Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

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

Barletta Finds $900 Million More in Taxpayer Savings

2014/07/16

Click here or on image to watch video of T & I Committee Markup   WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today proposed 27 resolutions in a markup session of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that would save taxpayers more than $900 million through the better use of federal office space.  The resolutions were approved by the committee, where Barletta is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.  Barletta’s subcommittee has previously identified more than $1 billion in savings to taxpayers, bringing the total so far to approximately $2 billion. “I am pleased to say the cost of these capital projects is more than offset by the savings they will produce for the taxpayers,” Barletta said.  “For example, a number of them are reconfigurations of existing government-owned space to allow agencies to get out of leased space and avoid future lease costs.” Included in the 27 projects is a plan to reconfigure a courthouse in San Jose, CA rather than build a new one, saving taxpayers about $213 million.  Additionally, the committee authorized alterations to a building in Detroit to allow the General Services Administration to exercise a $1 purchase option, resulting in a savings of $170 million over the term of the lease.  The rearrangement of existing government-owned space will allow federal agencies to avoid future lease costs and save $438 million in additional expenses to the public.  In other areas of potential savings, leased space makes up more than half of GSA’s real estate portfolio, with approximately half of those leases set to expire over the next five years.  With the real estate market in a downward cycle, lease rates are currently lower than in years past.  Locking in current lease rates would benefit taxpayers, while also providing real estate brokers with long-term contracts and certainty they may otherwise lack. “This can really be just the beginning,” Barletta said.  “As so many leases are set to expire, we have a golden opportunity to change the way we look at government office space and save the taxpayers billions of dollars.  As leases come due, we ought to be asking every time: can we do this better, and how can we save the taxpayers money?” At a roundtable meeting in his subcommittee earlier this week, Barletta obtained a commitment from Public Buildings Service Commissioner Norman Dong to continue to work with lawmakers in creatively utilizing leases and office space to continue to find cost savings. Read More

Barletta Statement on Passage of Highway Funding Bill

2014/07/15

Click here or on image for video of Rep. Barletta on House floor Tuesday in support of Highway Trust Fund bill.   WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding House passage of H.R. 5021, 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.  The Senate is working on similar legislation.  Barletta’s statement is as follows: “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. “Make no mistake about it, this is not a perfect plan.  I have worked in the road construction industry, and I know that employers need to know what the future holds for road and bridge construction.  We must have a long-term plan for highways and surface transportation infrastructure so that states can plan for the future.  If there is no long-term solution, businesses will not have the confidence to buy equipment and hire workers. “I have always supported a highway bill of at least five years, but in the absence of one, I support this proposal 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.  While I support this plan, I will continue to look for a long-term commitment to our infrastructure.” Read More

Barletta Gets GSA Commitment to Federal Building Lease Savings

2014/07/15

At subcommittee roundtable, Rep. Barletta (left) obtains pledge to save money on leases from Public Buildings Service Commissioner Norman Dong (right front).   Video of the roundtable can be viewed here.   WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today obtained the commitment of the General Services Administration (GSA) to work with Barletta’s Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee to enter into long-term leases for office space to potentially save billions of dollars in taxpayer money.  Near the end of a roundtable to discuss the federal office space leasing program, Public Buildings Service Commissioner Norman Dong pledged to work with Barletta’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management on saving money through long-term renewed leases for federal offices.  Barletta’s subcommittee has already saved taxpayers over $1 billion through better utilization of federal leased office space. “If we can commit to replace these leases with long-term deals that shrink the federal footprint in a down market then we can save a lot more than a billion dollars,” Barletta said.  “This is my top priority for GSA: replacing the leases on time and with good long-term deals.  Commissioner Dong, I hope you share this goal.  Can I count on you to partner with us?” “Absolutely,” Commissioner Dong replied. Leased space makes up more than half of GSA’s real estate portfolio, with approximately half of those leases set to expire over the next five years.  With the real estate market in a downward cycle, lease rates are currently lower than in years past.  Locking in current lease rates would benefit taxpayers, while also providing real estate brokers with long-term contracts and certainty they may otherwise lack. “We believe this is a win-win for all of us, including the real estate community,” Barletta said. Read More

Barletta Supports Higher Education Bills in Committee

2014/07/11

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, supported the advancement of three bipartisan bills to reform and improve the nation’s higher education system.  The three pieces of legislation, part of an effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, were approved by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, of which Barletta is a member.  The bills now head to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. “Higher education is a necessity for more and more American students, but many feel frustrated by the information available, the programs offered, and the financial aid process,” Barletta said.  “This important legislation addresses those concerns.  I am pleased that we will be able to improve and advance higher education, and do so in a bipartisan manner.” H.R. 3136 – Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act The legislation promotes innovation in higher education by directing the Secretary of Education to implement competency-based education demonstration projects, which are programs that actually measure student comprehension of subject matter rather than time simply spent in class.  The bill enacts accountability by requiring an annual evaluation of each demonstration project to determine program quality, the progress of participating students towards earning a degree, obstacles related to student financial assistance, and the extent to which other legal barriers may exist that prevent the success of competency-based education. H.R. 4983 – Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act The legislation allows students access to a wide range of facts they need to make informed decisions about their education.  The bill improves consumer information to provide a more complete picture of all student populations, streamlines existing transparency efforts at the federal level to reduce confusion for students, and requires better coordination by federal agencies to avoid duplication.  It also directs the Secretary of Education to create a consumer-tested College Dashboard that would display only key information students need when deciding which school to attend. H.R. 4984 – Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act The legislation promotes financial literacy through enhanced counseling for all recipients of federal financial aid.  H.R. 4984 ensures that students who participate in the federal loan program receive interactive counseling each year, and when they exit their education program.  The counseling students receive must reflect their individual borrowing situation, and provide information about the financial obligations they are accumulating by requiring borrowers to consent each year before receiving the loans.  The legislation requires low-income students to be informed about the terms and conditions of the Pell Grant program through annual counseling that will be provided to all grant recipients.  Finally, it directs the Secretary of Education to maintain and disseminate a consumer-tested, online counseling tool institutions can use to provide annual loan counseling, exit counseling, and annual Pell Grant counseling to their students. Read More

Barletta Backs Bill to Expedite Return of Central American Minors

2014/07/10

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today announced that he is cosponsoring legislation that would make it easier to repatriate unaccompanied minors originating from Central American countries who have illegally crossed the United States border with Mexico.  The bill would close a loophole in a 2008 law that treats unaccompanied minors from countries not bordering the U.S. differently from those from countries that do, such as Mexico and Canada.  The Obama Administration has claimed to have been unable to quickly return minors from Central American countries because of the law, while ignoring that the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has served as an enticement for minors to flock to the border in recent months. “There is no question that DACA, or the president’s pledge not to deport minors, has served as a huge carrot for families seeking to send their children across the border into the United States,” Barletta said.  “The president also says he can’t deal with the minors in a timely fashion because of the law that was intended to help human trafficking victims.  Clearly, we have to fix that law.” Barletta has cosponsored the Expedited Family Reunification Act of 2014, authored by Rep. Matt Salmon, AZ-5, which grants immigration officials the ability to quickly remove unaccompanied minors who originate from countries not contiguous to the United States.  The legislation amends the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which allowed for the rapid deportation of minors from contiguous countries only.  The original law was intended to protect children who were victims of human trafficking originating in countries other than Mexico and Canada, and prohibited them from being quickly sent back to their home nations. “The United States should always seek to protect children from sexual and physical abuse, and all of the horrors of human trafficking,” Barletta said.  “But today it is clear that this law is being misapplied and is being used to prevent the removal of unaccompanied minors who have been sent illegally across our border in an effort to disappear into the fabric of our nation.” Barletta said he believes that the Obama Administration has been using the 2008 law as cover to excuse its lack of enforcement of immigration laws through the DACA program, under which the president no longer deports those up to the age of 30 who are present in the United States illegally.  Obama announced the creation of the DACA program in a Rose Garden press conference on June 15, 2012.  The recent surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border can be traced back to this announcement.  In 2011, unaccompanied minors crossing the border totaled just over 6,000, while this year the number is estimated to exceed 90,000. “Border Patrol agents tell us that the people crossing over in recent weeks believe that all they have to do is arrive safely, and they won’t be sent home,” Barletta said.  “The president wants to use the 2008 law as a fig leaf to disguise his own recent policy of rejecting deportation proceedings.  We must change the law and see to it that our borders are enforced, whether the illegal immigrants are coming from Mexico or El Salvador.” Mexico, Central American Countries Complicit When Barletta was in McAllen, Texas last week, a senior Border Patrol agent testified in a House Homeland Security Committee hearing that he believes that the governments of Mexico and Central American nations are complicit in the recent surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border.  Barletta noted that U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who is imprisoned in Mexico and accused of illegally crossing into that country with firearms, was identified and apprehended by Mexican authorities, who also somehow missed more than 50,000 children crossing the border in the other direction. “It’s pretty incredible that the Mexican government caught one Marine, but can’t locate and identify tens of thousands of minors who are travelling 1,000 miles through their country to the United States,” Barletta said.  “We should do three things right away: activate the National Guard to provide increased security at the southern border; reduce or suspend funds that assist complicit nations with the repatriation of their citizens; and penalize nations complicit in the border surge by reducing or suspending their foreign aid payments.” “These countries are aiding and abetting the flood of illegal immigrants across the United States border,” Barletta said.  “They’re not taking their citizens back, so we shouldn’t be paying them as though they are.  And they are openly encouraging their citizens to break our laws, and we shouldn’t be rewarding them with foreign aid.  It’s common sense.” Administration $3.7 Billion Request The Obama Administration has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the influx of unaccompanied children at the border, though details of the proposal are still emerging.  The funding would be directed to various federal agencies.  The request seeks greater authority for the Secretary of Homeland Security. “I have a hard time taking the president seriously when he suddenly talks tough on enforcing immigration laws,” Barletta said.  “He has proposed amnesty, he has refused to deport minors, and now he’s hiding behind a misapplied human trafficking law to claim that his hands are tied.  There is nothing in the president’s proposal that represents a policy change, which means the crisis at the border can only continue to get worse.  There’s no question that we need to allocate the resources to address the crisis, but there must be a reversal of our current course, or the problem will only grow.”   Read More

Barletta Statement on Highway Trust Fund Fix

2014/07/10

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today issued a statement regarding a proposal by Rep. Dave Camp, MI-4, which addresses the September 30th expiration of surface transportation authorization and the Highway Trust Fund shortfall predicted to occur in early August.  The Senate is working on similar legislation.  If Congress failed to act, more than 7,000 projects could be stopped and countless jobs lost.  Camp’s compromise totals as much as $10.9 billion for the Highway Trust Fund through June 1, 2015. Barletta’s statement is as follows: “It is imperative that we have a long-term plan for highways so that states can plan for the future and businesses can buy equipment and hire workers.  I have always supported a highway bill of at least five years, but in the absence of that, I support this plan to give us time to work out a long-term funding solution. “I have worked in the road construction industry, and I know that employers need to know what the future holds for road and bridge construction.  While I support this plan, I will continue to look for a long-term commitment to our infrastructure.” Read More

Barletta Backs Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act

2014/07/09

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today backed bipartisan House passage of legislation that streamlines federal workforce training programs and promotes training for high-demand jobs, while also requiring accountability from the agencies involved in administration.  The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WOIA - H.R. 803) incorporates provisions of 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.  Combined, the legislation promotes recognized postsecondary credentials, including industry-recognized credentials. With this passage, the bill heads to President Obama for his signature. “With the economic downturn still hurting too many Pennsylvanians, we have to do more to give workers better chances to get the jobs that are available,” Rep. Barletta said.  “In fact, there are unfilled positions in manufacturing, such as machinists, equipment operators, craft workers, distributors and technicians.  However, all of the available jobs in the world don’t mean a thing if our people 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

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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

PENNSYLVANIA's 5th DISTRICT

Jim Gerlach

PENNSYLVANIA's 6th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Mike 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

Joe Pitts

PENNSYLVANIA's 16th DISTRICT

Tim Murphy

PENNSYLVANIA's 18th DISTRICT

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