Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta


Barletta Votes to Empower Small Businesses and Workers through Association Health Plans


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for The Small Business Health Fairness Act, H.R. 1101, which empowers small businesses to pool together through association health plans and provide their employees with affordable health benefits.  The bill, which passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 236-175, is part of the multi-step process Congress is taking to repeal and replace Obamacare with a mix of legislative and regulatory action to drive down costs and increase choice for consumers.

“Small businesses have been hit especially hard by Obamacare’s flawed mandates, soaring costs, and limited choices,” Barletta said.  “Association health plans are an important part of our ongoing efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with free market solutions.  This bill will help employers provide their workers with affordable, quality health insurance.

Due to their size, large businesses and labor organizations have the ability to negotiate lower costs for high-quality health care for their employees.  Small businesses are unable to band together to achieve the same bargaining power.  The Small Business Health Fairness Act, H.R. 1101, places small businesses on a more level playing field with larger organizations by allowing them greater ability to negotiate for lower health care costs for their employees.

In a recent House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on employer-based health care reforms, Barletta stressed that Congress should continue to consider innovative solutions to lower coverage costs, such as empowering small businesses to pool together across state lines.  President Obamacare’s health care law largely took this this option away from employers in Pennsylvania, making it harder for small businesses to secure coverage for their workers.  For example, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau once offered an association health plan to almost half of their farmers, until Obamacare prohibited them from continuing to do so.  This ultimately raised the cost of coverage for many hard-working famers and their families.

As the process to repeal and replace Obamacare moves forward, Barletta will continue to support policies that lower the cost of health care for hard-working Americans and their families.

Click here to watch Barletta speak at the recent House Education and the Workforce Committee Hearing.


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Barletta Announces New Communications Team


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced two new additions to his team.  Jon Anzur has been named Communications Director and Katherine Sears has joined the office as Press Assistant.

“These are important times facing our nation and Pennsylvania’s 11th District,” Barletta said.  “We are better positioned now than ever to achieve positive results for the American people, and I am confident that Jon and Katherine will help me in those efforts.”

A native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Anzur previously worked in Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Office of Public Liaison and as a member of the Pennsylvania House Republican Communications Department.  Sears, who holds an advanced degree in political communications from American University, formerly managed international student programs for her alma mater. 

Both Anzur and Sears will be based in Barletta’s Washington, DC office and can be reached at (202) 225-6511.


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Barletta Secures Win against Illegal Immigration in Meeting with President, Speaker of the House


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement after meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald J. Trump last evening.  They discussed Barletta’s concerns that illegal immigrants would receive tax credits under the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Barletta stated Monday that he would vote against the bill unless his concerns were addressed.

“Millions of Americans can no longer afford health insurance under Obamacare, while at the same time, three-quarters of a billion dollars in Obamacare subsidies have been given to illegal immigrants,” Barletta said.   “President Trump and Speaker Ryan agreed with me last night that this is wrong and must be fixed.  The president gave his full support to legislation I will introduce to deny health care tax credits to illegal immigrants, and the speaker promised to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote. Because my concerns were met, I will vote for the bill with the understanding that my bill will receive full consideration on the House floor next month.”

A Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report issued last year revealed that, under Obamacare, a half a million illegal immigrants received $750 million in health care subsidies.  Barletta’s bill will address this problem by requiring applicants for health care tax credits to provide valid social security numbers, which will be verified by the Social Security Administration, before they receive tax credits.


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Barletta Introduces Bill to Deny Health Care Tax Credits to Illegal Immigrants


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today introduced his bill to deny health care tax credits to illegal immigrants and ensure that Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars go only to those with valid social security numbers.  Barletta’s bill, the Verify First Act, H.R. 1671, is the result of a meeting he had with President Donald J. Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, during which Barletta stated that he would not vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) without provisions to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving federal health benefits.  Barletta announced that he will vote for the AHCA only after securing a guarantee from the president and the speaker that the House will vote on his bill.

“Since my time as mayor of Hazleton, I have fought to secure our borders and fix our broken immigration system,” Barletta said.  “In order to stop illegal immigration, we need to end the practice of giving benefits to those who unlawfully enter our country.  It is an outrage that a half a million illegal immigrants received three-quarters of a billion dollars in Obamacare payments, while American workers and families were priced out of their health care plans due to Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums.  My bill will protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that no tax credits are given to illegal immigrants.”

Barletta’s Verify First Act requires the Treasury Department to verify individuals’ social security numbers with both the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security before issuing health insurance premium tax credits.  Barletta has been working to garner support for his bill, which the House will consider as part of the multi-step process to repeal and replace Obamacare.

A Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report issued last year revealed that, under Obamacare, a half a million illegal immigrants received $750 million in health care subsidies.  During a House Committee on Education and the Workforce Committee meeting last year, Barletta sharply questioned former Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell about the Obama Administration’s policy of handing out hundreds of millions of dollars to people who cannot prove they are in the United States legally.

You can watch Barletta’s questioning of former Secretary Burwell here.


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Barletta Requests Update on Status of Law to Help Opioid-Addicted Babies


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) recently joined Congressman Evan Jenkins (WV-3) in writing a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price requesting an update on provisions signed into law last year to protect babies born addicted to opioids.  In response to a Reuters report that most states are failing to comply with a federal law requiring them to establish safe care plans for babies born addicted to opioids, Barletta introduced the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act, which requires that states receiving federal funds for child protective services comply with federal law and enact certain guidelines for the welfare of children exposed to opioids. 

“I consistently hear about the opioid epidemic when I am home in Pennsylvania,” Barletta said.  “No segment of our community is safe from the scourge of opioid addiction.  Sadly, that includes babies who are born addicted.  “Every 25 minutes in this country, a baby is born having already been exposed to drugs and suffering from opioid withdrawal.  I am proud to have worked on legislation that will help bring so many lives back from the brink of disaster, particularly those of the most vulnerable amongst us, and I thank Rep. Evan Jenkins for his commitment to ensuring it is implemented in a timely and effective manner.”

“Since day one, I have worked to make sure that newborns impacted by the drug crisis have a chance at a healthy and happy start to life,” Jenkins said.  “That includes safe care plans, which ensure that states are monitoring the welfare and wellbeing of these vulnerable babies.  Since some states are failing to comply with these requirements, it’s imperative that we continue to hold them accountable.  I am proud to work on this issue with Rep. Lou Barletta, a tireless champion on the issue of safe care plans for newborns.  All children deserve a safe environment where they can thrive and grow.”

Barletta’s bill aims to hold states accountable by:

  • Requiring the department of Health and Human Services to review and confirm that states have put in place policies required under the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
  • Strengthening protections for infants born with illegal substance exposure by clarifying the intent of safe care plans.
  • Improving accountability related to the care of infants and their families by requiring additional information on the incidents of infants born with illegal substance exposure and their care.
  • Providing states with best practices for developing plans to keep infants and their caregivers healthy and safe.
  • Encouraging the use of information made available through other child welfare laws in verifying CAPTA compliance.

The letter to Sec. Price requests that HHS provide an update on the department’s implementation of these provisions. 

“I was happy to see members from both parties come together to pass these commonsense reforms,” Barletta said.  “This law will help to ensure that children, mothers, and their families have the help they need and the care they deserve.  I look forward to working with the administration to continue fighting against the problem of opioid addiction.”

Click here to view the letter as a PDF.


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Barletta Cannot Support American Health Care Act in Current Form


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement in regard to the American Health Care Act:

Obamacare is destroying our health care system.  The monstrosity of a health care law failed the American people by throwing them off their preferred plans, eliminating access to their favorite doctors, and sending premiums and deductibles through the roof.  In fact, the average premium in Pennsylvania increased by 32 percent this year, and in some corners premiums rose as much as 53 percent.  That level of cost increase is unsustainable.

I remain as committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare as I was on the day I came to Congress.  We must find an alternative that allows consumers to choose their plans, drives down costs, and ensures that Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars are properly distributed only to American citizens. 

Unfortunately, after evaluating the text of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), I cannot support the bill in its current form.  I am concerned that the bill lacks sufficient safeguards for verifying whether or not an individual applying for health care tax credits is lawfully in this country and eligible to receive them.  Under Obamacare, a half a million people received a total of $750 million in health care subsidies, even though the recipients could not prove their lawful presence in the United States.  I cannot vote for a replacement plan that fails to address this problem.

I came to Congress to stop illegal immigration.  I would have a hard time explaining to families in the 11th District – many of whom are still struggling to put food on the table and foot the costs of their own health care bills – why they should be helping to pay for the health expenses of someone who broke the law to get here and has no right to those federal dollars.  The repeal and replacement of Obamacare will be a multi-phase process, but until my concerns are met, I cannot at this point support the bill.


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Barletta Faults Court Rulings Temporarily Blocking Trump’s Executive Order


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today faulted two federal district court rulings temporarily blocking President Donald J. Trump’s executive order suspending travel to the United States from six countries with strong connections to terrorism. The ruling was made only a few hours before the order was slated to go into effect.  The judges cited Trump’s campaign rhetoric as grounds that the order violates the Establishment Clause, claiming that remarks made during the presidential election campaign “betray the executive order’s stated secular purpose.”  This standard of judges using campaign rhetoric to overturn policy is inconsistent with past court decisions, notably the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2012 upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare on the basis that the individual mandate is a tax.

“If campaign rhetoric is a low enough bar to strike down policy, then the Supreme Court should have struck down Obamacare simply because the Obama campaign repeatedly insisted that the individual mandate was not a tax,” Barletta said.  “Instead, the Supreme Court upheld the entirety of the law based on the fact that the individual mandate is a tax.  I’m confident that if this case reaches the Supreme Court, the justices will apply the same standard to overturn this misguided ruling.”

Trump’s executive order, which was to take effect today, would have temporarily suspended immigration from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan, all of which the Obama Administration identified as hotbeds of terrorism.  The order also would have suspended the refugee program for 120 days, explicitly exempting individuals with green cards and visas, and removed all preferences for religious minorities.

“In no way can the order be construed as a ban on any particular religion,” Barletta said.  “There are approximately 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world, and this order affects six of them.  President Trump pulled these six nations from a list created by the Obama Administration identifying terrorist havens.  In fact, the United States does not even have an embassy in four of these six countries.”

“The Trump Administration clearly tailored this new executive order to previous court rulings so that it could pass legal muster,” Barletta added.  “To say that this order intends to accomplish anything other than protecting the American people is to put ideology in front of national security.”  


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Barletta Leads Hearing on Importance of Emergency Preparedness Grants


​Click on the above photo to view footage of Rep. Barletta during today's hearing

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today led a hearing on the effectiveness of emergency preparedness grant programs that allow communities to identify and respond to disasters.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Barletta discussed the role these grants play in helping communities save lives, property, and resources when dealing with threats to public safety.

“As a former mayor, I know all too well what it means to be a good neighbor and how critical help from your surrounding communities can be in times of emergency,” Barletta said.  “No single community can handle every disaster on its own, and no community can afford all of the equipment and personnel to handle every disaster.  National preparedness grants make it possible for mutual aid between communities and across our country.”

Barletta specifically highlighted the Nonprofit Security Grant (NSG) Program, which is helping Jewish Community Centers (JCC’s) across the country to combat the recent wave of bomb threats.

“The threats we are seeing at Jewish communities across the country are outrageous and unacceptable,” Barletta said.  “This is domestic terrorism and the full force of the law needs to be brought against the perpetrators.”

Michael Feinstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, and William Daroff, Senior Vice President for Public Policy of the Jewish Federations of North America, testified that NSG grants have been instrumental in helping JCC’s respond to bomb threats.

“These funds have been critical for us,” Feinstein said.  “These grants make a tremendous difference for our JCC’s and other JCC’s.”

Barletta also touted the success of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program, which allows local fire departments across the 11th District to purchase equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources. 

Art Martynuska, President of the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, said that small and rural departments rely on these grants to operate.

“The basic tenets of fire protection are supported by these grants,” Martynuska said.  “In some of our smaller, rural departments, if these grants weren’t available, these departments would go out of existence.”


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Barletta Calls on Budget Director to Restore SHINE Funding


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today joined Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01) in sending a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney requesting that the administration strongly reconsider any proposals to eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which provides federal funding for afterschool programs such as SHINE.  SHINE, or “Schools and Homes In Education,” is a successful educational program in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties that Barletta has championed with state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon). Nearly half of SHINE’s funding comes from the 21st CCLC program.
“We write to express our deep concerns over reports that the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request will include elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program,” both lawmakers wrote.  “This critical program provides a direct funding stream to allow children to have access to afterschool programming.  We ask that you reconsider this misguided proposal.”
This is not the first time that the 21st CCLC program has been slated for elimination.  Beginning in February 2015, Barletta began working to restore its funding by successfully negotiating 14 changes to a House bill that eliminated the program.  He also established a record of support for afterschool programs in the House Education and Workforce Committee.  On the House floor, Barletta spoke in support of his own successful amendment that requires school districts to report to state agencies on the use of Title I money for afterschool activities to further demonstrate the importance of such programs.  Finally, when the legislation reached the conference committee, Barletta sent a letter to lead House and Senate negotiators imploring them to preserve the 21st CCLC program.  As a result, the 21st CCLC program was reauthorized on a bipartisan basis under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
“SHINE has a record of success when it comes to providing kids with educational opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had and benefitting families in northeastern Pennsylvania who balance work and raising their kids in a healthy environment,” Barletta said.  “It is critical that we continue to support afterschool programs like SHINE, which have proven invaluable to so many families in our community.  I look forward to working with the administration to restore this important funding.” 
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 just last week, 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 sent by Rep. Barletta and Rep. Cicilline to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
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Barletta Praises Trump Executive Order to Streamline Federal Agencies and Save Taxpayer Money


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today praised an executive order issued by President Donald J. Trump aimed at streamlining the federal government and eliminating waste. Barletta, whose work as a subcommittee chairman has saved taxpayers more than $3 billion through better management of the federal real estate portfolio, applauded the executive order’s requirement that every federal agency identify inefficiencies and submit recommendations to the administration for increasing effectiveness and accountability, with the goal of saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

“As a businessman, President Trump understands how to ensure that every dollar is spent as effectively as possible. I am pleased that he is taking the same approach to Washington’s massive bureaucracy. There is no question that excessive waste exists across federal agencies. Every family and business must operate under a budget and live within their means. With today’s executive order, President Trump is holding the federal government to the same standard. I look forward to working with the administration to continue identifying areas where we can save taxpayer money and hold government accountable.”


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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.

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