago.  The Senate last night adopted changes to the bill, most notably shortening the length of the funding period from May of next year to this December. Barletta, who is a subcommittee chairman on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued the following statement: “It’s not bad enough that the Senate is sitting on more than 350 pieces of legislation that the House has already passed to help get our economy moving and bring much-needed relief to Americans, but now they’ve decided to play games with the Highway Trust Fund.  Quite obviously they’ve shortened the funding length of the bill because they’re unsure of what the makeup of the Senate will be come January.  This is pure politics, and it has no place in a matter so important to all Americans, especially Pennsylvanians. “We have more than 5,000 bridges in Pennsylvania that are structurally deficient, and countless roadways that are in desperate need of repair.    If Congress fails to act, the money to fund surface transportation projects will soon run dry.  That could result in the stoppage of more than 7,000 projects and the loss of countless jobs across the country, including Pennsylvania. “I have always supported a highway bill of at least five years, but in the absence of one, I support the House bill to give us time to work out a longer term funding solution – one that will meet our transportation needs, while also providing contractors and builders the guidance they need to invest in equipment and employees.  The Senate’s political gamesmanship puts the timely passage of highway funding in jeopardy, and will imperil our transportation infrastructure and the jobs that are associated with it.” Read More

Barletta Notes Progress toward FBI Building Consolidation

2014/07/29

  WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today noted the General Services Administration’s (GSA) announcement of a short list for sites under consideration for a consolidated location for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Currently, the FBI has over 3 million square feet of office space in more than 20 leased locations.  Barletta serves as Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.   The sites on the short list are:   Greenbelt Metro Station, Prince George’s County, Maryland GSA’s Springfield/Franconia Warehouse Complex, Fairfax County, Virginia Landover Mall, Prince George’s County, Maryland Barletta issued the following statement:   “A consolidated FBI headquarters would shrink the agency’s footprint and could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  Today represents an important step towards that goal.   “In March 2013, I held my first subcommittee hearing on the FBI headquarters because it is one of the most significant projects the GSA is working on, especially in light of the FBI’s immediate security and operational needs.  It is also a project that has the potential to be a model for public private partnerships.    “I encourage GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini and Public Buildings Service Commissioner Norman Dong to continue to work with Congress on this project to ensure that we meet the security and operational requirements of the FBI.  No matter which site is eventually selected, I will work to ensure that the arrangement represents the best deal possible for taxpayers and the FBI itself.” Read More

Barletta Supports Tax Reforms to Benefit Parents, Students, Charities

2014/07/25

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, has voted for House passage of a package of tax reforms designed to benefit parents and students, as well as to encourage charitable contributions by individuals.  Each piece of legislation has passed the House of Representatives and now moves to the Senate for consideration. “Whether you are a parent, a student trying to complete your education, or someone wanting to make charitable contributions, our national policy should be to allow you to make decisions on how best to handle your own money,” Barletta said.  “Folks in Washington, DC ought to always remember: it’s not the government’s money, it’s the people’s money.” Child Tax Credit The Child Tax Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 4935) makes it easier to take advantage of the current child tax credit by increasing the phase-out income threshold for married couples filing joint tax returns from $110,000 to $150,000.  The threshold is $75,000 for individuals or married couples filing separately.  The bill also requires filers to provide a Social Security Number in order for the tax credit to be refundable, meaning that children claimed under the tax credit must have a Social Security Number.  The bill indexes the tax credit to inflation. Student Taxes The Student and Family Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 3393) consolidates four tax credits to make it easier for students to go to college: the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, the Hope Scholarship Credit, and the college tuition deduction into a single, permanent American Opportunity Tax Credit.  The new American Opportunity Tax Credit: Makes the first $2,000 of qualified tuition and expenses 100 percent deductable from a taxpayer’s liability.  Makes 25 percent of the next $2,000 of qualified tuition and expense deductible from a taxpayer’s liability with an overall cap of $2,500 on the amount deducted.  Allows tax filers who do not have a tax liability to receive a refundable tax credit of up to $1,500.  Ensures that all Pell Grants are not considered taxable income regardless of how they are used. Charitable Contributions Barletta also supported a series of five bills passed by the House that make it easier for people to contribute to charitable organizations: The Fighting Hunger Incentive Act (H.R. 4719) makes permanent the enhanced deduction for contributions of food inventory by any type of business. The Permanent IRA Charitable Contribution Act (H.R. 4619) makes permanent a provision allowing tax-free distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts for charitable purposes. The Conservation Easement Incentive Act (H.R. 2807) makes permanent the temporary deduction for contributions of conservation easements. The Charitable Giving Extension Act (H.R. 3134) allows individual taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions made after the close of the tax year but before the due date of the return (April 15 of a calendar year) for the tax year covered by the return. The Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 4691) amends the Internal Revenue Code to set the excise tax rate on net investment income of private foundations at 1 percent. For more information on legislation please visit: http://thomas.loc.gov Read More

9/11 Commission Chairman Agrees with Barletta on Visa Overstays

2014/07/23

Click here or on images for video of exchange between Rep. Barletta and Gov. Kean     WASHINGTON – The former Chairman of the 9/11 Commission today agreed with Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, that without a fully functional biometric system to track foreign visitors who overstay their visas, America’s borders will never truly be secure.  Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, who led the commission examining the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, told Barletta in a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee that he stands by a similar finding his commission made in their final report in July 2004. “Any state that has an international airport is a border state, in my opinion,” Barletta said.  “Nearly 50 percent of the people that are here illegally didn’t cross a border, they came on a visa.” “We would also again recommend you look at finding a way to track people who overstay visas, because that’s what the terrorists did,” Kean said. “It’s the preferred method of entry for people who want to hurt us,” Barletta said. “And we had no idea they were still here,” Kean said.  “Because we have no way of seeing how long people are staying in this country.” “So, a true border security bill won’t be a true border security bill unless we implement a biometric entry and exit, so that we know everyone, whether they’re coming or going in this country,” Barletta said.  “Because just simply at our physical borders, north and south, isn’t enough.” “It’s not enough,” Kean agreed.  “You’re right.” Barletta has long championed a biometric exit system to track visitors’ visas, sponsoring H.R. 2631, the Visa Overstay Enforcement Act which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a plan to implement a biometric exit program using a person's fingerprints at all land, sea, and air ports of entry.  The legislation also makes it a felony to overstay a visa.  The 9/11 Commission Report recommended a strong biometric exit program as a vital component of national security. “The report urged full implementation of a biometric exit system,” Barletta said.  “The report also describes how border security should not be seen as a bargaining chip in immigration reform, but rather a significant national security concern.” The exchange between Barletta and Kean came amid the continuing crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico, as tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have streamed into the country illegally in recent months.  Barletta has expressed concerns that terrorists can easily use the chaos at the border as cover to slip into the country unnoticed.  Read More

Barletta Workforce Provisions Signed into Law

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today celebrated the signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WOIA – H.R. 803) into law by President Obama.  The WOIA legislation contains provisions similar to Barletta’s America Works Act (H.R. 497), which he introduced last year to encourage states and localities to prioritize federal spending on education and training.  The bipartisan legislation promotes recognized postsecondary credentials, including industry-recognized credentials. It also streamlines federal workforce training programs and promotes training for high-demand jobs, while also requiring accountability from the agencies involved in administration.  “The economy is still bad for many Pennsylvanians, and we have to do more to give workers better chances to get the jobs that are available,” Rep. Barletta said.  “This shows what we can do when we work together to help the American people.  All of the available jobs in the world don’t mean a thing if workers aren’t qualified.  This will help them along their way.” Barletta, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said the legislation is the result of bipartisan, bicameral agreement of both parties in the House and Senate.  The effort reforms the workforce investment system. “Right now, according to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report, the federal government spends $18 billion across 47 separate employment and training programs,” Barletta said.  “This money would be better spent with a tighter focus on helping people attain the expertise they will need to succeed in our evolving economy.” In May 2014, leaders in the House and Senate announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to reform federal workforce development services, resulting in today’s legislation.  WOIA streamlines a confusing maze of programs and burdensome federal mandates, while aligning workforce development programs with economic development and education initiatives to allow businesses to identify in-demand skills and connect workers with the opportunities to build those skills.  Additionally, the legislation reduces administrative costs and unnecessary bureaucracy by authorizing states to develop and submit unified state plans to strategically align programs and eliminate duplicative reporting requirements.  WOIA also delivers strong accountability over the use of taxpayer dollars by preventing spending workforce funds for political lobbying activities and holding state boards accountable for meeting performance requirements.   Read More

Barletta Seeks Answers on Unaccompanied Minors in PA

2014/07/17

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today sent a letter to the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security seeking answers to important questions surrounding the screening and location of unaccompanied minors who have streamed across the United States border with Mexico in recent weeks.  Barletta asked the secretaries if housing sites in Pennsylvania are under consideration, and requested detailed information about health assessments and background checks on the illegal immigrants. The letter, addressed to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, was dated and delivered today.  Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was copied on the correspondence. “I write regarding the continuing and increasing phenomenon of unaccompanied alien minors flooding across the border between the United States and Mexico,” Barletta’s letter reads.  “As you know, many tens of thousands of minors have already crossed, with as many as 150,000 more expected by next year.  While it is my hope that most will be returned to their countries of origin, there is great concern about their housing in the interim.” Barletta cited a recent episode in Hazleton, PA, where a non-profit organization, the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, had identified a local facility as a potential housing site for the unaccompanied minors.  After speaking with Hazleton city officials and community leaders, Barletta expressed their shared concerns about health and public safety risks, and the plan was abandoned.  Barletta also referenced his trip earlier this month to visit the southern border while attending a field hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee. “In late June, I raised concerns about plans for a housing facility for unaccompanied alien minors to be located in the former MinSec Center in Hazleton, Pennsylvania,” Barletta wrote.  “The organization evaluating the facility, the non-profit U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, subsequently withdrew its interest in Hazleton, citing general opposition from the community.   I subsequently discussed this issue with Texas Governor Rick Perry during a House Homeland Security Field Hearing in McAllen, Texas.  Governor Perry agreed with me that the federal government is not being honest with the states regarding how thoroughly authorities are examining incoming minors.” Barletta is concerned that federal officials are withholding information about the plans for relocation of unaccompanied minors from border holding centers to communities in the interior of the country. “For instance, Governor Dave Heineman of Nebraska recently indicated to reporters that federal officials refuse to provide him with information regarding the names and location of roughly 200 unaccompanied alien minors sent to his state without any notice,” Barletta wrote.  “Similarly, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma reportedly found out through media outlets—rather than through one of your agencies—that her state would be receiving hundreds of unaccompanied alien minors.” Barletta argued that states that may be selected for housing the illegal immigrants should be provided with a 30-day comment period prior to any relocation. “Communities across the country, but particularly Pennsylvanians, deserve to know if the federal government is planning to move hundreds of individuals into a community,” Barletta wrote.  “This could impact our schools and health systems, as well as our public safety.  It is unclear how many may have ties to gangs, drug cartels, or other terrorist organizations since the federal government is relying on these individuals to self-identify.  Border Patrol agents have already reported several instances of known gang members being released into the interior of the country.  Adding to the threat, according to internal DHS figures, roughly 75 percent of the unaccompanied alien minors who have entered the country since October self-identify as 14-17 year-olds, and roughly 70 percent of them are male.” Barletta included a list of questions he wanted answered by July 31, 2014: Are unaccompanied alien minors or parents with children being sent to Pennsylvania?  If unaccompanied alien minors or parents with children are being sent to Pennsylvania, where are they being housed? If unaccompanied alien minors and parents with children are being sent to Pennsylvania, how long will they stay and where will they go after their stay has ended? If no unaccompanied alien minors or parents with children are currently being sent to Pennsylvania, does your agency have plans to send any to Pennsylvania in the future? Is your agency considering building any new, or renovating any current facilities, to house unaccompanied alien minors or parents with children? If so, where? How many unaccompanied alien minors have your agencies sent to Pennsylvania so far and how many will be sent by the end of this fiscal year? What is the average age of unaccompanied alien minors sent to Pennsylvania? What is their country of origin? How many parents with children have your agencies sent to Pennsylvania so far and how many will be sent by the end of this fiscal year? Please include both the number of adults and children. What is their country of origin? What type of health screenings are being conducted on unaccompanied alien minors and parents with children? What types of illnesses do you screen for? How will you prove to communities that the individuals you send to them will not pose a public health risk? What do you do with those who test positive? Who is responsible for paying for any medical expenses? What impact will sending unaccompanied alien minors and parents with children have on Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health care system? How will you ensure that communities will not suffer from increased wait times or that their ability to receive health care will not otherwise be negatively impacted? What impact will sending unaccompanied alien minors and parents with children have on Pennsylvania’s schools and educational system? Who will pay for them to enter Pennsylvania schools and how will you ensure communities that their students’ ability to receive a quality education will not suffer? Does DHS or HHS conduct background checks on unaccompanied alien minors or parents with children before releasing them from custody? Does this background check include an investigation of criminal records in the alien’s country of origin? Does this background check include an investigation of juvenile criminal records? What kind of screening does DHS and HHS do to ensure gang members are not being released into our communities? “This information is vitally important to my constituents and the people of Pennsylvania, as the receipt of unaccompanied alien minors and parents with children would no doubt impact taxpayers as they enter our educational and health systems,” Barletta wrote.  “The impact this would have on Pennsylvanians’ public safety is also unknown, as Border Patrol agents continue to report on gang members crossing the border and taking advantage of the current influx.” Click here to see the entire letter. Read More

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Contact Information

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


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Mike Kelly

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Scott Perry

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Glenn Thompson

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Jim Gerlach

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Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Mike Fitzpatrick

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Bill Shuster

PENNSYLVANIA's 9th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Keith Rothfus

PENNSYLVANIA's 12th DISTRICT

Charlie Dent

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Joe Pitts

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Tim Murphy

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