Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Barletta Supports President’s Efforts to Combat Opioid Epidemic

2017/08/11

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement regarding President Trump’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a national emergency:

“I commend President Trump for officially declaring our nation’s opioid crisis a national emergency.  The opioid epidemic is one of the most tragic problems we face as a nation, as substance abuse is an affliction that affects millions of Americans.  Pennsylvania has been hit especially hard by this tragedy, as I consistently hear about opioid and heroin abuse when I am back home.  This epidemic has impacted every American community.  I look forward to working with the Trump Administration and my colleagues on both sides of aisle to prevent heartbreaking instances of addiction and loss.” 

Last year, as a member of the joint House and Senate conference committee tasked with drafting comprehensive legislation addressing the opioid epidemic, Barletta helped to negotiate the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).  CARA, which passed the House by a strong bipartisan vote of 407 to 5, authorized funding for grants available to local communities and healthcare providers to help prevent opioid overdose deaths and provide treatment for opioid addiction.  CARA was signed into law on July 22, 2016, and included Barletta’s legislation that specifically protects newborns with opioid exposure and their caregivers.  The Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act requires that states receiving federal funds for child protective services comply with federal law, enact certain guidelines for the welfare of children exposed to opioids, and provide protections for their caregivers.

Additionally, Barletta has held three forums to address the opioid crisis in his district.  At these forums, experts from government agencies, local officials, healthcare professionals, and members of PA-11 discuss the growing opioid epidemic facing Pennsylvania communities and the efforts underway to combat the problem.

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Barletta Statement on Introduction of the RAISE Act

2017/08/02

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement regarding the introduction of the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK) and David Perdue (R-GA) at the White House alongside President Trump:

“I commend Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue for introducing this legislation to move our country toward a skills-based immigration system that will raise American workers’ wages, create jobs, and benefit our economy.  We have immigration laws in this country for two basic reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs.  This bill reinforces those principles.

For more than a decade, I have argued that fixing our broken immigration system will create greater economic opportunities for American workers and families.  Yet, for decades, politicians in Washington have supported policies that benefit foreign workers at the expense of American workers.  Just one out of every 15 immigrants to the United States comes here because of their skills.  This influx of low-skilled immigrant labor has decreased wages for those without college degrees by nearly 20 percent since the 1970s, and threatens to place the American Dream out of reach for far too many workers and their families.  That has to change if we want to help American workers find jobs and remain competitive in today’s increasingly global economy.  I look forward to working with the White House and my colleagues in Congress, particularly Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Senators Cotton and Perdue, to follow through on President Trump’s promise to reform our immigration system so that it puts America first.”

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Barletta Announces Federal Grants for Local Fire Departments

2017/07/28

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that two local fire departments will receive $187,468 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.

The Shavertown Volunteer Fire Company will receive a $144,610 grant, and the Liberty Hose Company No. 2 in Lykens will receive a $42,858 grant.

“When I talk with volunteers at fire departments across the 11th District, I constantly hear about the funding and personnel challenges they face,” Barletta said.  “These grants will go a long way toward helping our first responders in Shavertown and Lykens attract more and more dedicated public servants to protect their fellow citizens.”

The primary goal of the AFG program is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations.  Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

“We must do anything we can do to help people be safe in our communities, and I remain proud to support funding for our local fire departments,” Barletta said.

Barletta has been a longtime supporter of the Assistance to Firefighter Grants program, having made repeated requests to House Appropriations Committee leaders for continued support and funding.  He has promoted the support of benefits for first responders, particularly those who directly suffered the effects of September 11, 2001.  In addition, Barletta successfully led the fight to protect volunteer fire and emergency companies from the ravages of Obamacare, which could have caused many stations to close their doors because of financial burdens associated with the employer mandate provision.  Under pressure from Barletta, the Internal Revenue Service changed its rule governing the employer mandate and specifically exempted firefighters from Obamacare, though Barletta continues to pursue legislation to formalize it in federal law.  For his efforts, Barletta was named 2014 Legislator of the Year by the National Volunteer Fire Council.  When embarking on one of his Main Street Tours of the 11th District, Barletta usually begins his visit with a stop at the local fire house.  

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Barletta Votes for National Security Funding Bill

2017/07/28

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) yesterday voted for a national security funding bill that includes $1.6 billion – the full amount requested by the White House – for the southern border wall, fully funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops, and provides the highest level of funding ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The Make America Secure Appropriations Act (H.R. 3219) passed the House by a vote of 235-192 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“The primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect our nation and its citizens,” Barletta said.  “This funding package shows our commitment to keeping America safe and strong in an increasingly dangerous world.  We are helping the president fulfill his promises to the American people by fully funding the White House’s requested amount for the southern border wall, a pay raise for our troops, and a historic increase in funding for programs to take care of our veterans.”

The bill includes the full legislation and funding for four of the 12 annual appropriations bills, including: the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and the Legislative Branch.

A partial list of victories includes:

Department of Defense

  • Fully funds the authorized 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops – the largest military pay increase in 8 years.
  • Increases base funding for the Department of Defense by $68.1 billion to continue rebuilding our military.
  • Prohibits an additional round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), or the closing of military bases.

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs

  • Provides $78.3 billion for the VA – the highest level of funding ever and a five percent increase over last year’s funding level.
  • Supports medical care for seven million VA patients, including mental health care services, suicide prevention activities, traumatic brain injury treatment, opioid abuse prevention, and homeless veterans’ services.
  • Increases funding by 25 percent for the construction of critical military infrastructure.

Energy and Water Development

  • Provides $6.16 billion in funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, prioritizing flood and storm damage reduction.Authorizes the Administrator of the Environmental Protection.
  • Agency and the Secretary of the Army to withdraw from the flawed Waters of the U.S. rule.

Protecting Our Southern Border

  • Provides $1.6 billion to secure our southern border, meeting the full White House funding request.

For more information, click here.

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Barletta Applauds Justice Department Policy Cracking Down on Sanctuary Cities

2017/07/27

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today applauded a recent announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will stop providing Byrne JAG grant funding to sanctuary cities.  According to the announcement, cities and states must comply with federal immigration laws in order to qualify for the grant funding.  Specifically, localities must allow federal immigration authorities to access local detention facilities and provide 48 hours notice before releasing an illegal immigrant wanted by federal authorities.  These conditions are aimed at increasing information sharing between federal, state, and local law enforcement.

“Sanctuary cities are dangerous to public safety, and I’m glad that the DOJ is taking this commonsense step to stop supporting them with federal tax dollars,” Barletta said.  “The American people expect their government to enforce laws intended to keep them safe.  Yet, in sanctuary cities across the nation, that is simply not happening.  No mayor has the right to pick and choose which federal laws to follow, just like American citizens do not have the right to pick and choose which section of the criminal code they want to follow.  It’s about time that we end the policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in cities that actively work for illegal immigrants, and against our immigration laws intended to protect American citizens.”

Sanctuary cities are localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or refuse to cooperate with immigration officials.  According to the new conditions, in order to receive Byrne JAG grant funding, localities must enforce federal laws and cooperate with federal immigration officials.  Thus, sanctuary cities would be precluded from receiving these funds.  The Byrne JAG program provides states, tribes, and local governments with funding to support various law enforcement activities.  

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

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

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Barletta Discusses Importance of Afterschool Programs during Hearing on Education Reform

2017/07/18

WASHINGTON – During today’s House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing exploring state and local implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) highlighted how afterschool programs, like the SHINE afterschool program in northeast Pennsylvania, are contributing to student success, and questioned how state ESSA plans can incorporate afterschool opportunities.  Barletta successfully restored funding for afterschool programs in ESSA.

ESSA was signed into law in December 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act and restore state and local control of public education.  The law fully takes effect for the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year.  Today’s hearing focused on how states and local stakeholders are planning to implement the policy changes included in ESSA.

“We know that chronic absenteeism negatively affects student success, and that this has led some states to propose absenteeism as an additional accountability measure in their state ESSA plans,” Barletta said.  “We also know there is evidence that quality afterschool and summer learning programs are cost-effective strategies in increasing student attendance at all grade levels.  I’ve seen this firsthand through an afterschool organization in my district – the SHINE program.”

Barletta questioned Dr. Gail Pletnick, Superintendent of Dysart Unified School District in Surprise, Arizona, about how state ESSA plans may be encouraging school districts to provide afterschool and summer learning opportunities to their students.

Pletnick said that afterschool programs are having a positive impact on students’ learning and also encouraging parents to get more involved with their child’s education.

“With our underserved populations especially, having those afterschool opportunities serves many purposes, but certainly engages students in their learning,” Pletnick said.  “We have opportunities to have coding, to have STEM – those really critical skills that students enjoy being a part of.  What we have also seen through those programs is increased parent involvement because they are able to engage with their students in those activities.  Those types of programs are having a positive impact academically.”

After the original House version of the bill replacing No Child Left Behind eliminated funding for the 21 Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which provides federal funding for afterschool programs, Barletta successfully worked to restore its funding.  The law also includes a Barletta amendment that directs school districts to report to state agencies on the use of federal funds for afterschool activities to further demonstrate the importance of such programs.

Barletta, a member of the Education and Workforce Committee and father of two daughters who are teachers, has long championed SHINE, or “Schools and Homes In Education,” in Carbon, Schuylkill, and Luzerne counties.  During the hearing, Barletta highlighted SHINE’s proven track record of improving students’ attendance and learning.  According to a recent study, 92 percent of SHINE students had exceptionally good or satisfactory school attendance, 97 percent of students indicated they were excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and the number of students who said they would like to study math or science in college increased by 14 percent.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Barletta said.  “When students are excited about learning, they show up for class and feel personally invested in their education, setting themselves up for success down the road.”

As a result of his leadership in saving federal funding for afterschool programs, Barletta was the only House member to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association.  Barletta was also named an “Afterschool Hero” by the Afterschool Alliance, and earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network named him an Afterschool Champion for his commitment, dedication, and outstanding work on learning programs.

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Barletta Highlights Need for Stronger Work Zone Safety Measures after Death of Local PennDOT Contractor

2017/07/18

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today highlighted the need for stronger safety measures along highway work zones in the wake of the death of a PennDOT contractor who was struck and killed by a car as he was setting up a construction zone on Interstate-81 in Franklin County.

Barletta discussed the June incident involving Michael Friendy, a 41-year-old Hazleton native, during a hearing in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.  The hearing included witnesses from various modal administrations at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board testified about how the policy provisions in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act are impacting the safety and reliability on our nation’s roads.

“Before I came to Congress, I owned a road construction business, so I know firsthand how dangerous it can be working in construction zones,” Barletta said.  “We actually put the lines on the road that saved lives.  I always used to say, you never read the names in the paper of the people whose lives you saved.  But there is only so much signage and protection you can offer your employees to protect them from the constant threat of distracted drivers and speeding trucks.”

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in 2014, 119 roadway construction workers lost their lives in work zone crashes.  In 2015, 700 people were killed in work zones as a result of motor vehicle crashes.

“Just last month, I was personally touched by such an incident involving Michael J. Friendy, who I had hired when I had my business,” Barletta said.  “He was setting up a construction zone on Interstate-81 when he was struck by a car and killed.  I knew Mike for over 20 years and was incredibly saddened by his death.  My thoughts and prayers continue to be with his friends and family and his co-workers as they grieve this incredible loss.”

Walter Waidelich, Jr., Acting Deputy Administrator of the FHWA, said that his administration is working in many different ways with local and state stakeholders to improve work zone safety.

Waidelich pointed to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which includes minimum standards for work zone safety signage, buffer zones, and other safety elements within a work zone.  The FHWA also deploys safety technology – for example, intrusion alarms that notify workers when a vehicle enters the work zone.  Additionally, the agency is undertaking initiatives, such as Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, to raise awareness and public education about work zone safety.

“Work zones are not only dangerous for workers,” Waidelich said.  “They’re also dangerous for those vehicles that are going through it.”

Barletta has long advocated to improve the safety of our nation’s roadways.  He asked for increased funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, which helps states to address roadway infrastructure challenges by investing in rumble strips, guardrails, signs, pavement markings, high friction surfacing applications, and other safety projects.

Motor Carrier Safety Score Update

Barletta also asked Daphne Jefferson, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if the FMCSA believes that the findings of a recent report on the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which evaluates motor carrier safety, requires a better statistical model for determining motor safety carrier scores.

That report, published last month by the National Academies of Science found that FMCSA’s system for ranking motor carrier safety uses a “defensible” method, but recommended that it employ a more empirical model that more accurately estimates motor carrier safety.  Barletta fought for this report requirement to be included in the FAST Act.

Jefferson said that FMCSA supports the findings in the report and will work with industry stakeholders and Congress to implement its recommendations.

“It’s our intent to provide a corrective action plan to Congress within 120 days of submitting that report,” Jefferson said.  “We are also working with the National Academies of Science to identify strategies for implementing those recommendations.  They’ve given us a roadmap, if you will, of ways to improve SMS, and it’s our intent to follow through on that.”

The 2015 Highway Bill included Barletta’s provisions to improve the safety score calculations for carriers by making the scores more reflective of a company’s safety record.  The FMCSA, which is the lead U.S. Department of Transportation agency responsible for truck and bus safety, had appeared prematurely poised to amend safety regulations by implementing the Obama Administration’s flawed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule before the Congressionally-mandated reforms were completed.  In March of this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would withdraw the SFD rule, allowing Congress to put forth reforms that more accurately reflect a company’s safety record.

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Barletta Backs National Defense Authorization Act

2017/07/14

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for members of our military and their families and helps to keep Americans safe.  The FY18 NDAA authorizes $621.5 billion for the Department of Defense base budget and $74.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.  The $696.1 billion of funding for national security represents a $62 billion increase from last year.  The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 344-81 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“We have a responsibility to care for the men and women who serve our country and equip our military with the resources it needs to keep Americans safe,” Barletta said.  “This bill accomplishes those goals.  We finally have a partner in the White House who is committed to rebuilding our military and fully funding our national defense.  I am especially pleased that this bill increases pay for our troops and their families and prevents another round of base closures.  Overall, this is a strong bill for a strong military.”

The NDAA funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel, improves the delivery of health care services, and includes additional provisions to support those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury.  It also boosts our military’s readiness to confront threats by authorizing increases to the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard.  To ensure our troops are safe and supplied with the resources they need to carry out their missions, the bill makes important investments in maintaining and modernizing equipment.

Barletta helped to defeat an amendment that would have allowed for conducting an additional round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).  The base text of the NDAA prohibits closing or consolidating military bases.   During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on June 12, 2017, Defense Secretary James Mattis testified that he wants to review data on excess military facilities capacity before moving forward with another round of BRAC.

“I am not comfortable right now that we have a full 20 some percent excess,” Mattis said.  “I need to go back through and look at this again because I don't want to, you know, get rid of something or come to you with something that we can't sustain and then we try to say we got to buy some land here in 10 years.”

BRAC is not a proven cost-saving measure.  While the BRAC commission claimed that the 2005 round of BRAC would cost the Pentagon $21 billion, the actual cost was $35.1 billion, according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report.

“We should not move forward with closing military bases when the cost savings and effect on our military readiness is not clear,” Barletta said.  “The Army War College is a huge asset for Carlisle,” Barletta said.  “This bill will keep it safe from a BRAC and ensure that it has the resources and support it needs to continue serving our community.”

More detailed information about the NDAA can be found on the House Committee on Armed Services’ website.

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Barletta Leads Hearing to Reduce Waste in Federal Real Estate, Save Taxpayer Dollars

2017/07/12

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today led a hearing examining ways to save taxpayers billions of dollars by implementing legislation to streamline the disposal of excess federal real estate.  The Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act (FASTA), which was signed into law in December 2016, creates a six-year pilot program to sell up to $8 billion worth of underutilized and vacant federal properties to create the best value for taxpayers.

During the hearing, Barletta discussed with Kevin Acklin, Chief of Staff for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, how FASTA’s implementation will help with the disposal of the vacant Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs (VA) property so that it can be reused by the city’s first responders and emergency services.  Barletta addressed yesterday’s decision by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and General Services Administration (GSA) to cancel the FBI headquarters exchange procurement.  Barletta stated that, while it is clear the FBI needs a consolidated headquarters, the previous administration took the wrong approach by proposing an exchange.  Barletta encouraged the current administration to pursue a public-private partnership (P3) strategy to get the project back on track.

Pittsburgh VA Disposal

As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Barletta last month toured the 164-acre former VA property, which has been vacant since 2013.  The federal government recently declared it as excess property.  The city of Pittsburgh has proposed turning the site into a center to consolidate its law enforcement and emergency management functions, which are currently scattered throughout the city.

In his opening statement, Barletta noted that taxpayers have spent at least $300,000 this fiscal year to maintain the vacant Pittsburgh VA facility.  The longer the facility sits vacant, the more it will deteriorate and increase costs to taxpayers.

“You would think the federal government would have a procedure in place to quickly dispose of this property,” Barletta said.  “What would take a short time to get done in the private sector takes years in the federal government.”

Barletta stated that Pittsburgh’s approach to consolidating agency functions into unused federal space to free up properties for economic growth is an example of the benefits of FASTA.

“When these buildings are empty for three or four years, the real danger comes because the roof starts leaking, water gets in, and then the properties are worthless,” Barletta said, stressing that FASTA will streamline the disposal process of federal buildings to prevent such deterioration and save taxpayers money.

Acklin stated that the city has budgeted for the next five years assuming that the VA property disposal and law enforcement agency consolidation will move forward.  City officials are working closely and communicating regularly with the federal government.

“This is a good deal.  If it was a private sector deal, it would be done already,” Acklin said.  “We’re spending public money [in Pittsburgh] because we have a vacant and abandoned site.  Every dollar we spend to maintain vacant or abandoned property is one fewer dollar we can put into a police officer’s pocket who puts his life on the line every day.”

FBI Headquarters

Barletta also addressed yesterday’s decision by the FBI and GSA to cancel the FBI headquarters exchange procurement.  Barletta stated that, while the previous administration’s decision to pursue an exchange strategy killed this procurement, the need for a consolidated FBI headquarters remains, and a P3 is the best way forward.

Under the exchange strategy, the cost of the new FBI headquarters was to be covered in part by turning over ownership of the Hoover Building, where the FBI is currently headquartered, to the developer in charge of building the new, consolidated FBI campus.  By structuring the procurement as an exchange, the previous administration precluded the developer from building the new headquarters in phases.  Instead, the developer would have had to build the entire new facility before the FBI could move and hand over the Hoover Building as payment to the developer.  That process could not happen because the project was not fully funded.

“This committee told the previous administration that exchanging the Hoover Building for a new headquarters was a mistake and would fail,” Barletta said.  “I believe that a P3 is the only way to deliver a consolidated headquarters for the FBI.  I am willing to do whatever I can to get [approval] to do this, and I hope that [GSA] will pursue such a strategy. We have the opportunity to fix this project and get it back on track. My question is, is GSA willing to pursue options such as these for acquiring a new consolidated FBI headquarters?”

Acting GSA Administrator Tim Horne agreed that the exchange structure coupled with lack of funding prevented the project from moving forward.  He stated that GSA is “absolutely committed to working with [Barletta’s subcommittee] and the [Office of Management and Budget] on all options moving forward.”  

“There is no doubt that the FBI consolidation is a priority for this administration and GSA,” Horne said.

Background on FASTA

FASTA implements reforms to shrink the size of government and ensure savings by selling or redeveloping high value properties, consolidating federal space, maximizing the utilization rates of space, and streamlining the disposal of unneeded assets.

The law establishes a Public Buildings Reform Board of members who will identify opportunities to reduce the real property inventory and make recommendations for the sale of up to $8 billion worth of underutilized and vacant federal properties.  It also requires GSA to create and publish a single, comprehensive database of all federal real properties, including whether those properties are excess, surplus, underutilized, or unutilized to prevent a future stockpiling of unused and underutilized property.

FASTA moved through Barletta’s subcommittee on its way to becoming law last year.  Through Barletta’s leadership, the subcommittee’s work has already saved taxpayers $3.4 billion through better stewardship of public buildings.

To view video of Barletta’s opening statement, click here.

To view video of Barletta’s exchange with Acklin and Horne, click here.

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Barletta Statement on Sentencing of Inmate Who Murdered Eric Williams

2017/07/11

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement regarding a federal jury’s decision to sentence Jessie Con-ui to life in prison for the murder of Eric Williams.  Williams, a Nanticoke native and Senior Correctional Officer at the United States Prison at Canaan, was murdered by convicted gang assassin Jessie Con-ui while on duty in 2013.  Con-ui, a member of the violent New Mexican Mafia gang, was already serving a life sentence when he suddenly attacked Officer Williams, knocked him down a flight of stairs, and stabbed him more than 200 times with homemade blades known as shanks.

“I am disappointed with this verdict,” Barletta said.  “My heart is heavy for the family and friends of Eric Williams.  The brutality of this murder has weighed heavy on our community for four years now.  Despite this verdict, we should all find hope in the fact that Eric’s life and legacy have continued to impact countless individuals across this country by inspiring efforts to better protect correctional officers.  Eric’s parents, Don and Jean, have shown incredible strength and resolve by leading these efforts.  We must continue our work to protect correctional officers so that this senseless tragedy does not happen to other families.”

Last Congress, Barletta co-sponsored and helped lead the passage of a bill improving protections for correctional officers.  The Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act, signed into law in March 2016, supplies pepper spray to federal prison officers or employees who may respond to emergency situations with inmates.

During the legislative course of the bill, Barletta met with Don and Jean Williams, who now help lead an organization called Voices of JOE.  The letters of J-O-E stand for Jose Rivera, Osvaldo Albarati, and Eric Williams, three former corrections employees who were targeted and killed because of their positions in the prison system.

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Barletta Praises SHINE at Ed & Workforce Hearing

2017-07-18 20:31:18


Rep. Barletta Questions Witness during FAST Act Hearing

2017-07-18 16:13:15


Rep. Barletta discusses Pittsburgh VA Disposal at Subcommittee Hearing on GSA Disposal Process

2017-07-12 17:54:36


Barletta Questions Witnesses at Subcommittee Hearing on GSA Disposal Process Part II

2017-07-12 17:44:13


Barletta Questions Witnesses at Subcommittee Hearing on GSA Disposal Process

2017-07-12 17:41:10


Rep. Barletta Opens T&I Subcommittee Hearing on GSA Disposal Process

2017-07-12 17:08:45


Rep. Barletta Speech on Legislation to Strengthen Immigration Enforcement

2017-06-29 21:07:52


Rep. Barletta Questions Witness during Job Corps Hearing

2017-06-22 18:40:52


Rep. Barletta Highlights SHINE in Congressional Hearing

2017-06-19 18:34:14


Rep. Barletta speaks on Verify First Act

2017-06-13 18:18:33


Barletta Questions Sec. Kelly on DHS Budget During Hearing

2017-06-07 17:56:55


Rep. Barletta Manages Consideration of HR 2548 - the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2017

2017-05-24 16:17:22


Rep. Barletta Questions Witnesses at Border & Maritime Security Subcommittee Hearing

2017-05-23 20:15:43


Rep. Barletta Manages the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act (H.R. 1665) on House Floor

2017-05-03 18:24:46


Rep. Barletta Chairs T&I Hearing on Disaster Preparedness

2017-04-27 16:43:06


Rep. Barletta Questions Witnesses at Highways & Transit Subcommittee Hearing

2017-04-05 18:22:13


Rep. Barletta Discusses Disaster SAVE Act on House Floor

2017-03-27 22:02:26


Rep. Barletta - T & I Subcommittee Hearing Questions

2017-03-16 22:14:27


Rep. Barletta - Education Workforce Committee Hearing on Healthcare Reforms

2017-03-01 21:02:03


The Disaster Simplified Assistance Value Enhancement Act

2017-02-28 20:18:43


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.


Serving With

Mike Kelly

PENNSYLVANIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Glenn Thompson

PENNSYLVANIA's 5th DISTRICT

Ryan Costello

PENNSYLVANIA's 6th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Brian Fitzpatrick

PENNSYLVANIA's 8th DISTRICT

Bill Shuster

PENNSYLVANIA's 9th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Keith Rothfus

PENNSYLVANIA's 12th DISTRICT

Charlie Dent

PENNSYLVANIA's 15th DISTRICT

Lloyd Smucker

PENNSYLVANIA's 16th DISTRICT

Tim Murphy

PENNSYLVANIA's 18th DISTRICT

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