Bill aims to keep convicted veterans from being ‘buried next to true American heroes’ after Harrisburg murder

Thirty years after being convicted of killing a woman, George Emery Siple was given a full military burial in an Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. Now the woman’s family is working to keep other convicted veterans from being buried in military cemeteries.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, unveiled “Bertie’s Respect for National Cemeteries Act.” The bill, inspired by Siple’s murder of Bertha “Bertie” Smith in Harrisburg in 1969, seeks to accomplish a number of objectives.

“Our national military cemeteries are hallowed grounds and they ought to be treated that way,” Barletta said. “Our VA National Cemetery is a place of honor and I don’t think it’s too much to say that murderers should not be buried next to true American heroes.”

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Barletta, co-sponsors promote efficiency in GSA reform bill

With passage of the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2015 Act, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders opened the door to saving billions of taxpayer dollars via federal office space and real estate reforms.

House Resolution 2322 provides an overhaul of the General Services Administration (GSA), allowing the agency to improve consolidations, reduce space and take advantage of office space leasing opportunities to save money. Additionally, the law provides for enhanced security at federal buildings.

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) was lead sponsor of the legislation as chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee.

“As members of Congress, we have been entrusted with spending the taxpayers’ money, so we must always be willing to find new ways to achieve savings,” Barletta said. “We should approach leasing and renovation decisions the way private businesses would — with the bottom line in mind…There’s a window of opportunity that the private sector is capitalizing on and it’s time the federal government did the same.”

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House sides with Barletta, Perry: No undocumented immigrants in military

In case you missed it, the U.S. House of Representatives last night agreed to remove language from the 2016 defense bill that could have permitted children of undocumented immigrants to serve in the armed forces.

Pennsylvania Republicans Lou Barletta and Scott Perry were supporters of the amendment and had last week signed a letter urging House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions to remove the measure from the nearly $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act. The proposal would have impacted undocumented immigrants who benefit from President Obama’s amnesty program, potentially making them eligible to enlist in the U.S. military.

“Our nation’s defense is not the appropriate arena for a discussion of immigration policy,” said Barletta, who is recovering from a cardiac procedure. “Worse than that, allowing illegal immigrants to serve in the military represents a serious national security risk.”

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Barletta, Perry: Strike proposal to allow undocumented immigrants in military

U.S. House Representatives Lou Barletta and Scott Perry are among two dozen conservative congressional lawmakers who are calling for the removal of an immigration provision from the massive defense policy bill headed the chamber’s floor next week.

Barletta, (R-11th) and Perry (R-4th) joined the other House colleagues in signing a letter to House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions asking that he remove from the nearly $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act an immigration measure that would pave the way for undocumented immigrants who benefit from President Obama’s amnesty program to be eligible to enlist in the U.S. military.

“I was disappointed to learn that some of my colleagues thought it appropriate to use the NDAA, which authorizes the funding for our nation’s military, to encourage the enlistment of certain illegal immigrants into the Armed Services,” said Barletta, an outspoken hardliner on immigration reform. “These kind of provisions have no place in legislation aimed at protecting our national security, especially at a time when we face the growing threat of violent Islamic extremism.

Barletta is a cosponsor of an amendment to strike the amnesty program.

“The House has already made clear its position on a number of occasions that DACA is unlawful and should be defunded,” he said. “Tactics to validate this program through a must-pass bill to help our dedicated men and women in uniform are shameful and will not be tolerated.  I will continue to fight to get this provision removed, and cannot lend my support to the NDAA until it is.”

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Trade pact foes: Deal could cause flood of immigrants

Opponents of giving the Obama administration broad authority to negotiate a trans-Pacific trade deal, including Republican senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, are pushing a new argument: It could trigger a flood of immigrants into the country.

Although Sessions has been the most vocal Republican on Capitol Hill expressing concern over immigration in a trade deal, he isn’t alone. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), another hard-liner on the issue, said he was leaning against granting Obama fast-track authority and cited a potential boost in temporary foreign workers as one of his concerns.

“There’s a lot of fear that it’ll allow guest workers to come in and take jobs away from Americans,” Barletta said in an interview. “So there’s a lot of questions that the average American has on whether or not these deals are actually good for the American worker or not.”

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Barletta receives Enterprise Award

U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday presented U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, with its annual Spirit of Enterprise Award for the fourth time.

“For 50 years, through our How They Voted scorecard, the U.S. Chamber has been recognizing legislators from both sides of the aisle who have worked to pass legislation and enact policies that bolster our country’s economy, create jobs and keep our nation’s spirit of enterprise alive,” Thomas J. Donohue, chamber president and CEO, said in a news release.

“I am honored that the chamber has once again chosen me for this prestigious award,” Barletta said. “Encouraging businesses to grow and hire new employees is more important today than ever.”

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Toomey speaks up on Iran bill – and a proposal that it would otherwise scrap

Rep. Lou Barletta’s bill to ensure that volunteer firefighters are not counted as full-time employees under the Affordable Care Act is about to be re-purposed again.

The U.S. Senate is in the midst of debating a proposal to give Congress the right to review any nuclear agreement with Iran. To get the proposal through Congress quickly, senators are planning to use Barletta’s bill, replacing his idea with their Iran review proposal.

The Hazleton Republican’s bill already has passed the House three times, and each time it has been used for another purpose in the Senate.

But this time, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey is aiming to prevent Barletta from having to start over once more. He’s offering an amendment that, instead of stripping out the volunteer firefighter provisions, it would keep them in the bill when the Iran proposal is added.

None of these volunteer fire departments have the kind of money it would take to go out and buy health care for these volunteer firefighters, nor was Obamacare ever intended to cover these folks,” Toomey said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

It’s unclear when Toomey’s amendment could come up for a vote. The Senate began on amendments Tuesday evening, a process that could carry over into next week.

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We Can’t Afford to Back Down From Infrastructure Investments | Commentary

In Pennsylvania, we have some of the most run-down roads and bridges in the country. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 22 percent of our state’s roads have unacceptable pavement quality and 43 percent of our bridges are functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. Earlier this month, I visited the Greenfield Bridge, where another bridge had to be built underneath to protect drivers from debris falling from Greenfield’s crumbling infrastructure.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that at the federal level, we have a constitutional responsibility to maintain our national transportation infrastructure system and find a sustainable way to pay for it.

I have been working on leveraging private sector savings on major infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships. My colleagues in the House and Senate are starting to talk about ideas to shore up the Highway Trust Fund by repatriating funds from overseas, increasing tolls on our highways, increasing taxes on heavy-duty commercial vehicles, applying the gas tax to alternative fuels, and raising revenue from oil and gas royalties on federal lands.

My constituents sent me to Congress to implement real solutions, not to just talk about ideas. Therefore, I am proud to support Ohio Republican Rep. James B. Renacci’s Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act. This commonsense legislation would create a bipartisan, bicameral committee to force Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund and provide 10 years of investment in our roads and bridges. All options are on the table. If, and only if, Congress fails to develop a solution, the bill requires modifications to the gas and diesel taxes to make up for the shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund.

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Barletta meets with Pa. Farm Bureau

Cliff Miller from the Columbia County Farm Bureau presented Barletta with the Friend of Farm Bureau award for supporting policies that eliminate excessive regulations on agriculture and help American farmers remain competitive.

“Agriculture is a major industry and job provider in Pennsylvania,” Barletta said. “We cannot let excessive regulations — such as the expansion of federal water to include mud puddles and ditches — to drive Pennsylvania farms out of business.”

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Pa.’s last World War II ‘double ace’ receives congressional award

Lawler, now 93, had never been on a plane, but he soon found himself shipping off to Florida to train to become a fighter pilot.

And by all accounts, he was a pretty darn good one, too.

Lawler, now a resident of The Bridges at Bent Creek in Mechanicsburg, shot down 11 enemy planes, which makes him a double ace, and the last living double ace in Pennsylvania. U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta presented Lawler with a Congressional Recognition Certificate for his service on Wednesday.

“You are a hero,” Barletta told him during a special ceremony at the facility. “Your record of service to our country should be recognized, and I have the great privilege to say thank you.”

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