Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

House Passes Bill to Improve Career & Technical Education

2017/06/22

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for, and the House unanimously passed, bipartisan legislation to help prepare Americans to enter the workforce with the skills they need to compete for high-skilled, in-demand jobs.  The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 2353, strengthens and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs.  The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“If we want to maintain our position as a global leader and truly compete in the world economy, then our workforce must be able to set the pace,” Barletta said.  “I often hear from local employers who say they have jobs, but cannot find the workers to fill them.  This legislation will provide much-needed resources to equip students with the skills they will need to fill good-paying jobs.”

CTE programs offer students the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to compete for jobs in a broad range of fields, such as health care and technology.  However, because federal law has not been updated in more than a decade, our workforce development programs no longer reflect the realities and challenges facing students and workers.  H.R. 2353 improves how government invests in the American workforce and strengthens American competitiveness and jobs training. 

Specifically, the legislation will: 

  • Deliver states more flexibility to use federal resources in response to changing education and economic needs.
  • Ensure career and technical education prepares all students, including historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students, for success in high-skill, high-wage occupations and careers in nontraditional fields.
  • Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
  • Enhance career and technical education through increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing so students are prepared to enter the workforce poised for success.
  • Streamline performance measures to ensure career and technical education programs deliver results for students and taxpayers.
  • Reduce administrative burdens and simplify the process for states to apply for federal resources.
  • Reward success and innovation by directing federal resources to replicate promising practices that best serve students and employers.
  • Provide parents, students, and stakeholders a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of state and local programs.
  • Empower state and local leaders to develop plans that improve the quality of career and technical education and take into account unique ‎local and state needs.

As part of his commitment to closing the skills gap and supporting CTE programs, in May, Barletta participated in a press conference at Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) with state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Carbon/Luzerne) and representatives from higher education and workforce development advocacy groups to discuss the importance of reauthorizing the Perkins Act.  Barletta then toured LCCC and met with students learning various trade skills.

“Learning trade skills offered by community colleges like LCCC is a pathway forward for our country right now,” Barletta said.  “Reauthorizing the Perkins Act ensures programs like these can continue to help our students meet the demands of job opportunities available to them here in Pennsylvania and across the country.”

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Barletta Touts Benefits of Job Corps during Congressional Hearing

2017/06/22

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today highlighted the success of the Keystone Job Corps Center in Drums, Pennsylvania during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing, “Student Safety in the Job Corps Program,” about improving safety and security at Job Corps centers across the nation.  Barletta, the Republican Chairman of the Job Corps Caucus, said that the Keystone Center’s partnerships with local organizations and businesses have helped to foster a safe and secure environment while benefitting both students and the community.

“When I was mayor, I met the students from the Keystone Job Corps Center and witnessed the work they did for our community,” Barletta said.  “They helped to build the sidewalks around City Hall and designed the trash receptacles during the downtown beautification project.  I’ve also had numerous Job Corps students intern in my Hazleton district office.  Job Corps allows young adults to get involved in our community, which benefits everyone.”

Barletta noted that Job Corps students perform a number of community services, such as helping fire departments perform smoke alarm tests in neighborhoods, volunteering with the United Way and Habitat for Humanity, and preparing meals for community events.  Barletta said that management officials at the Keystone Center told him that these community partnerships have helped to increase students’ safety, security, and sense of community.

“Teaching students to live in a community, and be part of one, fosters a sense of self-value that lends itself to a sense of accountability to others,” Barletta said.  “I am proud to represent Keystone, and I believe that every Job Corps Center has the responsibility to be a good neighbor.”

Barletta questioned Jeff Barton, Academy Director at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Academy in Kentucky, about how Job Corps students’ engagement with their local community helps to reduce violence and increase safety.  Barton said that students at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Center participate in similar activities as the students at the Keystone Center, and highlighted the Job Corps’ “Youth to Youth” anti-bullying initiative.

“[The Youth-to-Youth initiative] encourages students to get out in the community, work with local school systems, and work with local residents to send a message that there are other ways to solve problems besides bullying, hazing, and fighting,” Barton said.  “Students across the country have expressed coping skills to deal with problems other than violence or argument.  We are going to continue with those types of initiatives moving forward.”

The Job Corps program was enacted as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and most recently reauthorized in 2014 as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  That bill contained provisions similar to Barletta’s America Works Act, H.R. 497, to encourage states and localities to prioritize federal spending on education and training.

Job Corps is designed to provide young people with the skills necessary to obtain and hold jobs, enter the armed forces, or enroll in continuing education.  The 124,000 Job Corps centers across the country serve more than 60,000 participants, who must be ages 16 to 24, low income, and facing barriers to employment and education.

Click here to view video of the hearing.

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Barletta Reintroduces Bill to Modernize School Cafeterias

2017/06/22

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today reintroduced his legislation to provide healthy and nutritious meals to students.  The School Food Modernization Act would help local schools replace outdated kitchen equipment and improve infrastructure.  The legislation is bipartisan, with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) serving as the lead co-sponsor, and Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA) is also a co-sponsor.

A national survey indicates that 88 percent of school districts need at least one piece of new kitchen equipment, and 55 percent require infrastructure changes.

“We need a permanent solution to ensure that our schools have the tools they need to serve our kids healthier meals,” Rep. Barletta said.  “Too many of our nation’s schools have deep fryers when they really need walk-in refrigerators and freezers to keep fresh fruits and vegetables longer.  They have microwaves meant to reheat pre-packaged foods when they really need something as simple as a knife and cutting board.  By giving schools better access to modern kitchen equipment and infrastructure, while also strengthening workforce training, we do just that.  It will result in improved focus in the classroom, and ultimately, a lifetime of healthier eating habits.”

“We have made important strides encouraging more nutritious food for our students, but too often school kitchen equipment is outdated, making it difficult to adequately prepare healthy options,” Rep. DeSaulnier said.  “Research shows that there is a statically significant increase in test scores among students who consume healthier meals.  It is time we put our money where our mouths are, and give our schools the resources needed to serve healthier options that promote greater academic achievement.”

“As Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, I know that the School Food Modernization Act will improve the quality and accessibility of equipment used for preparing high quality meals in our schools,” Rep. Thompson said. “Our food service professionals work tirelessly to ensure that America’s students are receiving nutritious, quality meals during the school day and we must equip them with the tools they need to do just that.”

The bill:

  • Allows schools to participate in a loan assistance program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help them acquire new kitchen equipment and build new infrastructure.  Schools would be eligible for federal guarantees up to 80 percent of the loan.
  • Provides targeted grant assistance to give school administrators and food service directors seed money for less extensive infrastructure upgrades or purchases of high-quality, durable kitchen equipment such as commercial ovens, steamers, and stoves. 
  • Strengthens training and provides technical assistance to school food service personnel, many of whom need additional skills and expertise to prepare healthier meals. 
  • Increases Congressional oversight by requiring reports on the use of workforce training funds and the progress of the programs authorized within this bill.

Last Congress, Barletta successfully included part of his bill in the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act, which passed the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.  Fifty organizations sent a letter to Representatives Barletta and DeSaulnier and Senators Collins and Heitkamp in support of their bill.

In May of 2016, Barletta was honored as the lone member of the House of Representatives to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), in part due to his leadership on this issue.

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Barletta Backs Bills to Improve Foster Care System

2017/06/21

Barletta recently hosted Tasha Jenkins, a former foster youth, in his Washington office for Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) yesterday voted for, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed, a slate of bills aimed at strengthening families and reforming the foster care system.

“For too many children, the dream of a permanent home can seem so far out of reach,” Barletta said.  “These bills send the message that every child should have the chance to be a kid in the safety of a loving family.”

In May, Barletta, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, participated in Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day by hosting Tasha Jenkins, a foster care alumnae, in his Washington, D.C. office.  Jenkins, who recently graduated from Bloomsburg University, spent part of the day attending congressional hearings with Barletta and meeting with his staff, and shared her personal story of growing up in the foster care system.

“Tasha’s powerful personal story about growing up in the foster care system really opened my eyes to the issues that thousands of foster youth face every day,” Barletta said.  “I’m thankful to have gotten to know her and hear her about her experiences.  It’s incredibly important that we continue to support solutions to improve foster care and find supportive families for the more than 400,000 young people in the system.”

The House passed five bills addressing the foster care system:

The Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act, H.R. 2847, maximizes the availability of support for older foster youth making the transition to adulthood by updating the Chafee Foster Care program, which provides assistance to youth who have aged out of foster care, from age 21 to 23.

The Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act, H.R. 2866, helps states identify ways to make it easier to place more children with relatives, rather than with foster parents.

The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act, H.R. 2742, reduces the time and cost of placing foster children across state lines with a family member, foster parent, or adoptive parent by requiring states to implement the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) system for exchanging information.

The Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act, H.R. 2834, strengthens regional partnership grants to more effectively help communities address the impacts of substance abuse on families.

The Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act, H.R. 2857, allows children to remain with a parent who is in a residential-based family substance abuse treatment facility to support parent-child bonding and reduce substance abuse relapses.

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SHINE Highlighted as Success at Congressional Hearing

2017/06/20

Rep. Barletta and his dog, Reilly, visiting with students from the SHINE afterschool program.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) recently joined with national experts on workforce development to highlight the success of the SHINE, or “Schools and Homes in Education,” afterschool program during a House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development hearing.  The hearing focused on the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was signed into law during the 113th Congress and contained provisions similar to Barletta’s America Works Act, H.R. 497, to encourage states and localities to prioritize federal spending on education and training.  Barletta discussed the role afterschool programs, like SHINE, play in helping students to succeed in school and develop the skills necessary to land jobs.

Louis M. Dubin, Chairman of the Maryland Governor’s Workforce Development Board and the main expert witness at the hearing, applauded SHINE’s efforts to connect students with technical and career experts.  SHINE is a successful educational program in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties that Barletta has championed.

“Congressman Barletta, the SHINE afterschool program in your district is an example of a rural afterschool partnership that is preparing our students for the future,” Dubin said.  “Partnering with the Carbon Career and Technical Institute and the Lehigh Carbon Community College, SHINE provides an innovative educational model by teaming technical experts with academic teachers and through hands on career projects connects students to math/science with a real world application.”

Barletta echoed Dubin’s praise, stating that, given its record of proven success, SHINE could be a model for other afterschool programs across the country.  Barletta stated that one of SHINE’s many strengths is connecting students with career and technical experts so that they are exposed to job opportunities at an early age.

“We all know that we must bridge the skills gap to help more of our constituents realize good-paying jobs and help our local businesses thrive,” Barletta said.  “This is good for our communities, and it’s good for America.  But I believe we must also work to remove the stigma that’s associated with non-traditional, technical careers.  Studies show that educating students about their options at a young age is central to this goal.”

Dubin pointed out that afterschool programs, such as SHINE, help students develop “soft skills,” or the personal attributes necessary to land and maintain jobs – something that Barletta said he often hears from employers in his district. 

“I had a local employer approach me just a couple of weeks ago and said he had 100 good-paying jobs, but cannot find people to fill them,” Barletta said.  “In fact, his biggest hurdle he said was getting people to pass the drug test.  And I hear this more and more often, and it is discouraging when there are so many people unemployed.  There are so many jobs that are available, and we know what we’ve got to do to teach the skills.  But I think somewhere we’ve got to go back to teach basic skills, like showing up to work on time.”

Dubin said that Maryland spends “considerable resources” helping students to develop soft skills, often called “employability skills,” which include punctuality, dependability, maintaining a positive attitude, and communication skills, among other attributes.

“Soft skills are important,” Dubin said.  “Not everyone had the advantage of growing up with people around them that taught them the things you need to be successful.  And so I’m also a big proponent of soft skills training, and we see those big success stories all the time because that little element of soft skills gives someone the ability to go and do an interview and get a job.”

Barletta has been consistently recognized for his work on behalf of afterschool programs, such as SHINE.  Last Congress, Barletta was instrumental in saving the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which provides nearly 50 percent of SHINE’s funding.  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. He was also named an “Afterschool Hero” by the Afterschool Alliance, and earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network named Barletta an Afterschool Champion for his commitment, dedication, and outstanding work on learning programs.

Click here to watch Congressman Barletta’s exchange with Mr. Dubin during the hearing.

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BARLETTA BULLETIN 6.19.17

2017/06/19

Tragedy struck this week when a gunman opened fire at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, wounding five people, including my colleague, Congressman Steve Scalise, two members of the Capitol Police, and both a current and former congressional aide.  This is the first year since I came to Congress in 2011 that I did not play in the Congressional Baseball Game.  I am still sickened by this horrific and senseless tragedy.  I commend the Capitol Police for their quick action in the face of danger.  Specifically, I thank Special Agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner for their courage to run toward the gunfire, saving lives and preventing a potential massacre.  These men and women, along with the first responders, are truly heroes – not just this past Wednesday, but every day.

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Barletta Announces Grant for Rare Earth Elements Pilot Program near Hazleton

2017/06/15

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded grant funding for a pilot program to extract Rare Earth Elements (REEs) from soil overburden from Jeddo Coal Company’s anthracite mining operation in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  The possibility of future, large-scale REEs production from anthracite coal could boost job creation and economic growth in northeastern Pennsylvania and present an opportunity for the U.S. to move away from its reliance on China for these minerals.

Barletta was the first member of Congress to send a letter in support of this pilot program.

“The Department of Energy’s studies have shown that the Appalachian coal fields throughout northeastern Pennsylvania contain some of the highest concentrations of Rare Earth Elements,” Barletta said.  “These elements are critical components of everyday electronics and equipment used in the health care, transportation, and defense industries.  With our abundance of anthracite, we have the potential to create and support good-paying jobs, not just in the coal industry, but in manufacturing and related industries that rely on these elements.”

REEs are a set of 17 metals found in the Earth’s crust.  Due to their unique chemical properties, REEs are used in the production of various high-tech products, including cell phones and computers, and are instrumental in U.S. defense weapons systems.  According to the American Chemistry Council, REEs support more than $329 billion of economic output in North America.

The U.S. gets 100 percent of its REEs supply from China, which currently produces more than 85 percent of the world’s REEs.

“It is critical for our national security that we turn to a domestic source of these minerals,” Barletta said.  “Our military should not have to rely on China or any other country for the resources necessary to keep us safe, especially when those resources are readily available right here in Pennsylvania.”

DOE awarded the $1 million grant to a consortium comprised of Penn State University, Texas Mineral Resources Corporation, Inventure Renewables, and K Technologies through the department’s “Production of Salable Rare Earth Element Materials from Coal and Coal By-Products” funding opportunity announcement. 

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Barletta Statement on Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

2017/06/14

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement in response to the shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA:

“This is the first year since I’ve been a member of Congress that I am not playing in the Congressional Baseball Game. While I am safe, I am sickened by this morning’s horrific shooting. My prayers are with my friend Steve Scalise, my colleagues, their staff, the local first responders, and the Capitol Police officers whose bravery saved lives.”

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House Passes Barletta’s Verify First Act

2017/06/13

​Click here to watch video of Barletta's floor remarks on the Verify First Act.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) to stop fraud in the distribution of health care tax credits and protect taxpayer dollars.  Barletta’s Verify First Act, H.R. 2581, prevents waste, fraud, and abuse by verifying a person’s eligibility for health care tax credits before they can receive those benefits.  The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 238-184 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“Every taxpayer dollar that goes to someone committing fraud is a dollar that is not going to help working families and those who truly need and deserve assistance,” Barletta said.  “My bill would fix this problem by verifying that an individual is legally entitled to taxpayer-funded benefits before those dollars go out the door.”

Under Obamacare, the federal government pays the Advanced Premium Tax Credits to people before first verifying that they qualify to receive those benefits.  If individuals cannot verify their legal immigration status, the Internal Revenue Service is forced to chase after the money.

This “pay and chase” model of distributing tax credits has significantly increased costs to taxpayers.  In fact, a 2016 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report revealed that, under Obamacare, $750 million in taxpayer-funded health care subsidies went to more than 500,000 people who did not qualify for those benefits.

Barletta’s bill would address this problem by simply requiring the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services to work together to verify first that an individual is a citizen, national, or legal immigrant before giving that individual the advanced health insurance premium tax credit.

“The American people expect that we are already doing this,” Barletta said.  “No business would give a refund without first verifying a receipt.  The federal government should be held to the same standard.”

Concerned about abuse of taxpayer dollars as Congress considered the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Barletta was able to secure a guarantee from President Donald J. Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan that the House would vote on the Verify First Act.  The bill is part of the multi-step process Congress is working through to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“I first raised this issue last year with the previous administration, and I am raising it again because there is no evidence that anything has been done to address it,” Barletta said.  Nobody wanted to take responsibility for mismanaging $750 million of taxpayer money.  Everyone pointed fingers at other people.  My bill holds people accountable.”

Consistent with current law, the Verify First Act requires the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to verify the eligibility of all applicants for Advance Premium Tax Credits.  Barletta’s bill simply requires verification to occur before money goes out the door.

The bill also includes protections to ensure that individuals who are legally entitled to these tax credits are not penalized if there is a delay in verifying their documents. 

NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Americans for Tax Reform, and Citizens Against Government Waste endorsed Barletta’s bill.

Additionally, the president issued a Statement of Administration Policy noting that he would sign Barletta’s bill into law.

Below is the text of Barletta’s floor remarks during consideration of the Verify First Act:

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and working with me on this issue.

I also thank leadership for recognizing this issue and working with me to fix the problem.

I’m proud to rise today in support of my bill, H.R. 2581, the Verify First Act.

My bill is intended to stop fraud in the distribution of health care tax credits and protect taxpayer dollars.

It’s simple: The American people expect that we are verifying that someone qualifies for taxpayer money before that money goes out the door.

This is about the federal government being good stewards of the money our constituents send to Washington.

Every federal dollar that goes to someone committing fraud is a dollar that is not going to a person who truly needs and deserves assistance.

No one should be allowed to commit fraud at the taxpayer’s expense.

No business would give a refund without first verifying a receipt.

Yet, this is exactly what is happening under our current health care system.

The law claims that taxpayer money will only go to people who qualify for it, yet no one is being held responsible for making sure that happens.

My bill does that.

Under current law, the federal government pays tax credits to individuals without first verifying that they qualify to receive them.

If individuals cannot verify their legal status, the IRS is then forced to chase after the money.

This “pay and chase” model of distributing tax credits has greatly increased costs to taxpayers.

A 2016 Senate report revealed that, under Obamacare, $750 million in taxpayer-funded health care subsidies went to people who did not qualify for those benefits.

We can fix this problem – and save time and money so that IRS agents are helping people instead of trying to recover improper payments – by verifying legal status first.

My bill simply requires the IRS to work with the relevant federal agencies to verify that an individual is a citizen, national, or lawfully present in the United States before tax credits go out the door. 

This can be done by verifying an applicant’s Social Security number or other immigration documents.

Again, the American people expect that we are already doing this.

Under my bill, everyone who applies for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit will be verified for legal status.

Most people won’t even know this is happening because the verification check is so quick.

My bill also includes protections to ensure that individuals who are legally entitled to these tax credits are not penalized if there is a delay in verifying their documents. 

I first raised this issue last year with the previous administration.

I am raising it again this year because there is no evidence that anything has been done to address it.

Nobody wanted to take responsibility for mismanaging $750 million of taxpayer money.

Everyone pointed fingers at other people.

My bill holds people accountable.

While I received assurances from the current administration that it would implement and follow a process to verify legal status, my bill would require it in law.

This issue is too important to be left to the changing positions of unelected federal bureaucrats.

The American people deserve to know that their representatives are doing everything in their power to protect taxpayer money.

The Verify First Act provides that certainty and upholds the integrity of the health insurance premium tax credit by putting an end to fraud and abuse.

I thank the co-sponsors of my bill for their support.

They include:

Diane Black, Mo Brooks, Jeff Duncan, Jimmy Duncan, Mike Kelly, Doug Lamborn, Mike McCaul, David McKinley, Kristi Noem, Jim Renacci, Mike Rogers, Lamar Smith, Jason Smith, GT Thompson, and Joe Wilson.

I am also including letters of support from NumbersUSA and FAIR, two groups that have been working with me to protect the interests of the American worker and legal immigrants.

Additionally, this legislation is supported by Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Tax Reform.

Finally, I am adding to the record that the president has issued a Statement of Administration Policy noting that he would sign this bill into law.

I strongly urge passage of my bill.

I yield back.

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TOMORROW: House to Vote on Barletta’s Verify First Act

2017/06/12

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow will vote on legislation introduced by Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) to stop fraud in the distribution of health care tax credits and protect taxpayer dollars.

Under Obamacare, the federal government pays the Advanced Premium Tax Credits to people before first verifying that they qualify to receive those benefits.  If individuals cannot verify their legal immigration status, the Internal Revenue Service is forced to chase after the money.

This “pay and chase” model of distributing tax credits has significantly increased costs to taxpayers.  In fact, a 2016 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report revealed that, under Obamacare, $750 million in taxpayer-funded health care subsidies went to more than 500,000 people who did not qualify for those benefits.

Barletta’s Verify First Act, H.R. 2581, would address this problem by simply requiring the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services to work together to verify first that an individual is a citizen, national, or legal immigrant before giving that individual the advanced health insurance premium tax credit.

“Every taxpayer dollar that goes to someone committing fraud is a dollar that is not going to help working families and those who truly need and deserve assistance,” Barletta said.  “My bill would fix this problem by verifying that an individual is legally entitled to taxpayer-funded benefits before sending that money out the door.  The American people expect that we are already doing this.  No business would give a refund without first verifying a receipt.  The federal government should be held to the same standard.”

Concerned about abuse of taxpayer dollars as Congress considered the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Barletta was able to secure a guarantee from President Donald J. Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan that the House would vote on the Verify First Act.  The bill passed the powerful House Ways and Means Committee on May 24, 2017, and is part of the multi-step process Congress is working through to repeal and replace Obamacare.

NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform endorsed Barletta’s bill.

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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


Barletta - Homeland Security Committee with Gen. John Kelly

2017-02-07 18:29:55


Barletta Pushes Infrastructure Investment in Transportation Hearing

2017-02-01 16:30:20


House Passes Barletta Bill to Enhance Fusion Centers, Improve Public Safety Communication

2017-01-31 20:12:41


Barletta Manages House Floor on Urban Search & Rescue

2016-12-07 20:25:55


Barletta - T&I

2016-09-14 19:08:05


Barletta T&I Subcommittee 7 6 16

2016-07-06 16:36:32


Barletta on the Floor Regarding Russian Energy

2016-06-16 15:53:19


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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