Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta


Barletta Congratulates Winner of Congressional Art Competition


Taylor Herron, a student at Crestwood High School in Mountain Top, is the 2016 winner of the Congressional Art Competition for her acrylic painting “Colorful Pair.” She is pictured with Rep. Barletta and her mother, Tiffany Herron.


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today welcomed Taylor Herron, a student at Crestwood High School in Mountain Top, to his Capitol Hill office and congratulated her for winning the 2016 Congressional Art Competition for Pennsylvania’s 11th District.  Herron’s work, an acrylic painting of two ducks titled “Colorful Pair,” will hang in the U.S. Capitol for the next year alongside winners from all other Congressional districts.

“I told Taylor that when it comes to being an artist, you either have it or you don’t, and Taylor clearly has it,” Barletta said.  “Each year I am amazed by the level of artistic talent we have our part of Pennsylvania.  Every day I walk through the hallway where all of the artwork hangs, and it’s truly inspiring to see how skilled our young people really are.”

The Congressional Art Competition was begun by the House of Representatives in 1982 as an annual contest in which high school students are invited to showcase their artistic abilities.  Entrants must reside in the Congressional district in which they enter and works are considered by a panel of area judges.  Each Congressional district is represented by one winner.


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Barletta Statement: Supreme Court Blocks Obama Executive Amnesty


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued a statement regarding a 4-4 deadlocked Supreme Court on the case of U.S. v. Texas, leaving standing a lower court ruling that blocked President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants as unconstitutional.  The divided court leaves in place the ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that Obama’s blanket executive actions in November of 2014 violated the separation of powers as laid out in the Constitution. 

The case stems from 26 states which sued to block the Obama actions, which involved his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs.  Barletta had signed onto an amicus brief in support of the states.

Barletta led the fight to defund the president’s illegal executive amnesty plans through the passage of an appropriations bill that would have cut funding, largely through an amendment Barletta co-authored, had the bill been signed into law.  The House approved the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with the key amendment known as the Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta Amendment.  The House also adopted additional amendments Barletta supported, including one which stops the president’s DACA program, which has abused the practice of prosecutorial discretion on immigration enforcement. 

Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta Amendment

The lead amendment to the DHS appropriations bill was the one authored by Rep. Barletta, Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-4), and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5).  It was the Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta amendment which would have specifically defunded President Obama’s executive amnesty. 

The Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta amendment addressed the Obama executive amnesty by:

  • Preventing any funds from any source from being used to carry out the executive actions the president announced on November 20, 2014.
  • Preventing any funds from any source from being used to carry out the so-called “Morton Memos,” which directed immigration officers to ignore broad categories of illegal immigrants.
  • Declaring that no funds may be used to carry out any policies that are substantially similar to the ones being defunded.
  • Declaring that the policies being defunded have no basis in federal law or the Constitution and therefore have no legal effect.
  • Preventing any funds from being used to provide federal benefits to illegal immigrants intended to be impacted by the president’s executive amnesty.

Barletta’s statement is as follows:

“This is tremendous news for the rule of law and a reaffirmation that the people of the United States don’t elect a king – they elect a president and a Congress, each with its own role to play.  From the very beginning, we knew that President Obama had overstepped his authority by granting blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.  This fight is not over, as many of his earlier immigration actions are still in place.

“Obama said it himself at least 22 times: he does not have the legal authority to do what he eventually did, which was to grant amnesty to people who have willfully broken our immigration laws to be present in this country.  Perhaps now the president has gotten the message: just because Congress doesn’t do what you want doesn’t mean you get to do it by yourself.  Congress can speak by refusing to pass a law as well.

“We have immigration laws in this country for two main reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs.  The president’s actions violated both of those principles and were unconstitutional on top of it all.”

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Barletta Backs Health Care Relief for Small Business Employees


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today backed the passage of legislation he co-sponsored that will restore the ability of small businesses to reimburse their employees for the costs of health insurance premiums or other medical expenses.  This financial assistance, previously provided under Health Reimbursement Agreements (HRAs), was prohibited by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, H.R. 5447, co-sponsored by Barletta, passed the House of Representatives by voice vote.  It now heads to the Senate for its consideration.

“For decades, small businesses in Pennsylvania and across America had been providing reimbursements to their employees to offset the costs of health insurance and other medical expenses, but Obamacare did away with all that,” Barletta said.  “I have met with many employers from my district who asked that we restore their ability to actually be able to help their employees pay for health care again, and tailor their plans to their own families’ needs.”

Under the authority of Obamacare, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance in 2013 that outlawed HRAs because they were inconsistent with the requirements of group health care plans.  Employers who continued to provide the benefit were subject to fines of $100 per day per employee, or as much as $36,500 per worker over the course of a year.  This legislation overturns that guidance and allows businesses with fewer than 50 employees to once again provide HRAs, using pre-tax dollars for the purchase of health insurance plans – on or off the exchange – or other medical expenses.   

“Here’s another case where the flimsy Obama promise of ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan’ turned out to be a falsehood,” Barletta said.  “Employers and employees were perfectly happy getting their health insurance with these reimbursements, so now we have to go in and clean up another mess made by Obamacare.”

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UPDATED - Barletta Statement Regarding Obama Release of Censored Orlando 911 Calls


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued a second statement regarding the Obama Administration’s release of censored transcripts of the 911 calls placed by the shooter in the Orlando terrorist attack.  Following widespread criticism of its redacted release, the Department of Justice has reversed its earlier decision and released transcripts that include the shooter’s references to his motives and his pledge of allegiance to the Islamic terror organization ISIS.  Those references had been scrubbed in the initial transcripts released by the administration. 

Barletta’s updated statement is as follows:

“Releasing the uncensored transcripts is absolutely the right call, but something that really should have been done in the first place.  There is no reason to dance around the issue – we are at war with radical Islamic terrorists, for the simple reason that they have declared war on us.  Selective censorship of the transcripts only serves to send a message that we are unsure about identifying the enemy, when they have so clearly identified us.”

Prior to the Obama Administration reversal, Barletta had originally released the following statement:

“We already know that President Obama is reluctant to give name to the threat that is Islamic terrorism, but now we see that he is also censoring the basic facts of this most recent terror attack.  We have long feared that political correctness has been hampering our nation’s response to terror threats, and now it is being taken a step further by preventing Americans from having a clear picture of what happened in Orlando and why.  The president should release the full transcripts so that there can be no sugarcoating exactly what we are up against as a nation.”     

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Barletta Statement Regarding Obama Release of Censored Orlando 911 Calls


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued a statement regarding the Obama Administration’s release of censored transcripts of the 911 calls placed by the shooter in the Orlando terrorist attack.  In the released transcripts, the shooter’s references to his motives and his pledge of allegiance to the Islamic terror organization ISIS have been scrubbed.  Those deleted proclamations by the shooter have already been widely publicized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and many members of the news media.

Barletta’s statement is as follows:

“We already know that President Obama is reluctant to give name to the threat that is Islamic terrorism, but now we see that he is also censoring the basic facts of this most recent terror attack.  We have long feared that political correctness has been hampering our nation’s response to terror threats, and now it is being taken a step further by preventing Americans from having a clear picture of what happened in Orlando and why.  The president should release the full transcripts so that there can be no sugarcoating exactly what we are up against as a nation.”     

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Barletta Defense Amendment Rejects Russian Energy, Promotes PA Coal


Click here or on image for video of Rep. Barletta arguing against purchasing energy from Russia for U.S. military installations.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today successfully amended the Defense Appropriations bill to prevent U.S. military installations, regardless of their locations, from purchasing energy from Russia, thereby aiding Pennsylvania coal producers and employees.  Barletta led debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, arguing that Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin has a history of using his energy reserves to gain political influence over other nations, and that the U.S. armed forces should not be subjected to similar pressure.  The amendment passed the House by voice vote.  The entire Defense Appropriations bill passed the House by a vote of 282-to-138.

“Time and again, we have seen Vladimir Putin use Russian energy to assert his political will over the rest of the world,” Barletta said.  “In fact, just a few months ago, the European Union announced that they were seeking alternatives to Russian natural gas imports in order to avoid a repeat of 2006 and 2009, when Russian suppliers cut off the gas shipped through Ukraine, leaving much of Western Europe to succumb to winter’s freezing temperatures.” 

Barletta’s amendment benefits coal workers in Pennsylvania, since some U.S. military bases, such as one in Kaiserslautern, Germany, use anthracite coal for fuel.  

“I think we can all agree that we don’t want our American servicemen and women to be left out in the cold,” Barletta said.  “By ensuring our military does not rely on the Russian Federation to supply the heating and energy needs of our military bases, we can provide certainty and security for the brave individuals protecting our freedom.”

Barletta has consistently fought for the interests of Pennsylvania anthracite coal.  On Wednesday of this week, Barletta vigorously opposed another amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that removed language that required the U.S. military base in Kaiserslautern to use at least one American energy source for heat and power.  That amendment unfortunately succeeded, which prompted Barletta to pursue his own amendment barring the purchase of energy from Russia. 

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Pipeline Safety Bill with Barletta Amendment Signed into Law


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today hailed the signing of pipeline safety legislation into law, noting that it included his language that protects the ability of states to use their own pipeline inspectors when dealing with federal agencies.  President Obama has signed S. 2276, the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act, which reauthorizes the pipeline safety program administered by the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). 

“In Pennsylvania, our Public Utility Commission has been trying to arrange an agreement under which we could use our own pipeline inspectors, instead of relying on regional federal inspectors who are not as available or accessible,” Barletta said.  “This legislation allows Pennsylvania and other states better flexibility in keeping pipelines safe.”

The Barletta language involves the use of interstate agent agreements between states and PHMSA, which regulates the safety of pipelines at the federal level.  The agency is responsible for ensuring safety in the design, construction, testing, operation, and maintenance of pipelines.  It is more beneficial for states to be able to use their own networks of pipeline inspectors, since PHMSA has only five regional offices to serve the entire country.  Many states, including Pennsylvania, want to be able to use their own resources to protect pipeline safety, which requires interstate agent agreements with PHMSA.  

Barletta’s language:

  • Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study interstate agent agreements to examine their benefits. 
  • Requires an explanation from PHMSA if the agency denies a state’s request for an interstate agreement.

Pennsylvania is home to thousands of miles of pipeline, with many more thousands of miles needing to be built to transport Marcellus Shale natural gas.  In total, the United States has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world, with some 2.6 million miles of pipelines transporting 64 percent of the energy commodities used in the country.

The overall PIPES Act:

Improves safety by closing gaps in federal standards

  • Requires PHMSA to set federal minimum safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities, and allows states to go above those standards for intrastate facilities.
  • Authorizes emergency order authority that is tailored to the pipeline sector, taking into account public health and safety, network, and customer impacts.
  • Updates regulations for certain liquefied natural gas facilities to better match changing technology and markets and take into account national security considerations.
  • Increases inspection requirements for certain underwater oil pipelines to enhance safety.
  • Ensures that pipeline operators receive timely post-inspection information from PHMSA to allow them to maintain and improve their safety efforts, and ensures that product composition information is quickly provided to first responders after an incident.
  • Improves protection of coastal areas, marine coastal waters, and the Great Lakes by explicitly designating them as unusually environmentally sensitive to pipeline failures.

Enhances the quality and timeliness of PHMSA rulemakings

  • Requires PHMSA to update Congress every 90 days on outstanding statutory mandates, including the status of each mandate, reasons for its incompletion, and estimated completion date.
  • Requests two Government Accountability Office (GAO) studies on the effectiveness of integrity management programs for both natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines.

Promotes better use of data and technology to improve pipeline safety

  • Tasks GAO with investigating how to use technology to improve third-party damage prevention (a leading cause of releases).
  • Requires GAO to study the latest innovations in pipeline materials, corrosion prevention technology, and training.
  • Creates a working group of PHMSA, states, industry stakeholders, and safety groups to develop recommendations on how to create an information sharing system to improve safety outcomes.
  • Authorizes PHMSA to study the feasibility of a national integrated pipeline safety database to have a clearer picture of federal and state safety oversight efforts.

Leverages federal and state pipeline safety resources

  • Authorizes states to participate in interstate pipeline inspections.
  • Provides tools to enhance PHMSA’s efforts to hire pipeline safety personnel.
  • Requires the DOT Inspector General to study staff resource constraints and make recommendations to Congress to address PHMSA’s hiring challenges and training needs.
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Barletta Statement Regarding Ozone Standards Legislation


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted in favor of H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act, which supplies states with tools to meet the demands of air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The bill addresses the problems states anticipate in meeting standards set in 2015, when they are still struggling to comply with strict standards set in 2008.  The legislation allows states enough time to meet the new levels so that they are not effectively implementing two stringent ozone standards at once.  H.R. 4775 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 234-to-177.

Barletta issued the following statement:

“As the father of four and grandfather of three, I care very much about the quality of our air, for the sake of my own family and everyone else’s.  I also care about the ability of states and employers to meet the standards the EPA has imposed.  Ozone levels are down by one-third since 1980, but that hasn’t stopped regulators from imposing new standards even before the old ones have been met.  This legislation provides space for businesses to meet the ozone levels without job-killing costs that would further stifle our already sluggish economy.”  

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Barletta Bulletin 6.6.16


Honoring Those Who Made The Ultimate Sacrifice

As we reflect on the Memorial Day holiday that just passed, it is worth noting again that we all enjoy our freedoms as Americans because of the service of the men and women of our armed forces, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  To paraphrase General George S. Patton, it is one thing to mourn our military dead, but it is much better to thank God that such heroes lived in the first place.  We should remember our service men and women every day – not just on a special holiday – so let us all give thanks to those who laid down their lives so that the rest of us may live in freedom in the greatest nation the world has ever known.

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Barletta Awards Medals for Carlisle Veteran Killed in WWII



Rep. Barletta presents medals to Gary Shearer, son of World War II veteran Cpl. Lester Michael Shearer,

who was killed in action in Italy in 1945.


CARLISLE – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today presented posthumous, long-overdue medals to the family of World War II veteran Cpl. Lester Michael Shearer, who was killed in action in Italy on March 24, 1945.  Cpl. Shearer was awarded a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantry Badge 1st Award.  Barletta’s office secured the medals from the U.S. Army on behalf of Shearer’s son, Gary Shearer, who was only two years old at the time of his father’s death at the age of 29. 

“As a nation, we have just observed Memorial Day, which is a day we set aside to honor American war heroes who sacrificed everything for our freedoms, just like Cpl. Lester Shearer did more than half a century ago,” Barletta said.  “To paraphrase Gen. George S. Patton, it is one thing to mourn our military dead, but it is better to thank God that such heroes lived in the first place.”

Cpl. Shearer entered the Army on December 19, 1942 and had been granted a 10-day furlough from Camp Fort Story, Virginia in late 1943 to visit his wife and new son.  He was serving with the 11th Armored Infantry Battalion, 1st Armored Division when he was killed in 1945.  He is buried at the American Cemetery in Florence, Italy. 

Cpl. Shearer’s military records may have been among documents destroyed by a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in Overland, Missouri.  The fire consumed many Army records spanning the years 1912 through 1959, and Air Force records for personnel with surnames Hubbard through Z for the years 1947 through 1963.  Barletta’s office frequently assists veterans and their families piece together enough information to apply for a reissuance of medals earned in service.

“Cpl. Shearer never came home from the war, but his sacrifice should never be forgotten,” Barletta said.  “Presenting these medals is but a small way we can honor his memory, for we owe him and his fellow American heroes a debt we cannot ever fully repay.”

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Contact Information

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

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

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Scott Perry


Glenn Thompson


Ryan Costello


Patrick Meehan


Mike Fitzpatrick


Bill Shuster


Tom Marino


Keith Rothfus


Charlie Dent


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