Barletta Thanks Voters and Volunteers for Overwhelming Support

Thank you to the nearly 92,000 Republican voters of the 11th Congressional District for their overwhelming support in yesterday’s primary election and the countless volunteers who have dedicated their time and effort to advance our campaign. I am inspired to see so many people participating in our political process. Voters are sending a message that they are ready to take their country back, and I look forward to continuing to lead this fight in Congress.

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Barletta Endorses Trump for President

Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today endorsed Donald Trump for president:

“Like millions of Americans, I want our next president to be a leader who fights for the American people and gets things done, not a politician who tries to say all the right things but will never be able to deliver on more broken promises. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has proven that he is the leader our country needs to change the way Washington does business, and I am proud to give my full endorsement and support to his candidacy. I think that Donald Trump has the ability to attract Democrats and Independents who are frustrated with Washington and is our best candidate to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.

“Americans are frustrated that Washington has turned its back on them. Both Republicans and Democrats are tired of Congress working for special interests instead of the national interest, and talking about our nation’s problems instead of fixing them. I share these frustrations. I came to Congress to work for the American people, not just do or say things that please the Washington structure.

“When I was Mayor of Hazleton, I introduced the first law of its kind cracking down on illegal immigration. Since coming to Congress, I have continued to lead the fight to secure our border and enforce our immigration laws. Donald Trump was criticized, the same way I was criticized, when he addressed this important issue. I hope that together we can tackle this critical national security challenge and stand up for working Americans.

“As I have said before, I am discouraged that certain members of the Republican Party have spent more time trying to figure out how to stop Donald Trump than they have trying to understand why he is so popular in the first place. Voters are smart. We need to listen to the voters instead of elitists trying to tell us right from wrong. In state after state, voters have made it clear that they want change and are tired of the way things are being done in Washington. I think Donald Trump is the best person to bring the change that Americans are demanding.”

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Barletta Honored with National PTA Award

Originally published by the Shippensburg News-Chronicle

Congressman Lou Barletta, R-11, was honored recently as the lone member of the House of Representatives to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Barletta was singled out for his leadership in saving federal funding for after-school programs, such as SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education), a successful and growing program in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties he has championed with state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon). Also honored was Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).

“Through the leadership of Congressman Barletta, legislation has advanced that prioritizes family engagement in education and will make a difference for children, families and schools,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “We applaud them for being champions of change that will improve education and the lives and futures of our nation’s youth. We are thrilled to honor them with our 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award.”

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Congressman Lou Barletta: ‘How many more Asher Potts are there?’

Originally posted by PennLive. Click here for video.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta is citing the case of Artur Samarin, the 23-year-old Ukrainian who attended Harrisburg High under the name Asher Potts, as proof of potentially dangerous holes in the visa system.

“How many more Asher Potts are there?” Barletta, a Republican from the 11th Congressional District, asked Wednesday during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing. “Nationwide, my question is, how many individuals have overstayed their visas, falsified their identities, lied about their age, and are sitting in school classes today?”

Barletta also is renewing a push for his legislation that would increase penalties for overstaying a visa, including criminalizing such an act, according to a news release from Barletta’s office.

Samarin is facing multiple charges and has been accused of falsifying documents to stay in the United States after his work and tourist visas expired. Samarin attended Harrisburg High School under the name Asher Potts, and, with the help of his “adoptive mother,” he fraudulently obtained a Pennsylvania driver’s license under the name Asher Potts, according to his criminal complaint. It said he also obtained a Social Security card in the name of Asher Potts and a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania delayed birth certificate.

When Stephayne and Michael Potts, Samarin’s “adoptive parents,” met with reporters last week, they brought new claims that Samarin, a stellar student who allegedly visited the Pentagon at one point, became angry and talked about “blowing up the school.”

“Nothing could be more chilling than the thought of terrorists enrolling as students,” Barletta said. “Previously, we have heard of terrorists taking flying lessons. But imagine them sitting next to your kids in algebra class. The fact that this has happened in central Pennsylvania shows how serious this is.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he agreed with the “spirit” of Barletta’s question on how many people have overstayed visas, taken on false identities and are now attending schools.

Johnson said, in the “current threat environment, the potential for fraudulent travel documents is a big concern.” Though, he said he was primarily concerned about issues with fraudulent travel documents due to “the migration crisis.”

“I’ve done a lot to support DHS’s fraudulent documents lab, which we have,” Johnson said. “We have the capability to detect fraudulent documents. I also have asked our folks to — now that we have some better clarity on visa overstays — develop priorities for enforcement with regard to visa overstays.”

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Congressman Lou Barletta helps promote senior safety

Originally published by FOX 43.

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta is teaming up with local law enforcement to promote safety for seniors in the community.

Congressman Barletta and State Police Trooper Rob Hicks spoke to a crowd at the Lower Paxton Friendship Senior Center in Dauphin County. Their presentation focused on several topics which included driving safety, crime prevention, as well as telemarketing fraud and identity theft.

Barletta says people should be on the look out for IRS phone scams.

“[The] Federal government will not call you for taxes or any other reasons,” Barletta said, “So, if you’re getting a call from somebody that claims to be from the IRS, or they may have actual information about you, if it sounds authentic, do not give them any information.”

The discussion also focused on skimming devices and other financial crimes.

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Barletta: Solid infrastructure key to spurring the economy

Originally published by the Times Leader.

HAZLETON — Speaking to about 100 members of the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta said that at a time when Congress “can’t seem to pass anything,” they somehow managed to approve a five-year transportation bill.

Speaking for the 16th time at the chamber meeting, held at the Best Western Genetti’s Inn & Suites on Route 309, Barletta, R-Hazleton, said passing the legislation was “a big deal” and one that is critical to the country’s economy.

“When you can’t get the long-term promise of federal funding, you get uncertainty for businesses and jobs,” Barletta said. “You cannot plan a project if the funding is unknown.”

Barletta said municipalities and counties in turn won’t commit funding if there is doubt about the federal dollars.

“People in Congress say infrastructure is and should be a priority,” Barletta said. “If they truly believe that, then make it a priority and approve the funding.”

In December, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a piece of five-year legislation to improve America’s roads, bridges, public transit and rail transportation systems and reform federal surface transportation programs.

The House voted 359 to 65 in favor of the FAST Act Conference Report. Signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 4, the FAST Act is set to provide $305 billion in funding over five years.

“Federal funding is like a fumble in the NFL — everybody dives on it,” Barletta said. “This will create and sustain jobs and that will spur economic development.”

That was welcome news to the Chamber crowd. Barletta tied the infrastructure issue to manufacturing, saying despite cumbersome regulations, higher wages and higher taxes in the U.S., the country’s infrastructure network allows far quicker delivery of products.

“That’s another reason why we must invest in our transportation infrastructure,” he said.

Homeland security was next for Barletta, who sits on the House Counter-Terrorist Intelligence Sub-Committee. He said much of the information he has he can not share.

“But what I can tell you is that ISIS is a real threat around the world and right here at home,” he said. “ISIS has said that best spilled blood is American spilled blood.”

Barletta said the terrorist group is radicalizing Americans through social media sites and they have managed to use encryption to avoid detection.

“The top priority for national security is to keep you safe,” he said. “We are always concerned about what the federal (government) is, or isn’t doing to protect us.”

Waving a copy of the “9/11 Report,” Barletta said he will always be a loud voice to protect the American people. He said many terrorists enter the U.S. legally with a visa, then they overstay their allowed time and go off the grid.

“It’s a national security problem when you don’t know who anybody really is or where they are,” he said.

Barletta said the terrorists only stay in the U.S. long enough to commit some horrific attack.

As a member of the Education and Workforce Committee, Barletta said he asked to be removed from the committee, but then-House Speaker John Boehner wouldn’t hear of it. Barletta said he is glad he didn’t get what he thought he wanted at the time.

“With state Sen. John Yudichak, who is a Democrat, we started Operation Gang-Up and out of that came the SHINE program, which is now expanding to Hazleton later this month,” Barletta said. “More than 600 students drop out of school per year in Luzerne County. Since we started the SHINE program with Wilkes University, we have seen an 80 percent improvement in those at-risk students.”

SHINE is an after-school program to help at-risk students change the direction of their lives, Barletta said, noting that 85 students at the Hazleton Area Career Center and the Maple Manor Elementary/Middle School will begin March 29.

A former mayor of Hazleton, Barletta is unopposed in the Republican primary this year. He will face another former Hazleton mayor, Democrat Michael Marsicano, in the November general election.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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Pa. congressman asks Obama to reconsider Red Land visit

Originally published by ABC 27.

WASHINGTON (WHTM) – Congressman Lou Barletta says he’s urging President Barack Obama to host the Red Land Little League baseball team at the White House.

Barletta’s letter to the President on Thursday notes that other U.S. Little League champions have been invited to the White House in recent years, including the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars from Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

Red Land last week received a letter from the White House that indicated the team would not be invited to meet the President. The letter said Obama is unable to accommodate the team’s request for a visit due to “constraints of his schedule.”

Barletta (R-Pennsylvania) told Obama that the Red Land players are not only accomplished athletes on the playing field, but also responsible and generous members of their community. He noted the team has raised more than $30,000 dollars for pediatric cancer research.

“This selfless dedication to helping others is yet another reason to honor the Red Land kids with a visit to the White House,” he wrote.

“I understand that your schedule is full and the demand on your time is great,” he added. “With that in mind, I am still asking that you reconsider your decision, extend an invitation to a great bunch of young men from Pennsylvania, and grant them memories that would last a lifetime.”

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Letter to the Editor: U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta strikes proper balance between party line and district’s needs

Letter to the Editor: U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta strikes proper balance between party line and district’s needs

Originally published in the Times Leader.

Some call for Congressman Lou Barletta to make symbolic legislative efforts merely for the sake of ideological purity. I consider Congressman Barletta to be not only a conservative Republican, but a representative who votes with his district’s best interests in mind first, not weighing the consequences of politics or party.

In Congress, Lou has been a man of his word. He has firmly stood his ground on illegal immigration and national security concerns regarding our porous borders, problems with the faulty visa system, and the dangers of allowing in unmonitored refugees from other countries. He has repeatedly voted to delay, dismantle and defund Obamacare and replace it with a health care system that actually improves the care of citizens, controls costs and preserves jobs in the process.

He has fought against overzealous bureaucrats in Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, standing with farmers and small entrepreneurs who are in danger of being regulated out of business. And as chairman of a key House subcommittee, Lou has saved taxpayers $3 billion by renegotiating government leases and reducing the federal real estate footprint.

I find it difficult to question where Lou stands on issues of importance to the people of the 11th District of Pennsylvania.

Lou does not blindly follow House Republican leaders. He voted against a funding bill because it did not do enough to help victims of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and successfully parleyed that “no” vote into getting more help for his district. He also voted against the recent Omnibus spending bill – despite heavy lobbying by House leadership – because it continued to fund the refugee program that represents such a serious national security threat.

As the former mayor of Hazleton, Barletta is keenly aware of our local needs and as such supports important programs such as Community Development Block Grants. He refused to simply shut down the government over ideological disagreements, not wanting to cut off funding our military or important programs that people rely on every day of their lives.

We do not want a congressman who votes in lock-step with party leaders every time or is so rigid he cannot support ideas that clearly benefit residents of his district. I am proud to have supported Congressman Barletta in the past, and I will be proud to do so again this November.

David Baloga

Lake Township

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Barletta obtains commitment to after-school programs

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, obtained the commitment of acting Secretary of Education John King Jr. to support after school programs like SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) that are helping expand educational opportunities for students and engage their families and communities in the education process.

In most recent education legislation, Barletta successfully restored the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which accounts for a significant portion of SHINE’S funding. Barletta described his February visit to the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center to witness the activities of SHINE students in fifth through eighth grades. The children were making marshmallow pizzas as part of a large project of using computer software to design and run a business to make a profit. Barletta used the experience to emphasize the importance of such programs to current and future students.

Beginning in February 2015, Barletta began working to restore the 21st CCLC program. The original House version of the bill eliminated the program; however, Barletta negotiated 14 changes to the base text of the bill in support of after-school programs, and specifically the SHINE model, in the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Read more here.

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Rep. Lou Barletta, marshmallow pizzas and a very successful SHINE after school program

By Mark Guydish

Published in the Times Leader on Feb. 18, 2016

Read it at the Times Leader’s website, or continue reading below.

PLAINS TWP. — Lou Barletta spread marshmallow like a pro and confessed it was a skill honed while feeding his girls when they were young. “I made a lot of Fluffernutters, especially when Mom wasn’t home. It was the meal of choice,” said the U.S. Rep. from Hazleton.

Technically, Barletta was making “pizza,” along with several students attending the SHINE after school program at Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center Thursday. Teacher Joyce Strubeck substituted rice cakes for mini pizza crusts, cream cheese and marshmallow for sauce, and blueberries and sliced strawberries for toppings.

And while it may sound more like snack time than class time, Strubeck said there were lessons in the work, a small part of a much larger project: To design a restaurant using computers software, figure out how to run it to make a profit, and eventually actually serve pizza to their parents. After they finished their concoctions, the students were asked questions about streamlining the system with fewer people making the same nine pizzas in assembly-line fashion.

In fact, as Barletta formed a face on a rice cake with the sliced strawberries and blueberries, students in a different room were using iPads to find the best prices for pizza boxes and ingredients and working on the economics of running a pizza shop.

Though dressed in a black suit and red tie, Barletta seemed relaxed and obviously enjoying himself as he chatted with the students, grades five through eight, from several area schools. When he asked Brianna Gray, 12, how she liked the program, she smiled and told him, “I really like all the activities.”

Asked if his pizza face with the blueberry nose was supposed to be a self-portrait, Barletta laughed. “The nose would have to be a lot bigger,” he said. “I’d need a banana.”

Barletta, a Republican, teamed with State Sen. John Yudichak, a Democrat from Nanticoke, to bring SHINE to Luzerne County. He praised what he saw repeatedly and asked how soon it would be set up in Hazleton. Interim Director Jeanne Miller said the program should open March 29 in two Hazleton Area School District buildings: the Career Center and Maple Manor Elementary. She expects more than 100 students initially.

Miller praised Barletta for his work in preserving a federal grant program that helps fund SHINE. Barletta, in turn, said he learned a few things while talking to the students about their project.

He also taught at least one important art of politics: Talking with a mouth full of marshmallow goo.

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

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