A TV spot began airing in Harrisburg on Wednesday that criticizes U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, for his involvement in the government shutdown.
The ad puts Barletta in with the Tea Party, and points the finger at him and them for their role in the ongoing federal government shutdown.
“Lou Barletta joined with Tea Party Republicans in Congress and shut down our government, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, putting critical benefits for veterans, seniors and the disabled at risk, denying cancer treatment for kids and halting food inspections,” a narrator on the ad says.
Barletta, whose 11th Congressional District includes portions of Luzerne County and heads south into the Harrisburg region, had said he would vote for a clean continuing resolution to keep the government open, but on Tuesday he told The Times Leader and other media outlets that he has changed his mind and would only support a spending plan that included the repeal of the medical device tax requirement included as part of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.
The flip flopping was noted by Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change, the liberal political action committee responsible for the ad.
“Make no mistake. Congressman Barletta refusing to support clean legislation to keep the government open at the 11th hour was the act of a politician that welcomed a shutdown,” the ad said. The narrator urges viewers to: “Call Congressman Barletta. Tell him to do his job. End the Tea Party shutdown of our government.”
Woodhouse said, “Barletta has a chance to get right with his constituents by calling on Speaker Boehner to allow a vote on a clean CR today before any more middle class families get hurt. Just vote, already.”
Lance Stange, Barletta’s campaign spokesman, chided the ad.
“Families in the 11th District aren’t going to buy these false attacks,” he said. “The House passed several bi-partisan bills to keep the government open and fund critical services. The Senate rejected each of them, shutting down the government. Rep. Barletta remains committed to discussing how we can re-open the government and pay our bills whenever the Senate decides to have that conversation.”
Lauren Weiner, a spokeswoman for Americans United for Change, said the Harrisburg market was “the most efficient place for us to reach folks. We’ll be running ads in 10 districts total through next week.”
The overall price tag of the ad buy is in the six figures, she said, but she wouldn’t release specifics or money spent per district.