WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued the following statement regarding the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States:
“Today the world witnessed what is one of the finest attributes of the United States: the peaceful transfer of power from one chief executive to the next. I thank former President Barack Obama for his service and wish him and his family well on the next phase of their lives. And I welcome President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as they begin to travel their own path in blazing a new trail of American history.
“The Trump Administration comes into focus with many daunting issues before us as a nation. The new president enters office as the champion of those citizens who felt that their government had stopped listening to them and was more concerned with consolidating power than with solving any of our problems. He also enters at a time when worldwide terrorism is at a fever pitch and our borders and national security measures are as porous and precarious as they have ever been. Meanwhile, too many of our citizens feel that the American Dream is lost to them, and the promise of Ronald Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill has faded from view.
“To find answers to these monumental questions, President Trump will need the assistance of all Americans. He has offered a bold agenda of fighting terrorism and of protecting our homeland. He has promised to enforce our immigration laws and protect our national security and the American jobs that are threatened by open borders. And as he made clear in his inaugural address, he has pledged to place America first when making decisions on domestic and international policy. It will be up to Congress and the people we represent to do our parts to fulfill these promises.
“As an early supporter of the president’s, I was able to see the groundswell of support he was building from the very beginning. As one of his allies in the House of Representatives, I intend to use my open channel to the White House to pursue my own legislative goals, which include enforcing immigration laws, pursuing a robust transportation infrastructure investment program, reducing government interference in private enterprise, and helping businesses find trained workers. And we will repeal the failed Obamacare law and replace it piece by piece to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.
“There can be no question that the campaign that led us to today was bruising and among the most rancorous we have seen. As Americans, it is imperative that we put aside the differences we aired on the campaign trail and begin to pull together toward our shared goal of a stronger United States of America.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today formally requested that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf delay his announced plans to close two state prisons so that all relevant information may be gathered and considered. Barletta sent Wolf a letter asking that the governor consider the economic toll of the loss of jobs, and also the impact on public safety and the welfare of correctional officers such closures would cause. The Wolf Administration has announced that two state correction institutions (SCI) would be closed out of a pool of five being considered. One of the facilities, SCI-Retreat, is within Barletta’s 11th District, while two others, SCI-Frackville and SCI-Waymart, are nearby and employ dozens of Barletta’s constituents.
“I recognize that it is your decision, and yours alone, to open or close state prisons, and that my ability, as a federal representative, to influence your choices are limited,” Barletta wrote to Wolf. “That being said, as an advocate for my constituents, I raise several concerns that I believe must be publicly answered before any facility closures are announced.”
Barletta first questioned the speed at which the process is proceeding. The congressman noted that the Wolf Administration announced the plans to close two prisons on January 6, 2017, with a stated deadline for a decision of January 26, 2017. The length of time between the announcement and the decision date amounts to only 13 full business days.
“I respectfully question how this compressed timetable will allow your administration to fully vet the impact that the closures will have,” Barletta wrote. “As you know, this decision will greatly impact the regional economy and officer safety, and even inmate safety.”
SCI-Retreat, located in Luzerne County, employs approximately 400 individuals within the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. SCI-Frackville and SCI-Waymart, while physically located outside the district lines, combine to employ about 80 residents of the 11th District. Barletta observed that closing the state facilities would have an enormous economic impact, which would ripple throughout the region.
“For example, closing SCI-Retreat would immediately move Newport Township from a first class city to a second class city, impacting numerous services to the area,” Barletta wrote. “During a recent meeting with John Yudichak and Gerry Mullery, Greater Nanticoke Area School Superintendent Ronald Grevera noted that the closure could lead to the loss of 90 families and 200 students, and that such a large loss of families cannot be absorbed by the district at the same time that the second-largest employer in the district leaves. Senator Yudichak further noted that closing SCI-Retreat will jeopardize $1.6 million in funding for the school district, which would threaten important educational programs like Pre-K instruction for every student. This is an important issue that must be addressed, which is why a delay in your announcement is warranted.”
Nevertheless, Barletta noted that it appears that fiscal calculations appear to be driving the governor’s desire to close two state prisons. The congressman argued that closing the facilities as a cost-saving measure demonstrated a misunderstanding of the purpose and role of prisons.
“I believe that prisons, and, for that manner, halfway houses, should be managed in a way that keeps our communities safe,” Barletta said. “We shouldn’t be closing prisons simply to save money – these facilities should be closed when we have addressed the underlying criminal element so the need for the location no longer exists.”
In the letter to Gov. Wolf, Barletta highlighted the safety of correctional officers as a paramount concern.
“It is also important that any closure does not harm the prison guards charged with protecting the public from violent or mentally ill prisoners. Officer safety must be taken into account,” Barletta wrote. “The announcement noted that prisoners may be shifted to unused beds at SCI-Camp Hill, which, while physically located just outside of my Congressional District, employs a number of my constituents. As you know, 27 years ago, overcrowding at SCI-Camp Hill led to 3 days of rioting that destroyed half the prison and injured 123 people, including 69 staff members, 41 inmates, and 7 first responders. Given this history, a full public hearing and comment period should be held before any announcement is made.”
In addition to officer safety, the welfare of inmates ought to be considered, Barletta wrote.
“I have also been informed that the Department of Corrections recently changed capacity levels from operational capacity, which was the standard in December, to emergency capacity, with little prior notice,” Barletta wrote. “My understanding is that this means a prison can place beds in common areas, gymnasiums, and any space that is open. This change can obviously result in great harm to correctional officers, but also has the potential to put inmates themselves at risk. This invites lawsuits from inmates that would negate any potential cost savings from prison closures. I understand that a significant number of prisoners at SCI-Retreat are classified as mentally ill, which means they are provided with specialized care. The rapid movement of inmates to other prisons without a full vetting seems problematic. Further, if one were to use the safer operational capacity metric, SCI-Retreat is one inmate away from capacity. This is yet another topic that should be examined before any closure announcement.”
Finally, Barletta expressed concern about the stress that would be placed on the local court systems should such prison closures occur. And he noted that he was still awaiting information discussed during a meeting he had with John Wetzel, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, on January 10, 2017.
“I have yet to receive information from your secretary of corrections, who asked for assistance in obtaining federal contracts as a way to supplement funding within the state corrections budget,” Barletta wrote. “Given what appears to be the lack of a pre-existing relationship in this area and a number of questions that must be answered before potential contracts can be considered, I urge you to delay any announcement on closures until these questions can be addressed.”
Barletta concluded the letter with a final plea for more time and study before a decision is made on prison closures.
“As you know, closing a prison isn’t a simple endeavor that can be easily reversed if capacity needs change,” Barletta said. “Your decision has an immediate impact on the safety of thousands of Pennsylvania prisoners, and the men and women who guard them, in addition to the local communities where they reside. Safety, not simply economics, must be publicly addressed to provide transparency to all involved. It therefore seems prudent to further study this issue and delay any decisions until these concerns can be addressed.”
The letter was addressed to Gov. Wolf and copied to a number of other recipients: state Sen. John Yudichak (14th District); state Rep. Gerald Mullery (119th District); Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis; Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed; Luzerne County Manager David Petri; and Don Williams, president of Voices of J.O.E., a political advocacy group dedicated to giving a voice to the families of correctional workers, and correctional workers themselves, in order to improve on the job safety conditions for correctional workers.
Please click here for a .pdf version of the letter from Rep. Barletta to Gov. Wolf.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted in favor of S. Con. Res.3, the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution, which includes the first procedural steps necessary to effect the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 227-to-198. It has already passed the Senate.
Barletta issued the following statement:
“I supported the resolution because it represents the first procedural step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare. The monstrosity of a health care law never lived up to its promises: people were thrown off their preferred plans; they lost access to their favorite doctors; and their premiums and deductibles skyrocketed. Obamacare was a mess created without a single Republican vote in the first place and in no way represented a consensus approach to fixing our health care system. There can be no mistake: Obamacare was on the ballot in November, and the voters said they wanted a change.
“I will be watching closely as this process continues, because as we move toward a full repeal of Obamacare, we must have replacement plans ready to go without delay in between. This cannot be a rerun of the infamous ‘we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it’ fiasco. We must have a functional replacement so that no one falls through the cracks.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) has joined 101 of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in urging President-Elect Donald J. Trump to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. During the presidential campaign, the president-elect strongly supported the move to Jerusalem, which Israel considers to be its capital city. Currently, the U.S. embassy in Israel is the only American embassy not located in the capital as identified by the host nation. The members of Congress sent a letter to Trump, urging him to take “swift action” on the matter after he is sworn in on January 20, 2017.
“During your campaign, you made a forceful pledge to move our American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the state of Israel,” the letter reads. “We write to express support for this policy and to urge you to take swift action to relocate our embassy to Jerusalem as soon as you take office.”
The support for the change in the U.S. embassy’s location comes less than three weeks after the Obama Administration failed to veto a stridently anti-Israel resolution before the United Nations Security Council. It had been the longstanding policy and practice of the U.S. to oppose or veto any resolutions condemning Israel at the U.N., a tradition Obama himself had observed until he allowed the anti-Israel vote two days before Christmas.
“This action is all the more urgent in light of the anti-Israel Resolution 2334, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016,” the letter continues. “The resolution invites renewed diplomatic hostility and economic warfare against Israel, and we must act urgently to mitigate its consequences and to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to Israel.”
Under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, passed by Congress, the embassy was to be relocated to Jerusalem by 1999. The legislation provided the president the authority to indefinitely delay the move, which is what has happened since its passage. The Trump Administration could move the embassy using its existing authority granted by Congress.
Click here to see a .pdf copy of the letter to President-Elect Trump.Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that local fire departments and emergency response companies can now apply for federal grants to help with staffing and providing around the clock emergency services to their communities. The grant application period has opened for grants for local fire departments under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program from the Department of Homeland Security. The application period runs until Friday, February 10, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
“Our fire departments and emergency responders are the first line of defense in our neighborhoods when disaster strikes,” Barletta said. “We must do anything we can do to help people be safe in our communities.”
There is currently $345 million available for the SAFER Grant Program to assist fire departments and volunteer interest organizations increase or maintain the number of trained “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The SAFER Grant Program seeks to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies, assuring communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. The grants are available to volunteer, professional, or combination fire departments.
For more information, please visit http://www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants. Additionally, interested organizations may contact Mike Shay at Rep. Barletta’s Hazleton office at (570) 751-0050 or by email at Michael.Shay@mail.house.gov.Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and state Sen. John Yudichak (14th District) today issued statements regarding the potential closure of the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Retreat (SCI Retreat). The administration of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday, January 6, 2017 that two state prisons would be closed out of a pool of five under consideration, including SCI Retreat. The administration announced that the final decision on which two prisons to close would be made on January 26, 2017.
In his Washington, DC office, Barletta today met with Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel to discuss the situation at SCI Retreat, which employs approximately 400 residents of Luzerne County and the surrounding area. Additionally, since the news of the potential closure broke, Barletta has been in consultation with Sen. Yudichak.
Barletta’s statement is as follows:
“When news of the potential loss of 400 local jobs strikes like lightning out of the blue, I think it’s a good idea to take a deep breath and carefully consider all of the implications of closing SCI Retreat. The Wolf Administration’s announcement caught the community by surprise and there is an understandable amount of concern and uncertainty among the employees and their families. Eliminating so many jobs so suddenly would have a severe impact – not just on those families, but on the entire local economy.
“I thank Secretary Wetzel for taking the time to meet with me. I expressed to him my support for SCI Retreat, as well as my concern about the short timeline of the initial announcement and the anticipated final decision. It is my understanding that an economic impact study is commencing, and I have asked that it be completed and fully considered before any prison is targeted for closure. The Pennsylvania budgeting process stretches on until June of this year, and so I fail to see why there needs to be any rush to a decision. I asked Secretary Wetzel to convey my concerns to Gov. Wolf and asked that the administration slow the process down so that a careful and thorough examination of all the facts can take place.”
Yudichak’s statement is as follows:
“The arbitrary deadline of January 26 imposed by the Department of Corrections to close two state prisons is unrealistic and impedes efforts to find more cost efficiencies to deal with the fiscal challenges of the state budget. Delaying all prison closure decisions to June 30 will allow for public hearings, a thorough economic analysis, and give our federal representatives sufficient time to work with the DOC to find cost savings for both the state and federal prison systems.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued the following statement regarding the certification of the Electoral College victory of President-Elect Donald J. Trump. In a joint session of Congress, lawmakers counted the electoral votes, which is the final step in declaring Trump the 45th President of the United States.
Barletta’s statement is as follows:
“What began many months ago on the campaign trails of America has finally come to pass today with the certification of Donald J. Trump’s victory on November 8, 2016. It is clear that President-Elect Trump would not have been successful without Pennsylvania’s support, and I am proud to have actively served as his campaign co-chairman in the Commonwealth. In just two short weeks, the President-Elect will take the oath of office and we can get down to the serious business of making America great again.
“Millions of people responded to Donald Trump’s message of revitalizing this country and were united in their belief that their government had stopped listening to their concerns. With my relationship with the President-Elect and his incoming administration, I look forward to having increased influence as we begin to strengthen our national security, enforce our immigration laws, and foster robust economic development.”Read More
CARLISLE – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced the new location of his Carlisle district office, which is now open at 126 N. Hanover Street in Carlisle. The office will be staffed during regular business hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, excluding federal holidays. The office was formerly located at 59 W. Louther Street.
“We are very happy with our new location and are pleased to be a part of revitalizing this section of North Hanover Street,” Barletta said. “Our staff stands ready to assist people in their dealings with federal agencies and other issues. Constituent service is one of the key roles of a member of Congress and we are happy to help.”
The following is a list of all of Rep. Barletta’s office locations:
126 North Hanover Street
Carlisle, PA 17013
Phone: (717) 249-0190
Fax: (717) 218-0190
4813 Jonestown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
Phone: (717) 525-7002
Fax: (717) 695-6794
1 South Church Street
Hazleton, PA 18201
Phone: (570) 751-0050
Fax: (570) 751-0054
106 Arch Street
Sunbury, PA 17801
Phone: (570) 988-7801
Fax: (570) 988-7805
2049 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6511
Toll Free: (855) 241-5144
Fax: (202) 226-6250
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted in favor of a resolution that objects to the recent United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel and calls for the U.N. resolution to be repealed. The legislation, H. Res. 11, Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an Obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian Peace, notes that the Obama Administration failed to uphold longstanding United States policy to oppose or veto any anti-Israel resolutions considered by the Security Council. The bill also expresses the sense of the U.S. House of Representatives that the United Nations action is an impediment to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Barletta was a cosponsor of the legislation, which passed the House by a large bipartisan vote of 342-to-80. It expresses the sense of the House and requires no further action.
Barletta issued the following statement:
“Allowing the United Nations to move forward with its virulently anti-Israel resolution was a particularly shameful move by President Obama, who broke with longstanding U.S. practice and turned his back on our strong ally Israel. The U.N. resolution the president declined to veto served only to isolate Israel from its neighbors, and the complicity by the Obama administration sent the clear message that the United States cannot be counted on as a faithful ally. Worse, the resolution was a severe blow to the peace process. I am pleased, however, that under President Trump, there will no longer be any confusion around the world, and the United States will once again firmly stand with our allies, the Israelis.”Read More
Kate Steinle, above, was murdered in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, in July of 2015 by an illegal immigrant who is a seven-time felon who had previously been deported five times.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today introduced the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, which will stop all federal funds from flowing to states or localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or flatly refuse to cooperate with immigration officials. The bill is the first piece of legislation introduced by Barletta in the 115th Congress and represents the third time the congressman has introduced the measure. In 2011, the bill was the first piece of legislation he ever introduced as a member of Congress. He introduced it a second time in the 114th Congress in 2015.
“One of the principal duties of the government is to protect its citizens, and the idea of sanctuary cities runs completely counter to that responsibility,” Barletta said. “Too many mayors and local governments think that they are above federal law and place their own ideology ahead of the safety of their residents. This bill will stop that practice by saying to these sanctuary cities, ‘If you refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, you will lose your federal funding.’”
Barletta introduced the bill as a freshman congressman in 2011 because of his personal experience with the danger of sanctuary cities while he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. In 2006, a 29-year-old local father of three, Derek Kichline, was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been released by law enforcement a number of times, including by the sanctuary city of New York. Additionally, Barletta was spurred to reintroduce the bill in 2015 following the San Francisco murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, whose accused killer was a seven-time felon who had been deported five times previously.
“Twice before I have introduced this bill, and twice before there was not the political will to pass it,” Barletta said. “With the Trump Administration taking office later this month, and with enforcing immigration law becoming a priority, I am hopeful we will meet with success this time around. It’s time we stopped seeing headlines about the victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.”
The Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act prohibits any federal funding for a minimum period of one year to any state or local government which has a policy or law that prevents them from assisting immigration authorities in enforcing federal immigration law. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) lists about 300 such localities in the United States. Barletta’s bill directs the attorney general to compile an annual list of such cities and issue a report on any particular state or locality upon request from a member of Congress. A state or local government would only regain federal funding eligibility after the attorney general certifies that its laws and policies are in compliance with federal immigration statutes.Read More
115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Louis J. Barletta proudly represents his hometown of Hazleton and the people of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. He began his second term on January 3, 2013.
Representative Barletta was first sworn in on January 5, 2011. He immediately started serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which plays a critical role in the economic development of and job growth in Northeastern and South Central Pennsylvania, and the Education and Workforce Committee, which focuses on how our nation can improve its educational system so we have competitive, qualified workers in the future.
He remains on these committees during his second term in office. Additionally, Rep. Barletta was appointed Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Also for his second term, Rep. Barletta was assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security, which was established in 2002 to provide congressional oversight for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack. The committee has jurisdiction over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), and the U.S. Coast Guard; border security programs including efforts to achieve operational control of the border; and border smuggling and trafficking of drugs, humans, currency, weapons and other illicit materials. The committee also has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport security, and more.
Illegal immigration is a very important subject for Representative Barletta, who first tackled the problem when he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Lou Barletta was the first mayor in the country to introduce and sign into law local ordinances cracking down against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. He has since become a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration.
During his first term in Congress, Representative Barletta formed the 112th Class Immigration Reform Caucus, which brings together members of the historic 2011-12 “freshmen” class. Representative Barletta chairs this caucus as it examines solutions to the country’s illegal immigration problems.
Also during his first term, Representative Barletta used his position on the Small Business Committee to fight to reduce the interest rate charged on certain Small Business Administration disaster recovery loans after massive flooding devastated the 11th District in September 2011.
Born and raised in Hazleton, Representative Barletta majored in elementary education as a student at Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University). He left school to try out for a Major League Baseball team, but was released when the team’s management discovered he couldn’t hit a curve ball.
After he returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania, he and his wife Mary Grace started a business together. For $29.95, the Barlettas formed a line-painting business. Through hard work and perseverance, they grew that business into the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within five years. They eventually grew it to be the sixth-largest business of its kind in the entire nation.
As a small business owner, Representative Barletta saw how government regulation and taxes could affect the bottom line. Even though he had very little interest in politics, he decided to run for a slot on Hazleton City Council. He was first elected to council in 1998, then was elected mayor in 2000.
Despite inheriting a massive budget shortfall, he was able to turn around the City of Hazleton with tough, fiscally responsible decisions. This turnaround earned statewide praise and recognition.
In addition, his leadership on the issue of illegal immigration in Hazleton garnered national attention. By ever-increasing margins of victory, Representative Barletta was elected mayor three times.
In September 2004, Representative Barletta was appointed by the White House to serve on the United Nation Advisory Committee of Local Authorities as the representative of the United States of America.
In November 2010, Representative Barletta was elected to Congress on his third attempt. He was re-elected in November 2012.
Lou and Mary Grace are the parents of four daughters: Kelly, April, Lindsey, and Grace. They also have one grandson, Gabriel Louis; and one granddaughter, Madeleine Grace.
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Peaceful transfer of power to the 45th President of the United States. My reaction and statement: https://t.co/ZWR7ikDzs1
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It's been a long road from the campaign trail to the White House, but today is the day. Excited for the 45th POTUS… https://t.co/mTM7OcUx7V
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Today the world witnessed what is one of the finest attributes of the United States: the peaceful transfer of power from one chief executive
Even on Inauguration Day, the business of the 11th District of Pennsylvania goes on. I sent a letter to Gov. Wolf urging him to consider all
Getting ready for the swearing in of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States! Got here plenty early. This will be my vantage point.
It is impossible to count how many Pennsylvanians over the last year told me they were frustrated with Washington because they felt their government
My op-ed in support of my bill to defund sanctuary cities - those jurisdictions which refuse to obey the law or cooperate with federal immigration