Meuser Sworn Into Congress

January 4, 2019 GMT

WASHINGTON — Dan Meuser enjoyed his first day as the congressman from Pennsylvania’s 9th District on Thursday, but more for what occurred off the floor of the House of Representatives instead of on it.

“I feel as if it exceeded expectations,” the Luzerne County businessman said after taking the oath of office to represent all or part of eight counties. “The staff is going to do a great job.”

About 60 people from the 9th District came to celebrate with Meuser.

Furthermore, he made it clear where he stood on the most contentious issue the House is facing: funding for a wall or other barrier along all or part of the border with Mexico.

“Find the funding for our border security,” Meuser said. “If we don’t do it now, when?”

Meuser, of Dallas, captured his seat in November by defeating Columbia County Democrat Denny Wolff to win the 9th District. He is part of an evenly split delegation of nine Republicans and nine Democrats.

Considered a solidly Republican district, the 9th includes all of Carbon, Columbia, Lebanon, Montour and Schuylkill counties and parts of Berks, Luzerne and Northumberland counties.

More notably, he is in the minority, as the Democrats seized control of the House in the November elections. Republicans, however, actually increased their majority in the Senate, resulting in a divided Congress as well as divided government.

Amid the pomp and ceremony of Democrat Nancy Pelosi regaining her title of speaker of the House, Meuser is optimistic about the budget stalemate that has led to a partial government shutdown.

“I think it won’t last very long, Tuesday at the latest,” he said. “We need to deliver what the people are asking for, border security.”

President Donald Trump has asked for $5 billion for the wall, while the Democrats are offering $1.3 billion for border security with no money for a wall.

Meuser said he has plenty of other concerns on which he wants to work in order to benefit the district.

“We need to stabilize health costs,” he said. “We need better health protection. They do care a lot about illegal immigration.”

Economic revitalization also is a big concern, especially for Schuylkill County, along with flood prevention and the opioid crisis, according to Meuser.

Meuser also said he is opening six offices in his district, including ones in Pottsville, which is the geographical center of the 9th District; the Reading Airport; and Carbon, Lebanon, Luzerne and Northumberland counties.

“We’re sharing them with state representatives and state senators,” he said.

He said he is meeting Pennsylvania’s other representatives and is impressed, especially with the dean of the delegation, U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson.

As for his committee assignments, Meuser said the state delegation has voted for him for the Appropriations Committee, which is considered by many political experts to be one of the most powerful committees in the House. He said he also is interested in agriculture, transportation, veterans affairs and workforce development.

“I’m just all in” on the issues of most concern to the 9th District, Meuser said.

Contact the writer:

pbortner@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6014