SARASOTA — Congressman Vern Buchanan announced today that Florida is set to receive $27 million in federal aid to confront the heroin and opioid crisis. The Congressman said he will ask Gov. Rick Scott to dedicate a sufficient share of that amount to his district, the epicenter of the heroin epidemic in Florida.
The funding is part of a $485 million national allocation included in the 21st Century Cures Act, which Buchanan supported. Florida is in line to receive the third-highest amount of funding of any state after California and Texas.
“The heroin epidemic is destroying families right here in Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as across the country,” Buchanan said. “These critical federal resources will go a long way toward supporting community action against heroin, fentanyl and other killer drugs.”
Buchanan’s district includes Manatee County, where due to the spike in heroin-related deaths, the local morgue was filled to capacity this past summer and forced to store bodies at other facilities.
“I want to make sure that this funding goes where it’s needed most – Florida’s Suncoast,” Buchanan said. “My district is suffering and this money will help save lives.”
The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. The law directs $500 million to anti-drug program grants within the Department of Health and Human Services. These programs take a multi-pronged approach to tackling drug problems by beefing up drug abuse treatment and prevention, training health care practitioners in best prescribing practices, and improving prescription monitoring.
The funding level was widely supported by both parties.
Earlier this year, Buchanan announced that he has co-sponsored the STOP Act (Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act) – legislation that will toughen screening of overseas shipments of deadly synthetic drugs coming into the United States.
Heroin deaths in Florida spiked 80 percent in 2015 compared to the year prior, according to the latest data made available by the state’s medical examiners commission. The same report also cited the fact that statewide, fentanyl-related deaths increased by more than 77 percent from 2014 to 2015.
“The drug crisis is taking too many of our loved ones from us each day,” Buchanan said. “Doctors, nurses and first responders need help to fight the mounting number of overdoses. I’m committed to pushing for additional resources here in Southwest Florida to address this public health emergency.”
The Congressman has been an active leader in addressing the opioid crisis in Florida. Last May, Buchanan chaired a hearing examining the impact of addiction on kids. He also hosted a roundtable in Bradenton, Fla. with local police officers, medical professionals and stakeholders. Buchanan also chaired a meeting of the bipartisan 29-member Florida congressional delegation in Washington, DC where members heard testimony from anti-drug experts. Buchanan serves as co-chair of the Florida delegation. In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration adopted Buchanan’s proposal to make it more difficult for abusers to obtain certain highly addictive narcotics.
SARASOTA — Jobs and the economy drove the discussion Wednesday when Congressman Vern Buchanan met with a group of nearly a dozen restaurant owners from Sarasota and Manatee counties.
Buchanan (middle, white shirt) addresses the group
The Congressman listened as the entrepreneurs discussed some of the financial challenges facing their businesses during the meeting at the Holiday Inn Sarasota-Airport. The meeting comes on the heels of a study released this week ranking Bradenton one of the best small cities in the U.S. to start a small business. According to the personal finance website WalletHub, Bradenton was ranked 114th out of 1,261 small cities around the country. Sarasota came in at 391.
The Congressman, a successful businessman before entering Congress, has called for an overhaul and simplification of the tax code to lower rates for individuals and small businesses.
“When our small businesses succeed, the Suncoast succeeds,” Buchanan told the group. “Your hard work helps to drive our economy and create jobs.”
John Horne, chief executive officer of Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Bradenton, was among the attendees.
“It’s nice to have a businessman representing us in Congress,” Horne said. “Congressman Buchanan understands these issues well.”
Buchanan represents the 16th Congressional District, which includes Manatee County, along with parts of Sarasota and Hillsborough Counties.
The area’s 1,500 restaurants employ more than 29,000 people in Buchanan’s district, according to the National Restaurant Association.
The Congressman also updated the group on his Main Street Fairness Act, a proposal to make sure that no small business in the country pays a higher tax rate than large corporations. The legislation picked up bipartisan steam earlier this month when Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.
“Tax reform will generate enormous economic growth and create jobs,” Buchanan said.
Fla. Residents Taxed $8,000 a Year
WASHINGTON – On the day federal tax filings are due, Congressman Vern Buchanan called for sweeping reform of the federal tax code and a reduction in tax rates for all Americans.
A record-high $700 billion in taxes was collected from individuals in the first half of fiscal year 2017, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Florida residents pay an average of $8,000 per year in federal income, payroll and estate taxes according to The Associated Press.
“Americans are paying a record amount in taxes to fund an ever-growing federal bureaucracy,” Buchanan said. “Hardworking families are struggling under a complex and punishing tax code. Our tax policies should incentivize job creation and economic growth, not punish people for working hard.”
Buchanan is also focused on making the tax filing process simpler.
“Filing and paying taxes is complicated and frustrating for American families,” Buchanan said. “I’m focused on enacting meaningful tax reform that would lower rates for all Americans and simplify the tax code so that nine out of 10 people could file on a postcard-sized form.”
At almost 4 million words the tax code is five times longer than the King James Bible. Americans spend 6.1 billion hours per year trying to make sure that they pay their taxes correctly. It is so complicated that former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman admitted he can’t do his own taxes, saying, “I find the tax code complex, so I use a preparer.”
“Simplifying the tax code and bringing down tax rates for families and small business owners will give the American economy a much-needed boost,” said Buchanan. “But we must also rein in federal spending. I’ve called for a Constitutional balanced budget amendment to ensure that Washington lives within its means.”
The Congressman said he was hopeful that an overhaul to the tax code would be completed this year in a bipartisan manner.
WASHINGTON – Noting the dangerous threat toxic algae poses to humans, marine life and the economy, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he has requested increased federal funding to combat red tide.
Red tide, also known as Karenia brevis algae, has lingered along Suncoast shores on and off for several months now, killing thousands of fish and discouraging potential visitors from taking in some of the country’s best beaches. Karenia brevis algae produces a toxin that can harm and kill a variety of animals, including birds, fish, sea turtles and marine mammals such as dolphins and the already endangered Florida manatee. In fact, the toxins from red tide blooms killed nearly 300 Florida manatees in 2013.
In a letter sent to the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, Buchanan requested increased funding to combat harmful algal blooms. Buchanan said the specific focus should be on red tide, within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The Congressman stressed the critical need for federal support as harmful algal blooms, including red tide, are occurring with “increasing frequency and severity across the country.”
Harmful algae blooms cause $82 million in economic losses to the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries each year in the U.S., according to NOAA.
“We need to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard the public and protect marine life and fragile coastal ecosystems,” Buchanan wrote. “Not only do harmful algal blooms deter tourists and upset related industries, they can be dangerous to humans as well.”
Human consumption of shellfish contaminated from red tide areas can cause serve illness and even lead to death in certain circumstances. Additionally, people who swim in red tide or inhale the toxins while near the water can suffer from severe respiratory issues, skin irritation and rashes. The state’s health department even advises that people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions like asthma are especially vulnerable and should steer clear of red tide waters.
Buchanan has an extensive record of preserving Florida’s waterways and pristine coastline. Earlier this year he co-chaired a bipartisan meeting of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation focused on combating red tide, toxic algae and examining other water quality issues. The Congressman also is a longtime opponent of drilling off the Gulf Coast. Last month Buchanan expressed his opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal to open up more than 70 million acres off the coast of Florida to oil and gas drilling over the next five years starting this August. He also backed legislation, signed by President Obama in 2016, that would protect estuaries, including Sarasota Bay.
Full text of the letter can be found below.
The Honorable John Culberson
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee of Commerce, Justice,
Science, and Related Agencies
H-309, the Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Jose Serrano
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,
Science, and Related Agencies
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Culberson and Raking Member Serrano,
Harmful algal blooms, including red tide, are occurring with increasing frequency and severity across the country. The toxic bacteria, which can cause respiratory problems and has been linked to acute liver failure, is particularly harmful to coastal communities dependent on clean water.
This threat to humans, marine life and the economy deserves our attention.
As you being your work on the fiscal year 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science funding bill, I respectfully ask that you include robust funding to combat these harmful algal blooms, with a specific focus on red tide, within NOAA’s National Ocean Service.
HABs are a growing national concern because of the widespread and lasting damage they cause to not only the health of humans, marine life, and coastal ecosystems, but to our local economies as well. In fact, due to its impacts on public health, tourism, seafood and other related industries, HABs occurring in U.S. marine waters are estimated to cost the U.S. over $80 million a year.
Currently, however, there is no effective method to combat some of the most challenging and devastating HABs, such as red tides caused by Karenia brevis algae, without severely affecting our marine ecosystems. Red tide outbreaks, which have affected the Gulf of Mexico since the 16th century can kill or sicken turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals, and even leads to massive fish kills. They also lead to widespread closures of shellfish beds from Florida trough Texas every year.
Perhaps most concerning, however, are the negative consequences HABs and red tide specifically have on people. Not only do harmful algal blooms deter tourists and upset related industries, they can be dangerous to humans as well.
People can become ill with Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) or even die as a result of consuming contaminated shellfish that has been exposed to HAB toxins. People who swim in red tide or inhale the toxins while near the water can also suffer from severe respiratory issues, skin irritation and rashes.
We need to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard the public and protect marine life and fragile coastal ecosystems.
I would also encourage you to collaborate with local and state partners and non-profit marine research institutions and universities to better utilize emerging technologies and cutting edge approaches to fight back against harmful algal blooms. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and for your leadership on the committee.
WASHINGTON – Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he is leading a bipartisan effort to overturn the weakening of critical protections for the Florida manatee.
Buchanan wrote to the Interior Secretary objecting to the downgrading in a letter signed by 11 Florida congressmen from both parties, including Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist and Daniel Webster.
“This decision was disappointing and potentially very harmful to the survival of the iconic Florida animal,” the letter said. “Based on widespread opposition from the public and scientists, we urge you to overturn this decision and restore manatees to endangered status.”
The letter said, “during the public comment period for the downlisting rule, nearly 87,000 comments opposed the rule with only 72 comments in support. We would also note that the scientists invited by the Fish and Wildlife Service to formally review the downlisting plan opposed weakening manatee protections.”
The Interior Department’s decision, finalized on March 30, downgraded the manatee’s protection status from “endangered” to “threatened.” Despite the agency’s assertion that a downlisting would not affect federal protections for the manatee, a move from endangered to threatened could cause a broader reassessment of state and local protections for the animals.
Buchanan noted that days after the agency’s proposal was first announced, Brevard County commissioners called on the Florida legislature to weaken manatee protections.
Manatee deaths are on the rise according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. There were 520 deaths in 2016, more than 100 of which were caused by boats and other watercraft.
“The manatee at one time was on the brink of extinction,” the group wrote. “We cannot support any action that could lead to such conditions again.”
Letter signers included Reps. Kathy Castor, Daniel Webster, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Frederica Wilson, Val Demings, Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy and Charlie Crist.
Manatees face a variety of threats to their existence, including watercraft collisions, habitat loss and red tide. Additionally, the warm water springs manatees depend on during the winter months for survival are disappearing.
Buchanan noted that 16 percent of Florida manatees died in 2013 as a result of a massive bloom of red tide algae as well as a mysterious ailment that killed a number of manatees along the state’s east coast.
Buchanan has previously written a formal objection letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service to emphasize that any push to weaken protections for the manatee would be “misguided and premature.” In 2014, following a three-year period in which 1,600 manatees died of cold weather or red tide, Buchanan also called on FWS to maintain federal protections for manatees.
Text of the letter below:
Dear Secretary Zinke,
We urge you to reconsider and reverse the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision last week to downgrade protections for the Florida manatee.
This decision was disappointing and potentially very harmful to the survival of the iconic Florida animal.
Despite the agency’s assertion that a downlisting from endangered to threatened would not affect federal protections for the manatee, the move could cause a broader reassessment of critical state and local protections for the animals.
In fact, just days after this rule proposal was announced, the Brevard County commissioners approved a resolution requesting that the Florida Legislature review slow-speed zones currently in place for boats and called for a reconsideration of the state’s Manatee Sanctuary Act, which established protections for manatees and their habitats in several counties, including Sarasota and Manatee.
As you may know, the manatee at one time was on the brink of extinction. We cannot support any action that could lead to such conditions again.
Manatees face a variety of threats to their existence, including watercraft collisions, habitat loss and red tide. Additionally, the warm water springs manatees depend on during the winter months are disappearing. We also would note that manatee deaths are on the rise, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
During the public comment period for the downlisting rule, nearly 87,000 comments opposed the rule with only 72 comments in support. We would also note that the scientists invited by the Fish and Wildlife Service to formally review the downlisting plan opposed weakening manatee protections.
Based on widespread opposition from the public and scientists, we urge you to overturn this decision and restore manatees to endangered status.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Washington Dysfunction Impedes Swift Action
WASHINGTON – Congress should create a rapid-response fund to combat deadly infectious diseases such as Zika and Ebola that threaten public health, Rep. Vern Buchanan said today.
Buchanan said this fund would allow the nation’s top disease fighters to respond immediately to disease outbreaks instead of waiting for a dysfunctional Congress to act. Buchanan’s home state of Florida was ground zero for the Zika virus last year and he had to fight for federal resources for nearly a year before funding was made available.
Buchanan led a group of 20 bipartisan members of Congress last week in sending a letter to the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies urging the creation of a $300 million fund designed to respond swiftly to disease outbreaks.
“We can’t afford to be caught flat-footed when a public health crisis hits,” Buchanan said in his letter, which was signed by 13 members of Florida’s delegation. “Every minute counts when it comes to saving lives and stopping the next pandemic.”
Similar to the disaster relief fund used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of a natural disaster, under Buchanan’s plan, the federal government should have a dedicated source of funding immediately available to mobilize a response to infectious disease outbreaks, such as Ebola and Zika.
The nation’s top public health experts strongly support the creation of this type of fund.
In an August 2016 interview, then-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden said: “I think the big picture is, we definitely need something like this. It’s crucially important that we have resources to respond rapidly. Epidemics move at one speed — Congress clearly moves at a different speed.”
According to Dr. Frieden, “in a public health emergency, speed is critical. A day, a week, a month, can make all of the difference… Three months in an epidemic is an eternity.”
Full text of the letter can be found below.
Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:
The federal government should be prepared to fight emerging infectious diseases as quickly as possible.
According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, an infectious disease expert and the former of head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “in a public health emergency, speed is critical. A day, a week, a month, can make all of the difference… Three months in an epidemic is an eternity.”
In the last decade alone, we have faced serious threats from H1N1 in 2009, MERS in 2012, Ebola in 2014, and of course the deadly Zika virus last year. Even worse, many have forewarned of future epidemics that could be spread by airborne transmission and therefore be far more contagious than Ebola or Zika.
And just this month Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned that the African yellow fever epidemic could soon spread to the United States.
Furthermore, many experts have concluded that the world will face new infectious diseases with rising frequency due to the increased globalization of people, travel and food. As Ron Klain, the previous administration’s Ebola Response Coordinator, famously asserted, “From now on, dangerous epidemics are going to be a regular fact of life” – a scary thought to say the least.
This is not only an urgent public health concern, it is a matter of national security. As former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper noted, “infectious diseases and vulnerabilities in the global supply chain for medical countermeasures will continue to pose a danger to U.S. national security.”
A fund for federal emergency response is not a new concept. In fact, for over four decades, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has drawn on the Disaster Relief Fund to help Americans quickly recover from hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. These funds allow FEMA to coordinate relief efforts and provide immediate aid and support to those affected.
The federal government should have a similar dedicated source of funding immediately available to mobilize a response to infectious disease outbreaks here in the U.S.
We cannot afford to be caught flat-footed or constrained in our ability to respond and provide aid in a timely and comprehensive manner when the next public health crisis emerges.
Therefore, as you begin work on the fiscal year fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill, we respectfully ask that you provide $300 million in reserve funding for the federal government to be able to immediately access to contain and eradicate future infectious disease epidemics.
While it was never signed into law, we were encouraged to see that your subcommittee included funding for a similar reserve last year. We thank you for your consideration of this request, and for your leadership on the committee.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan released the following statement after the U.S. launched an overnight missile strike against a Syrian air base.
“The U.S. strike against a Syrian air base was a measured and appropriate response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of banned chemical weapons,” Buchanan said. “I hope the president will now bring together the international community in a unified response against the Syrian government's unacceptable actions.”
WASHINGTON – The Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday awarded Congressman Vern Buchanan its “Legislative Leader” award for his work in Congress to protect animals.
Buchanan is presented with the award by Sara Amundson of the Humane Society
Buchanan co-chairs the bipartisan Animal Protection Caucus and last year was the first Congressman from Florida ever to receive the Humane Society’s top honor, Legislator of the Year.
The latest award was presented to Buchanan by Sara Amundson, the executive director and senior vice president of the Humane Society’s Legislative Fund, in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol last night. Buchanan was honored for his 2016 congressional record, which included support for outlawing horse slaughter, banning cosmetics testing on animals and protecting endangered species.
Humane Society CEO and President Wayne Pacelle said: “Representative Buchanan has been a forceful champion for animals again in 2016, as a lead sponsor of the SAFE Act to stop horse slaughter for human consumption and a sponsor of the AWARE Act to bring humane care standards to farm animals used in federal research. He also co-led a letter to the Department of Interior challenging plans for wild horses on federal land, and fought for endangered species, voting to sustain ESA protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states and challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its decision to downgrade manatees from endangered to threatened status. We are so grateful for his stalwart support and compassion.”
Buchanan said he was honored to be recognized for his record on animal welfare issues. “Safeguarding threatened wildlife and promoting animal welfare should be a nonpartisan issue important to everyone,” he said.
His strong record of defending animals includes opposing weaker protections for the manatee and urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restore a database of animal cruelty information that the department removed suddenly and without notice. He has also introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, bipartisan legislation that permanently bans the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico to be sold around the world.
Buchanan is also a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has fought to stop U.S. slaughterhouses from killing horses for human consumption.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a strong advocate of local conservation and wildlife protection, announced today he has asked a congressional panel to help preserve Sarasota Bay and other national estuaries.
Sarasota Bay is one of only 28 ecosystems in the entire country that have been formally designated by Congress as an “estuary of national significance.”
Buchanan and a group of other bipartisan members of Congress sent a letter to the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies urging full funding for the nation’s 28 national estuaries.
National estuaries like Sarasota Bay “play a key role in implementing national policies that result in better, more cost-effective coastal management that benefits states and local communities,” the group wrote.
The federal National Estuary Program provides critical resources to protect and restore the country’s vital estuaries and vulnerable wildlife.
Upon sending the letter, Buchanan said: “Sarasota Bay plays a key role in the Suncoast’s thriving economy and serves as a habitat for countless plants and wildlife. I will continue to fight for our estuary so residents and visitors can enjoy the bay for decades to come.”
Sarasota Bay is home to more than 1,400 native species of diverse plants and animals and it contributes nearly $1.8 billion to Florida’s economy, according to the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.
Estuaries, or bodies of water and their surrounding coastal habitats, are typically found where rivers flow into the open sea. They are home to some very unique plants and animals. They are also some of the most productive ecosystems in the world – many animal species rely on estuaries for primary sources of food, nesting and breeding.
Last year, President Obama signed into law a bill backed by Buchanan that reauthorized the National Estuary Program through 2021 and provides critical resources to protect and restore the country’s vital estuaries and vulnerable wildlife. It specifically authorizes $132.5 million over five years to help states and local partnerships develop and implement conservation and managements plans and address threats to estuaries.
Buchanan has an extensive record of preserving Florida’s waterways and pristine coastline. Earlier this year he co-chaired a bipartisan meeting of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation focused on combating red tide, toxic algae and examining other water quality issues. Additionally, the Congressman is a longtime opponent of drilling off the Gulf Coast. Last month Buchanan expressed his opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal to open up more than 70 million acres off the coast of Florida to oil and gas drilling over the next five years starting this August.
Full text of the letter can be found below.
March 30, 2017
The Honorable Ken Calvert
Chairman, Subcommittee on Interior
Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Betty McCollum
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Interior
Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member McCollum:
We are writing to thank you for your past support of the National Estuary Program (NEP), and ask you to continue to invest directly in the stewardship of our nation’s coasts by ensuring that each of the 28 NEPs in the field receives full funding in FY2018.
Each National Estuary Program:
In recent years, NEPs have been on the front lines of issues that demand a scientifically informed, community-based approach. As you know, NEP reforms were made during the 114th Congress through S.1523, which created a competitive grant program to address urgent challenges. We are asking for an additional $5 million of funding to support competitive grants for qualifying NEPs.
As the health of our coastal ecosystems decline, NEPs work to ensure that federal agencies work together with state, regional, NGO and private partners to better manage ocean and coastal resources for the benefit of the nation and to reduce conflicts, redundancies, and inefficiencies that waste time and money. The people who live and work near and on our estuaries have the greatest stake in sound coastal management, best understand the unique challenges and opportunities in those places, and know the right stakeholders to engage in crafting durable and effective solutions. NEPs play a key role in implementing national policies that result in better, more cost-effective coastal management that benefits states and local communities. Thank you for your strong support of these programs, and for considering our request.
BRADENTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan announced today that three teachers in the 16th Congressional District were chosen for the Congressional Teacher Awards.
The Congressman honored the recipients during a ceremony Friday evening at the Manatee County Board of County Commission Chambers in Bradenton.
Buchanan (top) addresses the group
The Congressional Teacher Awards, established by Buchanan in 2014, are given out annually to special Suncoast teachers for their outstanding achievements on behalf of students.
This year’s award recipients include:
Danielle Murphy for her accomplishments as a teacher at Boyette Springs Elementary in Riverview.
Carol Pelletier for her accomplishments as a teacher at Sarasota Military Academy Prep in Sarasota.
Emilee Vermilion for her accomplishments as a teacher at Southeast High School in Bradenton.
“I was once told that children are 25 percent of the population, but they are 100 percent of the future,” Buchanan said. “And it’s true. The education of a child and young adult is an investment, not only in that student, but in the future of our country. That is why I established the Congressional Teacher Awards to honor educators for their ability to teach and inspire students.”
This year, 27 teachers were nominated by their principals. An independent panel of eight judges from Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties chose the recipients of the Congressional Teacher Awards.
“On behalf of all of my constituents in the 16th Congressional District, I congratulate each of these outstanding teachers and offer my sincere appreciation for their service and dedication,” concluded Buchanan.
Each of the school districts in Florida’s 16th Congressional District nominated teachers to receive the Congressional Teacher Award. All of the nominated teachers were recognized by Buchanan Friday evening and honored by the Congressman in the Congressional Record for their achievements.Read More
2104 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is the only Florida member of Congress to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, international trade, health care and Social Security.
A self-made businessman, Buchanan understands that America’s economic strength flows from its entrepreneurial spirit and pro-growth, free-market policies. Buchanan has worked tirelessly to enact tax incentives to help small businesses, end burdensome regulations, and limit frivolous lawsuits.
In his fourth term, Buchanan is an outspoken advocate of reforming the U.S. tax code to make it simpler and fairer. He serves on the Trade and Health subcommittees on Ways and Means.
As a member of the Trade Subcommittee, Buchanan recognizes that international competitiveness is key to revitalizing the economy. He will seek to move three free trade agreements through the Congress and conduct oversight on U.S. trade relations with the European Union, China, India, among others.
Buchanan is also a member of the Health Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and employer-provided health insurance benefits. With 190,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Florida’s 16thDistrict, Buchanan is committed to preserving Medicare’s long-term solvency for senior citizens, as well as bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans.
And as the Chairman of the Friends of Panama Caucus, Buchanan will continue his efforts to help Port Manatee grow and capitalize on the upcoming expansion of the Panama Canal.
A strong fiscal conservative, the Congressman’s signature bill is the Buchanan Balanced Budget Amendment Act. He also introduced legislation to stop automatic pay raises for Members of Congress until the budget is balanced.
Congressman Buchanan’s previous committee assignments include the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and the House Small Business Committee, where he also served as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Finance and Tax.
Vern Buchanan grew up with five siblings in a blue collar household in a small town near Detroit, Michigan. He served six years in the Air National Guard and worked his way through college.
The self-made businessman is a respected leader in Florida’s business community. He chaired both the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the Board of the U.S. Chamber, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame.
In addition, Congressman Buchanan is a dedicated philanthropist, committing himself to diverse community causes, including the Boys and Girls Club, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes, the American Heart Walk, the Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Ringling Museum of Art.
A husband and father, Congressman Buchanan lives in Longboat Key, Florida with his wife of more than 30 years. Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan have two grown sons, James and Matt.