Barletta hosts public forum at Northumberland County Administration Center
SUNBURY - Welfare reform, illegal immigration, Obamacare and Syria were the main topics of conversation at a one-hour public forum hosted Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11).
Approximately 30 members of the public, plus several local elected officials, filled the public meeting room at the Northumberland County Administration Center to listen to the second-term congressman from Hazleton.
Attendees were asked to submit questions prior to the meeting, but several people asked questions and direct comments to Barletta spontaneously.
Barletta described the meeting as a way to stay connected to the people and to prevent Congress from getting lost in Washington, D.C. He said a lack of common sense in Washington is how laws are made, providing an example of 11-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, whose family fought a policy that prevents a child under the age 12 from receiving adult organs if the child needs a transplant. On June 5, U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson issued a temporary restraining order allowing the girl to be eligible for adult lungs.
Murnaghan, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, received two sets of lungs this summer while she struggled with the disease. She returned home Tuesday after six months in The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, according to The Associated Press.
"We need to bring a common sense approach to Washington," Barletta said. "I would like to cut out waste, abuse and fraud that's going on across the country."
A hot topic at Wednesday's meeting was the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. Several people asked Barletta his position on the healthcare reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.
Barletta said there are sections of the law with which he agrees, but ultimately he said feels there should be an opportunity to shop across state lines for healthcare insurance. The ability to "shop around," he said, would allow the competition to drive down prices.
"The fact that we keep bringing this issue to the forefront, is beginning to realize this is not going to work," Barletta said. "I believe we should stop Obamacare before it goes too far down the road."
In regard to Syria, Barletta said he signed a letter addressed to the president reminding him of his legal obligation to consult and seek authority from Congress before taking any actions against the Syrian government, which is accused of using chemical weapons against their citizens.
Barletta said he would like to see more information before making any type of decision on whether the U.S. should use force against Syria.