U.S. Republicans told to have their say, be ready to compromise

Congressional Republican leaders tried to hammer home a simple message to restive conservatives at a policy retreat this week: Have your say, but be prepared to make some compromises if you want to pass substantial legislation.

But some House members said they would still push bills that reflect their conservative principles and not concern themselves with what the Senate can achieve.

“That shouldn’t stop us from fighting for what we want,” said Representative Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. He co-authored an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security funding bill, approved by the House on Wednesday, that blocks spending on Obama’s executive immigration actions.

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Volunteer firefighters protect us – we need to protect them from Obamacare: Lou Barletta

Very few people choose to become volunteer firefighters or emergency responders in order to receive health care benefits.

As volunteer members of their departments, they likely get their health care coverage through another job, or pay for it themselves.

In fact, if you asked them what the fringe benefits of being volunteers actually are, they would likely tell you that they get satisfaction from helping their communities, and protecting lives and property.

So on the very first day of the new 114th Congress, I introduced my bill for a second time.  I am proud to say that it once again has received unanimous approval  – and is now headed for the Senate for a return engagement.

This is much too important of a public safety issue to be left to the whims and changing machinery of a lumbering IRS bureaucracy far removed from our home towns.

As the Senate takes up the measure, I urge all Senators to recognize how essential volunteer fire companies are to the fabric of our lives.

We owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to the men and women who protect our lives, homes, and businesses at great risk to themselves.

The least we can do is give them certainty – rock solid assurance – that their work as emergency responders will not be shut down by a misguided provision of a poorly crafted health care law.

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HOUSE VOTES TO BLOCK EXECUTIVE AMNESTY

The House approved a Department of Homeland Security appropriations package Wednesday that lawmakers say will block President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

The $39.7 billion DHS appropriations bill to fund the department through fiscal year 2015 passed 236 – 191.

A series of amendments to the bill — aimed at blocking Obama’s executive actions — passed in advance of its final approval.

The amendment spearheaded by Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Lou Barletta (R-PA) — intended to block any and all funding for President Obama’s executive amnesty announced on November 20, 2014, future similar policies, and the so-called Morton memos — passed 237 – 190. All Democrats present and seven Republicans voted against the measure.

“The president cannot rule by imperial fiat, because under the Constitution, Congress controls the purse strings,” Barletta said recently of the amendment. “He cannot circumvent the legislature and make up his own laws if Congress refuses to fund them.”

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Defund immigration amnesty program, Lou Barletta tells the House

Rep. Lou Barletta on Tuesday spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of a key amendment that would defund President Obama’s executive amnesty program for undocumented immigrants.

The amendment, co-authored by the Pennsylvania Republican, would strip out funding for the executive amnesty program in the Department of Homeland Security’s appropriations bill.

“The amendment says that the president’s policies have no basis in law and are not grounded in the Constitution,” Barletta said as he addressed the House. “And we prevent anyone who receives such executive amnesty from being awarded any federal benefits.”

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U.S. House votes 401 – 0 on bill to exempt firefighters and emergency responders from Obamacare rules

Once again by unanimous vote the U.S. House approves the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act (HR 33).  The bill sponsored by Lou Barletta, (R-PA-11) ensures that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). If volunteer fire companies were subject to the mandates of ACA, they could be liable for crippling new health care costs, causing many to have to close their doors.  The bill now heads to the now Republican controlled Senate for its approval.

“To be clear, forcing volunteer fire companies to comply with Obamacare will not extend health insurance to the uninsured,” Barletta said.  “Rather, it will close firehouses, placing people at risk.”

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Boehner Pays Back the Base

When House Speaker John Boehner needed the votes to pass the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” in the final hours before the government ran out of money, he turned to an unlikely ally: Representative Lou Barletta(R., Penn.), an immigration hawk who opposed the bill because it did not do anything meaningful to thwart President Obama’s executive amnesty. Now,Barletta and his allies in the right flank of the GOP are about to get something in return: a tough response to President Obama’s executive amnesty, set to be introduced on the House floor on Friday.

 

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House GOP Won’t Target DACA in Main Response to Obama’s Executive Orders

House Republicans have settled on a plan to withhold funding for President Obama’s most recent executive orders on immigration and related policies, but not the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that the president announced in the run-up to his reelection campaign.

The House will vote on a separate, stand-alone amendment that would withhold funding for the DACA program, according to an announcement from Representative Lou Barletta (R., Pa.), one of the lead authors on the original amendment. Both of these bills will be offered as amendments to the bill that finances the Department of Homeland Security beyond February 27.

The bill is a compromise between Mulvaney (who preferred to focus on the November executive orders) and a more aggressive package that Aderholt and Barletta worked on with the help of Representative Lamar Smith (R., Texas).

“When we passed the cromnibus at the end of last year, I wanted to make sure that we fulfilled the promise that we would be back to block amnesty at the earliest possible moment,” Barletta says.  “If you look back at where we were in December, this bill will accomplish even more than we discussed back then.”

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House Bill Would Restore Respect for Immigration Law and the Constitutional Process Swift Action is Needed to Rein In Abuse of Executive Power, Says FAIR

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) applauds the introduction of Repeal Executive Amnesty Act of 2015, a bill that would not only defund the president’s unconstitutional amnesty, but would block further attempts by this or future administrations to rewrite immigration laws through executive memos. After six years of systematically dismantling and undermining immigration enforcement, the Repeal Executive Amnesty Act, introduced by Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), would restore Congress’s plenary authority to make immigration laws and restore confidence that our immigration laws are being enforced in the interest of the American people.

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Program launched to help Luzerne County students SHINE

Wilkes University will administer the after-school SHINE program for students in Luzerne County school districts and start with 500 students in fall 2015, officials announced Thursday.

The program is expected to expand to 800 students in its second year and 1,000 students in the third year. The SHINE program has been operating in Carbon County for 10 years, and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, and state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, have touted the success of the Carbon County operation.

“It works. This is proven,” Barletta said.

Barletta and Yudichak helped launch Luzerne County SHINE — Schools & Homes In Education. They joined Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy at an event Thursday at State Street Elementary School.

 

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Wrong move on Cuba, says Rep. Lou Barletta

Rep. Lou Barletta on Wednesday welcomed the release of an American contractor held prisoner for years in Cuba, but blasted the White House for moving closer to normalizing relations with the island nation.

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