The Trump bump

At Pa. rally, pres­i­dent backs Bar­letta’s run for Sen­ate

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL - STAFF RE­PORT

They weren’t “boo”-ing. They were “Lou”ing — and the pres­i­dent of the United States joined in.

The “Lou” is Lou Bar­letta, whose name made it to a na­tional tele­vi­sion au­di­ence Wed­nes­day night when fel­low Re­pub­li­can Don­ald Trump squeezed in a short stump speech for the con­gress­man from Ha­zle­ton dur­ing an ap­pear­ance with Fox News’ Sean Han­nity.

“We need more Re­pub­li­can sen­a­tors to be hon­est with you,” Trump said to Han­nity, elic­it­ing the drawnout “Lou” chant from the crowd at the Na­tional Guard hangar at Har­ris­burg In­ter­na­tional Air­port, where the pres­i­dent had just touted his fed­eral tax re­form plan. “And you have a good one run­ning — Lou.”

Bar­letta, R-11, who is aim­ing to un­seat Demo­cratic Sen. Bob Casey, at­tended Wed­nes­day night’s event and had ear­lier joined Trump on Air Force One.

“Lou Bar­letta, great guy. He’s run­ning,” Trump told Han­nity. “He was an in­cred­i­ble con­gress­man, and I think ... I think you’re go­ing to have an in­cred­i­ble surge for Lou Bar­letta. I think he is go­ing to do a fan­tas­tic job.”

T r ump also men­tioned Bar­letta dur­ing his speech to the gath­ered crowd, though he ini­tially said Bar­letta is run­ning for gover­nor be­fore cor­rect­ing him­self.

Bar­letta, who shares sim­i­lar views with Trump on key sub­jects like im­mi­gra­tion, is also be­hind Trump on his tax re­for m plan, which among other things would es­tab­lish four tax brack­ets — 0 per- cent, 12 per­cent, 25 per­cent and 35 per­cent — sim­plify tax-fil­ing to one page for most Amer­i­cans and cut busi­ness taxes that Trump says are more bur­den­some than in all other de­vel­oped coun­tries.

Ac­cord­ing to the con­gress­man’ s of­fice ,“Bar let ta thinks the rally in the econ­omy, af­ter over a decade of stag­na­tion, could ex­pand to even more Amer­i­cans should Con­gress get be­hind Pres­i­dent Trump and pass the pro­posed tax cuts and re­form, say­ing ,‘ This will help hard-work­ing Penn­syl­va­ni­ans as they strug­gle to find money for car pay­ments or their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion. All Amer­i­cans will see op­por­tu­nity and pros­per­ity thrive in this coun­try once again.’”

Casey op­poses Trump’s plan and is crit­i­cal of Bar­letta’s sup­port for it, say­ing con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans are not pur­su­ing tax re­form but a mas­sive tax give­away to the su­per-rich at the ex­pense of the mid­dle class, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from his of­fice.

“Un­der this plan, mid­dle­class fam­i­lies in Penn­syl­va­nia may see their taxes go up, through the elim­i­na­tion of de­duc­tions, while the wealth­i­est will g et an an­nual $146,400 wind fall ,” Casey said. “And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Re­pub­li­can plan cuts $1.5 tril­lion from Medi­care and Med­i­caid and uses those funds for tax give­aways to the su­per-rich and big cor­po­ra­tions.

“It’s time for the Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Con­gress to ... fo­cus on rais­ing wages and cre­at­ing good-pay­ing jobs for our fam­i­lies in Penn­syl­va­nia. Let’s pass a real tax re­form bill that ac­tu­ally helps the mid­dle class and our com­mu­ni­ties that are still strug­gling; let’s in­vest in re­build­ing our in­fra­struc­ture and let’s fix our bro­ken trade deals that stack the deck against work­ers.”

TIMES-SHAM­ROCK FILE

U.S. Rep. Lou Bar­letta, left, R-11, ap­pears on stage with Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, right, at a cam­paign rally at the Mo­he­gan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 10, 2016. Trump spoke at a tax re­form rally Wed­nes­day in Mild­dle­ton and dur­ing a Fox News in­ter view about the for­mer Ha­zle­ton mayor’s Sen­ate run.

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