Barletta to stay in Congress, Trump picks Labor secretary

Written by Tim Lambert, WITF Multimedia News Director | Dec 8, 2016 11:35 AM

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., arrives for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Washington) -- A midstate congressman says he has withdrawn his name from consideration for secretary of labor in the incoming Trump administration.

Republican Lou Barletta says after much thought, prayer and discussion with his family, he has decided to remain in Congress.

Late last month, he met with President-elect Donald Trump about a potential position with the administration.

"It was a great pleasure to meet with President-Elect Trump to discuss his transition to office and our mutual goal of moving America forward," he said in a statement. "We share many priorities for the future of the country, including protecting and growing American jobs, strengthening national security, enforcing our immigration laws, and rejuvenating our crumbling infrastructure system."

Barletta had been mentioned as a potential transportation secretary.

But after visiting with Trump, the lawmaker told reporters they talked about him serving as the labor secetary.

"It was a tremendous honor for President-elect Trump to ask me to consider taking a place in his administration," he said. "Because of my involvement in the president-elect's campaign and my relationship with the incoming administration, I will have an opportunity in the House of Representatives to accomplish more on a variety of issues that I have cared about for so long, including immigration policy, transportation infrastructure, and jobs."

Barletta serves on the president-elect's transition team executive committee.

His congressional district represents all of Columbia and portions of Cumberland, Dauphin, Northumberland and Perry counties.

Trump is expected to pick fast-food executive Andrew Puzder to lead the Labor Department, according to a Republican official and a person close to Trump's transition. 

Puzder heads CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of Carl's Jr., Hardee's and other chains. He opposes raising the minimum wage.

His selection would bring another wealthy business person and elite donor into Trump's Cabinet.  

The Californian was one of Trump's earliest campaign financiers.

Puzder was a co-chairman of Trump's California finance team, and he was organizing fundraisers well before most major donors got on board with the Republican presidential nominee.  

The Republican official and the person close to the transition weren't authorized to disclose the expected nomination before Trump's official announcement, and they spoke on condition of anonymity. 

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