Aug. 16–PLAINS TWP. — President Donald Trump’s economic policies “are actually working,” and “the economy is soaring,” U.S. Rep Lou Barletta said Thursday at the Marcellus Shale Coalition conference at Mohegan Sun Pocono casino.
Barletta, a Republican congressman from Hazleton, is running for U.S. Senate against Bob Casey, a Democratic incumbent from Scranton. Barletta said the economy is responding to the Republican tax cut legislation from last year and the elimination of unnecessary regulations on business.
The Trump administration has eliminated 22 old regulations for every one new regulation, Barletta said.
“Common sense isn’t so common in Washington,” Barletta said, explaining the need for deregulation.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition is a lobbying group for the natural gas drillers, and more than 100 people heard Barletta at the conference. The congressman said pipeline construction is the key to developing Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry.
“You have to get this product to market,” he said.
Barletta said natural gas without a pipeline is “like having a keg of beer without a tap.” The Marcellus Shale Coalition invited Casey to speak at the conference, and he declined, coalition spokeswoman Erica Wright said.
After leaving the conference, Barletta defended Trump’s approach to getting better trade deals by increasing tariffs on foreign goods.
“For far too long, the United States has come out on the short end of the tariff war,” Barletta said. “In doing this, there’s going to be some pain along the way. Eventually these counties are going to have a choice of either lowering tariffs on American goods or, which I do believe is the president’s goal, make them manufacture here.”
Barletta noted Trump “did say he will help those who are hurt along the way,” and he added he isn’t concerned the growing budget deficit will hurt the economy.
“The best way to reduce the deficit is to grow the economy, and we’re seeing the economy grow at a record pace,” Barletta said.
The Congressional Budget Office projected real gross domestic product would grow 3.1 percent this year, exceeding 2.2 percent growth in 2017. For the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the administration is projecting a budget deficit of
$890 billion — up 33.7 percent from last year’s deficit of $665.8 billion. The deficit is expected to top $1 trillion in the 2019 budget year.
Barletta arrived at the casino in his campaign bus. His “Red, White, & Lou” bus tour on Wednesday arrived from an earlier event in Centre County.
Two weeks ago, Barletta spoke at a Trump campaign rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Twp. Barletta said Thursday the rally gave his campaign some momentum.
“The rally definitely brought a lot of attention to the race,” he said. “There’s an important race here in Pennsylvania. The more I’m getting out, especially in western PA, the bigger the crowds and the better the reception.”
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