U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta slammed universal health care, limited gun ownership, illegal immigration and underfunded transportation directives during his Thursday morning visit to the Greater Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Comfort Suites hotel.
Barletta, a Republican representing the 11th District, told Carlisle-area business leaders that the federally mandated universal health-care package brings “uncertainty” for businesses.
It also “adds to their costs” and will raise taxes, he said.
Barletta on illegal immigration
While he was the mayor of Hazleton, Barletta’s intolerant stance on illegal immigration garnered national media attention.
He said 40 percent of illegal immigrants in the U.S. did not cross America’s borders illegally.
Rather, they let their visas expire and stayed, he said.
“That’s a national security problem,” Barletta said. “The people we are hurting most are the legal immigrants.”
Barletta on gun control following the Newtown massacre
“I am a firm supporter of Second Amendment rights. I am a gun owner myself. We need to look at the causes,” he said.
Developing stricter gun-control laws is “like trying to regulate drug dealers,” Barletta told Scott W. Thomas, who asked the congressman his view on gun policies.
Criminals “are going to find (guns). It’s like saying ‘if we ban spoons, it’s going to end obesity, right?’ Of course it won’t,” he added.
Barletta on transportation infrastructure
Barletta spent much of his time discussing the need for strong transportation infrastructure legislation, which he said would not only produce real improvements to the state’s highways and bridges, but bolster the workforce.
He said he is working on such a bill.
“We need a highway bill that is five years or more, that puts people to work,” Barletta said. “Pennsylvania has 5,000 bridges that are structurally deficient.”
Barletta said he doesn’t support increasing the gas tax to fund road and bridge work.
If Pennsylvania would harness its energy resources more efficiently, it would find new funding wells for transportation.
“Pennsylvania could be a leader in energy, not just in the U.S., but around the world,” Barletta said.
Barletta’s morning stop follows the official opening of his Carlisle office on Wednesday at 59 W. Louther St.
He shares the office with state Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland County.