Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Barletta Applauds Opening of Office to Aid Victims of Illegal Immigration

2017/04/26

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today applauded the launch of an office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will provide services to people who have been victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens.  The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) was established by President Donald J. Trump’s executive order of January 25, 2017 (found here), which dealt with enforcing immigration laws in the interior of the country.  That executive order included provisions cutting-off certain federal grant funding to sanctuary cities, or jurisdictions which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or obey immigration law.

“One of the main reasons I ran for Congress was my frustration with the federal government’s refusal to enforce our existing immigration laws,” Barletta said.  “When I was mayor, Hazleton was overrun by illegal immigrants who brought with them gangs, drugs, identify theft, fraud, and other crimes.  I always heard that we have to have compassion for the person who comes here illegally, but no one speaks up for the victims of these crimes.  I had to sit with people who lost loved ones who were victims, and I have compassion for them.  I commend the Trump Administration for opening the VOICE office and standing up for victims and their families.”

The VOICE office will be housed under the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.  VOICE seeks to use a victim-centered approach to support victims and their families; promote awareness of available services to crime victims; and build collaborative partnerships with community stakeholders assisting victims.  ICE has established a toll-free hotline to triage calls and provide victims with support.  The number is 1-855-48-VOICE or 1-855-488-6423.

Another section of the same executive order cut off federal grants to sanctuary cities, an issue long championed by the congressman.  A federal district court judge in San Francisco yesterday issued a ruling temporarily blocking this portion of the executive order.  However, the ruling does not affect the administration’s ability to enforce existing laws, including those which withhold certain federal grant funding to sanctuary cities, nor does it impact the government’s ability to designate jurisdictions as “sanctuaries” or develop regulations governing such jurisdictions.

Barletta has authored legislation that would go even farther than the president’s executive orders.  Barletta has introduced the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, which will stop all federal funds from flowing to states or localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or flatly refuse to cooperate with immigration officials.  The bill 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.  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.  

“Sanctuary cities are dangerous to public safety and we should stop supporting them with federal tax dollars,” Barletta said.  “As a former mayor, I know that 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.  I am hopeful that the administration will appeal this misguided ruling, and in the meantime, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we enforce existing laws to keep Americans safe.” 

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Barletta Blasts Judge’s Ruling Temporarily Blocking President’s Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities

2017/04/25

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today faulted a federal district court judge’s ruling which temporarily blocks a portion of President Donald J. Trump’s executive order addressing sanctuary cities.  The judge in San Francisco granted a temporary injunction barring the administration from withholding federal grant money from sanctuary cities, or jurisdictions which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or obey immigration law.  However, the ruling does not affect the administration’s ability to enforce existing laws, including those which withhold certain federal grant funding to sanctuary cities, nor does it impact the government’s ability to designate jurisdictions as “sanctuaries” or develop regulations governing such jurisdictions.

“It is sadly ironic that an activist judge in San Francisco, the sanctuary city where Kate Steinle was murdered by a criminal illegal immigrant, would rule against the president’s executive order to protect Americans and cut off federal grant funding to these dangerous jurisdictions,” Barletta said.  “One of the federal government’s main responsibilities is to protect its citizens, and this misguided ruling runs completely counter to that responsibility.  It’s simple: If you accept federal money, you are accepting the responsibility to be accountable for following federal law.  It’s 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.”

Barletta has authored legislation that would go even farther than the president’s executive order.  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. 

“Sanctuary cities are dangerous to public safety and we should stop supporting them with federal tax dollars,” Barletta said.  “As a former mayor, I know that 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.  I am hopeful that the administration will appeal this misguided ruling, and in the meantime I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we enforce existing laws to keep Americans safe.”

 

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Barletta Provides Update on Status of Disaster Declaration Process

2017/04/10

WASHINGTON – In response to today’s announcement that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has requested a formal assessment of damage costs related to a recent snowstorm that crippled communities across northeastern Pennsylvania, Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) provided an update on the process for obtaining a presidential disaster declaration to release federal funds to affected municipalities.  Last Thursday, Barletta sent Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf a letter urging him to officially request that the president issue a major disaster declaration.  PEMA today began the process of requesting a presidential disaster declaration by requesting a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA), which is jointly conducted by local, state, and federal officials.  The PDA occurs prior to the governor’s request for a disaster declaration in order to determine the costs and damages caused by the snowstorm.  The information collected by the PDA will be included in the governor’s request to the president.

“As a former mayor, I know how hard it is for local communities operating on fixed budgets to recover financially from massive, unexpected snowstorms,” Barletta said.  “Since the storm hit, my office has been in communication with local officials across northeastern Pennsylvania, as well as representatives from the governor’s office and the president’s administration, to determine how the federal government can help municipalities recover damages.”

“By law, members of Congress cannot request that the president declare a disaster to release federal funds,” Barletta added.  “That request has to come from the governor, which is why I sent Governor Wolf a letter last week urging him to do so.  I am pleased that the process is moving forward with the preliminary damage assessment.  My office will remain engaged with local, state, and federal officials throughout this process to ensure that we make every effort to provide our communities with much needed relief.”

Explanation of Presidential Disaster Declaration Process

In 1988, Congress passed the Stafford Act to support state and local governments and their residents in the wake of disasters.  According to the Stafford Act, “All requests for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the Governor of the affected State.”

Prior to the governor’s request, it is standard protocol for state, local, and federal officials to conduct a PDA to estimate the extent of the disaster and its impact on individuals and public facilities.  The PDA team is comprised of personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), PEMA, county and local governments, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.  PEMA sets the schedule for when the joint PDA will commence and conclude, in coordination with the availability of local officials.  PEMA will work with local officials to schedule assessment meetings.  At these meetings, the PDA team will evaluate the types of damage and emergency costs incurred by local governments, the impact to public utilities, individuals, and businesses, and the costs associated with the storm.  This information will then be included in the governor’s request to the president for a major disaster declaration.

Barletta has requested that FEMA notify his office of requests from the Commonwealth for federal assistance.  Barletta also requested that PEMA notify his office of any conference calls regarding requests for federal disaster assistance, as well as PDA meeting times between local, state, and federal officials so that a representative from his office can attend.

 

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Barletta Reintroduces Bill to Protect Firefighters and Emergency Workers

2017/04/10

​Barletta Visiting the Back Mountain Regional Fire & EMS Company.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) recently introduced legislation – for the fifth time – to protect volunteer firefighters and emergency responders from the unintended consequences of Obamacare.  Barletta’s bill, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, H.R. 1991, ensures that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the Employer Mandate of Obamacare.  If volunteer fire companies were subject to the mandates of Obamacare, they could be liable for crippling new health care costs, causing many to shut down.  Due to Barletta’s efforts, in 2014 the IRS issued a ruling that exempted volunteer firefighters and emergency responders from the Employer Mandate.  Barletta has continued to fight to give first responders the certainty of a change in the law, ushering his bill through the House three times by a combined vote of 1,226-0.

“This is just another example of how Obamacare has failed our residents and added unnecessary financial burdens on our local communities,” Barletta said.  “Our volunteer firefighters have a hard enough time raising money needed for basic equipment.  There is no way that they could absorb the enormous cost of providing health care to their volunteers, who presumably have other jobs or receive their health care from another source.  It’s just another unintended consequence of a very bad law.”

Barletta’s bill is part of Congress’ ongoing efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.  The House passed Barletta’s first three bills by similar unanimous votes – first by 410-to-0 in March of 2014, then by 401-to-0 in January 2015, and finally by 415-to-0 in March 2016.  Each time the House passed the bill, it failed because the Senate stripped the language or added unrelated text.  Last Congress, the bill died in the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Public safety is too important to leave to the whims of unelected bureaucrats in Washington,” Barletta said.  “As it currently stands, the IRS could change its policy, which would strike a damaging blow to public safety.  This bill would give volunteer fire departments and local municipalities the certainty of law that they are not stuck with the choice between paying costly fines and shutting down.”

History of the Bill

Barletta was first alerted to the issue in 2013 during a parade in the 11th District by Robert Timko, a volunteer firefighter for the Fairview Township Fire Company, who also serves as Pennsylvania’s Delegate to the National Volunteer Fire Council.  Barletta then sent a letter to the IRS seeking the clarification regarding volunteer firefighters and their status under the Employer Mandate Provision contained in Obamacare, in which he wrote: 

“Forcing volunteer fire companies to comply with the Shared Responsibility Provision will not extend health insurance to the uninsured – rather it will close firehouses and place communities at risk.  Furthermore, subjecting volunteer fire companies to the Shared Responsibility Provision may force them to eliminate volunteers in order to avoid classification as a large employer.”

In 2014, after months of pressure from Barletta, other members of Congress, and firefighters, the IRS indicated that it will not count hours of volunteer firefighters and emergency responders when determining an employer’s full-time employees in compliance with Obamacare.  Barletta, however, has continued to pursue passage of his legislation as insurance against future changes from the IRS.

Prior to Barletta’s pressure, the IRS declined to indicate how it would classify hours of service for emergency volunteers under Obamacare, meaning that fire companies and municipalities could be forced to provide volunteers with health insurance or pay a fine.  Such a situation would saddle fire departments or municipalities with unbearable additional financial burdens, threatening their existence and endangering public safety. 

In Pennsylvania, 97-percent of all fire companies depend either entirely or mostly on volunteers.  Nationally, 87-percent of fire departments are exclusively or largely volunteer, according to the 2012 National Fire Department Census conducted by the U.S. Fire Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Under the Employer Mandate Provision of Obamacare, employers with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance or pay penalties.  If volunteers were ever considered employees, fire companies could exceed the 50 employee threshold in several different ways: a volunteer department by itself based on size; by being part of a combined, paid-volunteer firefighter department; or by being part of a municipality that has 50 or more public employees in total.

 

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Barletta Statement Regarding Syrian Missile Strikes

2017/04/07

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement in response to U.S. missile strikes at the Shayrat Airfield in Syria yesterday:

“President Trump took decisive action to send a message to the world that our nation will not stand by while a dictator brutally murders civilians, including women and children.  The targeted missile strikes on the airfield from where the Syrian government launched the gas attack were a necessary and proportionate response.  I fully support the president's move.”

 

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Construction Groups Present Barletta with 2017 Legislative Leadership Award

2017/04/07

WASHINGTON – Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), a group representing companies in the construction, mining, energy, forestry, power generation, agriculture, and industrial applications industries, yesterday awarded Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) with its 2017 Legislative Leadership Award.  Barletta was nominated because of his commitment to investing in our nation’s infrastructure, lowering taxes, eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens, and supporting career and technical education training.

“As someone who grew up in the road construction industry before starting my own line-painting business, I am honored to receive this award,” Barletta said.  “Our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, and AED members supply the equipment that will help to rebuild it.  But as I learned with my own company and as mayor of Hazleton, no small business or local government is going to hire workers, purchase million dollar pieces of equipment, and plan projects without long-term security in government contracts.  I am committed to making sure that members of both parties come together to find a sustainable funding source for transportation infrastructure investments.  Doing so will allow businesses to create jobs, boost our economy, and make America globally competitive again.

“The construction equipment industry has no stronger advocate in Congress than Lou Barletta,” AED President & CEO Brian McGuire said.  “Whether it’s pushing for increased infrastructure investment, promoting lower taxes on our country’s small businesses, leading efforts to roll back burdensome regulations, or seeking solutions to solve the nation’s skilled worker shortage, Congressman Barletta is always backing the interests of our industry and our country.”

As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Barletta has consistently pushed for a long-term transportation infrastructure funding plan, with a sustainable revenue stream to pay for it.  Barletta was a member of the conference committee that worked to finalize the FAST Act, a five-year, $305 billion transportation infrastructure funding bill passed in December 2015.  While Barletta said that the five-year duration of the bill was a good first step, he argued that Congress must prioritize finding a sustainable, dedicated funding source for a longer-term transportation plan.

 

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Barletta Discusses Importance of Long-Term Highway Bill in Transportation Hearing

2017/04/06

Click here to watch a video of Barletta speaking during the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing.

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) repeated his calls for a long-term transportation infrastructure bill, arguing that private industry and local governments need a reliable funding source to plan projects and hire workers.  Barletta made that case yesterday during a hearing held by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit examining the implementation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

“As most of my colleagues know, I grew up working in the road construction business,” Barletta said.  “That experience showed me how difficult it can be for state and local governments to move forward with projects when they are uncertain about future federal transportation spending.  And that uncertainty trickles down to private industry – my family would not hire more workers or purchase more equipment without knowing what the future might hold.”

The hearing featured representatives of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who agreed with Barletta that short-term transportation infrastructure funding impedes the ability of small businesses and local governments to plan and complete projects.

“From the transit agencies perspective, we do a very detailed, long-range financial plan – a 20-year financial plan that identifies all of our revenue and all of our expense,” Gary Thomas, President and Executive Director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, said.  “Our projects are very specific. We make sure that we know what we can build and when we can build them, and that we can operate and maintain them once we build them. Not having the certainty [of federal transportation funding] beyond 2020 prohibits us from that reliability of knowing what we can do in that 20 year plan. Long-range funding is certainly critical.”

Barletta has long made the case for a sustainable funding source for transportation infrastructure projects, arguing that he believes taxpayers will support a user fee to pay for improvements to roads and bridges as long as they know where the money will be spent.  And he maintains that money spent on transportation infrastructure projects goes directly into local economies and helps to create jobs.

“We need to find a sustainable funding source for infrastructure,” Barletta said.  “We can’t keep pulling these rabbits out of our hats in Washington.  We need a sustainable revenue stream.  I support a user fee as one way we can do that.”

Barletta was a member of the conference committee that worked to finalize the FAST Act, a five-year, $305 billion transportation infrastructure funding bill passed in December 2015.  While Barletta applauded the legislation as a good step in the right direction, he expressed disappointment that the bill was a missed opportunity to develop serious reforms in transportation funding.

 

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Barletta Urges Gov. Wolf to Request Disaster Relief Funding

2017/04/06

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to request that the president issue a major disaster declaration to help communities in northeastern Pennsylvania recover from a recent crippling snowstorm.  The storm, which dumped as much as 30 inches of snow in some places, forced local municipalities to exhaust much of their yearly budgets on snow removal efforts and emergency services.  Due to the fact that Pennsylvania counties reported storm-related costs totaling less than $18.2 million – the threshold needed for the state to request reimbursement funding from the federal government – local municipalities were left with massive holes in their budgets.  Barletta sent Wolf a letter asking him to officially request that the president issue a major disaster declaration to release federal funding.

“As you know, parts of northeastern Pennsylvania, including Luzerne, Wyoming, Montour, and Northumberland counties, which I represent, received more than 30 inches of snowfall,” Barletta wrote.  “The affected areas struggled to clear major roads and intersections, which prevented the movement of emergency vehicles and presented a major safety issue for residents.”

By law, members of Congress cannot request that the president issue a major disaster declaration.  That request must come from the governor of the affected state to the president.

“After speaking with local officials, including first responders, it is my understanding that the snowstorm was of such severity and magnitude that state and local resources are overwhelmed, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is unable to provide further assistance,” Barletta’s letter continued.  “Therefore, I believe it is imperative that you request that the president issue a major disaster declaration to bring much needed relief to these counties.”

Barletta also requested a meeting with the governor to further discuss this request.

Click here to read Barletta’s letter to Wolf.

 

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Barletta Calls on Education Secretary to Restore SHINE Funding

2017/03/31

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) recently sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting that the Trump Administration reconsider its proposal to eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program, which provides federal funding for afterschool programs such as SHINE.  Earlier this month, Barletta sent a letter to Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney calling on the administration to preserve federal funding for afterschool programs.  Barletta and state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) have been leading advocates for SHINE, or “Schools and Homes in Education,” which is a successful educational program in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties that receives nearly half of its funding from the 21st CCLC program.

“I write to express my unwavering support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program and for afterschool programming across the country,” Barletta wrote.  “I have seen firsthand the positive impact that this dedicated funding stream has had on students and their families, which is why I have consistently worked with my colleagues in the House to preserve its existence.  Therefore, I urge the Trump Administration, with your leadership, to reconsider its proposal to eliminate the 21st CCLC Program.”

SHINE is an afterschool program for students in grades kindergarten-eight that focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum.  The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning recently analyzed 75 studies of 68 afterschool programs and found that students showed improved behavior and performed better academically than students who did not participate in afterschool programs.  And according to a study from 2007 to 2012, of the 1,600 students who participated in SHINE during that period, 79 percent improved their academic performance; 96 percent advanced to the next grade; and 92 percent had exceptionally good or satisfactory attendance.

This is not the first time that the 21st CCLC program has been slated for elimination.  Beginning in February 2015, Barletta began working to save the program after an early version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization eliminated it.  As a result of Barletta’s efforts, the 21st CCLC program was reauthorized on a bipartisan basis under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

“When you awaken the minds of young children with hope and possibility of what their futures can be, there’s not stopping them,” Barletta said.  “That’s what afterschool programs achieve, and we must work to clear the way for more students to be successful."

Barletta has been recognized for his work on behalf of afterschool programs, such as SHINE.  Last year, Barletta was the only House member to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association, due to his leadership in saving federal funding for after-school programs.  He was also named an “Afterschool Hero” by the Afterschool Alliance for his strong support and work on learning programs.  And the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network named him an Afterschool Champion for his commitment, dedication, and outstanding work on learning programs.

Click here to view the letter to Secretary DeVos.

 

 

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Barletta Claims Victory for Common-Sense Motor Carrier Safety Reform

2017/03/31

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today declared victory in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement that it is withdrawing the Obama Administration’s flawed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule.  Barletta worked to delay the rule, which would have been based on a flawed safety program, and has led efforts to reform the safety score program.  The withdrawal of the Obama rule does not remove motor carrier safety scores.  Rather, it allows a Congressionally-mandated reform of the safety score program to continue, leading to a more accurate safety score calculation.

“This is a win for common sense and the need for an accurate method of gauging the safety of motor carriers,” Barletta said.  “I thank Secretary Chao for withdrawing the misguided SFD rule and allowing the safety program reform process Congress set forth to continue.  As a father of four and grandfather of six, I worry every day about the safety of my family when they’re out on the roads.  I strongly believe that unsafe vehicles should not be out there creating hazards.  That’s why I’ve been fighting for the best possible rule.”

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 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (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 before the Congressionally-mandated reforms were completed.  The withdrawal of the Obama rule means that Congress will put forth reforms that more accurately reflect a company’s safety record.

 

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Contact Information

115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6511
Fax 202-225-0764
barletta.house.gov

Representative Louis J. Barletta proudly represents his hometown of Hazleton and the people of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. He began his second term on January 3, 2013.

Representative Barletta was first sworn in on January 5, 2011. He immediately started serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which plays a critical role in the economic development of and job growth in Northeastern and South Central Pennsylvania, and the Education and Workforce Committee, which focuses on how our nation can improve its educational system so we have competitive, qualified workers in the future.

He remains on these committees during his second term in office.  Additionally, Rep. Barletta was appointed Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Also for his second term, Rep. Barletta was assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security, which was established in 2002 to provide congressional oversight for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack. The committee has jurisdiction over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), and the U.S. Coast Guard; border security programs including efforts to achieve operational control of the border; and border smuggling and trafficking of drugs, humans, currency, weapons and other illicit materials. The committee also has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport security, and more.

Illegal immigration is a very important subject for Representative Barletta, who first tackled the problem when he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Lou Barletta was the first mayor in the country to introduce and sign into law local ordinances cracking down against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. He has since become a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration.

During his first term in Congress, Representative Barletta formed the 112th Class Immigration Reform Caucus, which brings together members of the historic 2011-12 “freshmen” class. Representative Barletta chairs this caucus as it examines solutions to the country’s illegal immigration problems.

Also during his first term, Representative Barletta used his position on the Small Business Committee to fight to reduce the interest rate charged on certain Small Business Administration disaster recovery loans after massive flooding devastated the 11th District in September 2011.

Born and raised in Hazleton, Representative Barletta majored in elementary education as a student at Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University). He left school to try out for a Major League Baseball team, but was released when the team’s management discovered he couldn’t hit a curve ball.

After he returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania, he and his wife Mary Grace started a business together. For $29.95, the Barlettas formed a line-painting business. Through hard work and perseverance, they grew that business into the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within five years. They eventually grew it to be the sixth-largest business of its kind in the entire nation.

As a small business owner, Representative Barletta saw how government regulation and taxes could affect the bottom line. Even though he had very little interest in politics, he decided to run for a slot on Hazleton City Council. He was first elected to council in 1998, then was elected mayor in 2000.

Despite inheriting a massive budget shortfall, he was able to turn around the City of Hazleton with tough, fiscally responsible decisions. This turnaround earned statewide praise and recognition.

In addition, his leadership on the issue of illegal immigration in Hazleton garnered national attention. By ever-increasing margins of victory, Representative Barletta was elected mayor three times.

In September 2004, Representative Barletta was appointed by the White House to serve on the United Nation Advisory Committee of Local Authorities as the representative of the United States of America.

In November 2010, Representative Barletta was elected to Congress on his third attempt. He was re-elected in November 2012.

Lou and Mary Grace are the parents of four daughters: Kelly, April, Lindsey, and Grace. They also have one grandson, Gabriel Louis; and one granddaughter, Madeleine Grace.


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