Lou on the Issues

Illegal Immigration

While Lou Barletta was mayor of Hazleton, the city’s population increased by 50 percent, but its tax revenue remained flat. He knew there was an illegal immigration problem. His response was rooted in a pragmatic approach to government. Barletta introduced the Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA) in 2006. The first-of-its-kind legislation cracked down on businesses who knowingly hired illegal immigrants and landlords who knowingly provided them refuge. The IIRA went on to serve as a blueprint for state and local governments across the country.

Washington’s fixation on granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is an offense to every out-of-work American and foreign-born citizen who followed the law to come to this country. The first bill Lou introduced in Congress cracked down on sanctuary cities. Lou also introduced immigration reform legislation in 2013 that would make overstaying an American visa a felony criminal offense and would require biometric exit requirements such as digital fingerprinting to more accurately tell whether non-U.S. citizens have departed the country on time or remained in the country illegally.

Government Spending

Washington has a spending problem that cannot be allowed to continue. The current level of spending is unsustainable and irresponsible. Families across Pennsylvania adhere to a budget, and the federal government should be held to the same standard.

During the last few years, our national debt has skyrocketed to over $17 trillion. That’s why Lou supported the first bipartisan budget since 1986 which reduced the deficit by $23 billion. Congressman Barletta also supports true spending cuts and a Balanced Budget Amendment.

As Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Barletta helped save American taxpayers $3 billion by identifying underused federal office space and by more creatively managing building leases.

Economy and Jobs

As the founder of his own small business, Lou feels that this segment of our economy holds a great deal of promise. He will continue to fight to ensure that Americans get and keep jobs.

The House has passed more than 350 pieces of legislation that have yet to receive a vote in the Senate. Dozens of them are designed to grow the economy and create jobs. Congressman Barletta has supported almost all of them, including H.R. 2641, which would “expedite the approval for new energy projects that will help lower costs and create jobs,” and H.R. 3826, which “protects coal-fired plants from excessive regulations that raise costs and destroy jobs.”


Roads, bridges, and related transportation infrastructure connect communities and combine to serve as an economic life source of our nation. However, in many states, including Pennsylvania, transportation infrastructure is suffering from a lack of sufficient maintenance. Pennsylvania alone is home to more than 5,000 structurally deficient bridges.

As Chairman of a Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Barletta feels strongly that we need to fix this today, before it becomes any more expensive.
The federal government also has imposed regulations and mandates that govern transportation on a family farm the same way we regulate a cross-country trucking company. This is simply excessive and unnecessary. Intra-state agricultural transportation should not be treated the same as interstate federal highway transportation. This distinction should be codified so that farm trucks used to pull trailers or farm implements are not subject to the same requirements as cross-country drivers.


America needs a better energy policy. To see why, all consumers have to do is look at what they pay at the pump today compared to the $1.79 they paid for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in January of 2009.

Congress must adopt policies that make the United States less dependent on foreign oil, allow for the responsible exploration of domestic sources of energy, and rein in federal overregulation. In Pennsylvania, there are large deposits of coal and natural gas. As long we continue to harness these resources safely, ensuring that the lessons of the past are never forgotten, we will have the opportunity to improve our economy, create thousands of jobs for Pennsylvanians, and lead the nation in energy production.

We also must consider alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind, and make greater use of nuclear power.


Pennsylvania is a world leader in agriculture, a critical industry to both our national security and economy. Maintaining this leadership position requires that our elected officials work hard to ensure that farmers have all the necessary resources.

Today’s farmers face many difficult challenges. Overregulation is probably the one Lou hears most about.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s overregulation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, especially the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirement, is problematic for farmers. These regulations are designed to limit certain materials from ending up in the Chesapeake Bay. As is too often the case, the EPA has not taken into consideration the economic impact of their regulations on the agriculture community.

Our nation’s dairy program needs reform to ensure that Pennsylvania farmers remain globally competitive. Dairy is the largest segment of our state’s agricultural industry and we need to have a strong risk management program in effect for farmers, especially when feed prices are high.

Disaster Relief

Since his election to Congress, Congressman Barletta has supported many legislative actions to get Americans back to work. He introduced the Disaster Loan Fairness Act to lower interest rates on disaster loans for homeowners, renters and small businesses. Unfortunately, this and many other bills with similar goals have died in the Senate.


Our Veterans have left a proud legacy to this country by serving with bravery, dignity and pride. Whether a veteran served on American soil or defended American liberty in foreign lands, this nation owes all veterans a debt of gratitude.

Congressman Barletta has supported a cost of living increase for veterans since 2011. He believes veterans are entitled to the best medical care and benefits available.

In the aftermath of the recent VA scandal, Lou voted for the Veterans Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act, which passed the House with a massive bipartisan majority of 420-5. This bill overhauls the VA to ensure improvement of veteran health care. It has been passed in the Senate and sent to President Obama for his signature.


Obamacare is fundamentally flawed because it is a classic example of big government overreach. Real health care reform must lower costs and put doctors and patients—not government bureaucrats—in charge of health care decisions.

Lou was named “Legislator of the Year” by the National Volunteer Fire Council for his leadership in protecting volunteer fire companies from Obamacare regulations, costs and penalties that would have crippled them. In Pennsylvania, 97 percent of all fire companies depend either entirely or mostly on volunteers. Obamacare’s threat to volunteer fire companies represented an unacceptable threat to public safety, and the House agreed by passing Lou’s Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act by an amazing 410-to-0 vote. Regrettably, the Senate once again played politics with the bill and attached unrelated language that has, for now, prevented its passage.

Second Amendment

As a gun owner, recreational shooter, and an NRA member, Barletta understands the meaning and significance of the Second Amendment. He believes in an individual right to keep, own, and use firearms.

Our forefathers were very clear in their intentions when they framed the Second Amendment. They declared that each law-abiding citizen has a constitutionally protected absolute right to firearms, which obviously extends to ammunition and firearm accessories.

Congressman Barletta will continue to fight to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens on every front. He will always vote to protect and support citizens’ rights to own and use firearms, including the protection of gun shows, hunting, and other conservation efforts; reciprocity for concealed-carry permit holders; range protection; and the ability of people to defend themselves, their families, and their property.

Right to Life

Simply stated, Congressman Barletta is Pro-Life. He believes that innocent life should be protected at every stage of development. He supports the restoration of legal protection for innocent human life. Barletta will oppose the efforts of some to increase or expand the protection or establishment of legal euthanasia, abortion, and human cloning. As Congress begins to tackle the issues of Medicare and health care reform, Congressman Barletta will never support a program that results in rationing of life-saving procedures to those covered under those programs.

Social Security and Medicare

Since day one, I have been committed to preserving and protecting Social Security for both current retirees and future generations of Americans. I want it to be there for both my children and grandchildren.

We have to stop pretending that things are fine and admit that the current funding path is unsustainable. Ten thousand baby boomers are retiring every day, and, fortunately, through medical advances, our families and neighbors are living longer.  This presents a challenge to Social Security and Medicare, as the Trustees of these two programs recently reported that the retirement fund will run out by 2034, causing a 21 percent across-the-board cut to all beneficiaries. Under this scenario, it would not matter if you have been receiving Security for years or are a new beneficiary, or how much you have put into the system — everyone would see their benefits reduced. This is unacceptable, and we must act to ensure it does not happen.

I do not support efforts to privatize Social Security or eliminate Medicare and never have. Both programs provide an important safety net promised to workers who have been paying into the system. 

Members of both parties must come together around common-sense reforms to ensure the solvency of Social Security so that this important program will continue to have the broad support to ensure its future existence.

One way to ensure the viability of the Social Security fund is to improve the economy and create more jobs so that more workers will pay into the system. Putting Americans back to work will give an immediate boost to Social Security through more workers contributing to our payroll tax base. Promoting a pro-economic growth agenda and engaging in honest, bipartisan discussions about putting our entitlement programs on sustainable paths forward will ensure that government keep its promises to our workers.