Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Homeland Security Chairman Backs Buchanan Bill

2016/02/11

WASHINGTON – The chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee said today he supports Rep. Vern Buchanan’s bill to keep terrorists out of America by screening the social media accounts of foreigners seeking entry into the country. 

Chairman Michael McCaul’s support comes on the heels of remarks made this week by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that ISIS continues to use social media to recruit and spread its propaganda.

Buchanan’s Social Media Screening For Terrorists Act, (H.R. 4301), directs the secretary of Homeland Security to vet all public records, including Facebook and other forms of social media, before admitting foreign travelers and visa applicants into the country.

“This legislation adds an important and necessary layer of screening that will go a long way in properly vetting the online activities of those wishing to enter the United States,” said McCaul, R-TX. “A simple check of social media accounts of foreign travelers and visa applicants will help ensure that those who have participated in, pledged allegiance to, or communicated with terrorist organizations cannot enter the United States. I know this will be a useful tool for the Department of Homeland Security and will aid in securing our homeland.”

During a Tuesday U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Clapper said that among radical jihadist groups, ISIS “is probably most proficient at harnessing social media to disseminate propaganda and solicit recruits among a broad audience. It is likely to continue these activities in 2016 by using videos, photos, and other propaganda glorifying life under ISIL rule and promoting the group’s military successes.” 

Clapper also acknowledged that ISIS has attempted to infiltrate the refugee population to move operatives into other countries. Following Clapper’s testimony, Buchanan called on Congress to immediately take action on his bill.

“The United States cannot be complacent as extremists try to spread their fanaticism and inspire attacks using social media,” Buchanan said. “We must do everything in our power to protect Americans.”

Buchanan’s bill, introduced after reports surfaced that one of the terrorists behind the San Bernardino killings had pledged support to Islamic jihad using Facebook, mirrors legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ.

Earlier this week Buchanan held a town hall in Sarasota in which McCaul praised the congressman for his work on the issue.

“We have 200,000 ISIS tweets per day,” McCaul said. “That’s one of our biggest challenges.”                                                                                                     

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Buchanan Cosponsors Bill To Combat Zika Outbreak

2016/02/09

"Congress Needs to Act Now"

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today cosponsored legislation to allow unspent federal funds to be transferred to the fight against the Zika virus.

The Zika Response and Safety Act (H.R. 4446) would allow government agencies to use over a billion dollars already appropriated by Congress for the Ebola response to contain the emerging threat posed by the Zika virus.

The virus is linked to the development of abnormally small heads in newborns – a birth defect called microcephaly – as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe and progressive neurological disorder.

“Pregnant women and their newborns are particularly vulnerable and need our help,” Buchanan said. “Congress needs to act now before the summer months arrive and the mosquito-borne virus becomes a burgeoning health crisis in Florida and other southern states.”

As of Monday the Florida Department of Health reported 16 Zika cases across seven counties. At least 50 people in the United States have been infected by the virus according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Buchanan’s announcement comes hours after the CDC declared that its emergency operations center has been put on a “Level 1” status – its highest level of activation – as a result of the Zika outbreak. The CDC has only put its operations center at Level 1 three times in the past: during the Ebola outbreak in 2014; during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009; and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

According to a September 2015 International Ebola Response and Preparedness Inspector General report, there is approximately $1.4 billion previously approved by Congress to fight the Ebola epidemic yet to be disbursed. The Zika Response and Safety Act will give federal agencies the flexibility to use these funds for Zika virus response and preparedness or fighting Ebola at their discretion.

On Monday Buchanan was one of the first in Congress to back using emergency federal funding to fight the virus. Buchanan said Congress should review the matter with an eye toward quick action to expand mosquito control programs and speed development of a vaccine.

People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis, according to the World Health Organization. Zika has been linked to thousands of infants born in Brazil with microcephaly.

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Buchanan Backs Funding to Attack Zika Virus

2016/02/08

“We Need to Get Ahead of This Emerging Threat”
 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, said today he supports emergency federal funding to address the growing health threat of the Zika virus, which presents a significant risk to pregnant women and their babies.

The mosquito-borne virus is linked to the development of abnormally small heads in newborns — a birth defect called microcephaly.

A public health emergency has been declared in Florida after 14 reported cases of Zika virus were found in a total of seven counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Lee, Santa Rosa, Osceola and St. Johns County. 

Buchanan said Congress should review the matter with an eye toward quick action to expand mosquito control programs and speed development of a vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 50 laboratory-confirmed cases among U.S. travelers from December 2015- February 5, 2016. The Pan American Health Organization reports 26 countries and territories in the Americas with local Zika transmission.

People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis, according to the World Health Organization. Zika has been linked to thousands of infants born in Brazil with microcephaly.

Buchanan said he was pleased to see the Obama administration also is focused on addressing the problem, which although currently prevalent in South America represents a threat to the United States, “We need to get ahead of this emerging threat,” Buchanan said.

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Buchanan Holds Homeland Security Town Hall with Chairman McCaul For Law Enforcement Officials

2016/02/07

SARASOTA – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, (FL-16), announced today that he will hold a town hall on homeland security for law enforcement officials with House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, (TX-10), in Sarasota on Monday, February 8, 2016. The Committee has oversight of the Department of Homeland Security ensuring it is able to carry out its core mission of protecting the American people from terrorist attacks. 

The event will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Sarasota County Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236. The public is invited to attend.

WHO: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting On Homeland Security

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. on Monday, February 8, 2016

WHERE: Sarasota County Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Please RSVP to Gretchen Andersen at Gretchen.G.Andersen@mail.house.gov

 

 

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Media Advisory: Buchanan To Hold Sarasota Town Hall

2016/02/04

SARASOTA – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, (FL-16), announced today that he will hold a listening session on national security, jobs and the economy in Sarasota this Saturday, February 6, 2016.

The event will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the New College Sainer Pavilion (Caples Campus) 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL.

WHO: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting On National Security, Jobs and the Economy

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

WHERE: New College Sainer Pavilion (Caples Campus) 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL.

Please RSVP to Gretchen Andersen at Gretchen.G.Andersen@mail.house.gov

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House OKs Buchanan Plan To End Taxpayer Ripoffs in Public Housing

2016/02/03

“Public Housing Should Be For Those Who Need It, Not Millionaires”
 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s measure to end taxpayer ripoffs in federally subsidized public housing was approved Tuesday by the U.S. House.

“Public housing should be for those who need it, not wealthy people with large bank accounts,” said Buchanan. “Our country is $19 trillion in debt yet we're giving subsidies to rich people?”

Buchanan's measure would tighten income and asset verification requirements. It was approved as an amendment to the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act H.R. 3700, which passed the House last night 427-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

According to an audit last year by the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a Nebraska tenant was approved to live in subsidized housing for 10 years with a monthly rent of just $300, despite having an annual income of $65,007, assets valued at $1.6 million, and savings, checking and retirement accounts each holding hundreds of thousands of dollars. The audit found that the federal government gave tax-subsidized, low-income housing to thousands of families who didn’t qualify while hundreds of thousands of needy families were left on waiting lists.

Buchanan’s amendment will require HUD to establish the means for public housing agencies (PHAs) and landlords to use existing databases to verify the income and assets of individuals receiving public housing benefits. Under current law, local PHAs and landlords rely on tenants self-reporting this information, which is time consuming to collect and verify.

The Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA), which provides affordable rental housing assistance to over 2,100 families in Sarasota, applauded Buchanan’s efforts. “This will also improve the accuracy and integrity of the programs and help ensure that the right amount of benefits are going to help the intended recipients,” said William Russell, president and chief executive officer of the SHA.

The executive director of the Manatee County Housing Authority, Rob Rogers, also supported the measure, saying, “Anything to reduce the burden on families, improve our administrative efficiency of the program and minimize the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse is welcomed.”

 

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No Public Housing for Millionaires

2016/02/02

Vote Follows HUD Audit Exposing Taxpayer Ripoffs
 

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House is expected to vote today on Rep. Vern Buchanan’s (R-FL) amendment to tighten income and asset verification requirements for public housing after an audit revealed that 25,000 families earned too much to qualify for these subsidies. The amendment is to H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.

According to an audit last year by the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a Nebraska tenant was approved to live in subsidized housing for 10 years with a monthly rent of just $300, despite having an annual income of $65,007, assets valued at $1.6 million, and savings, checking and retirement accounts each holding hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The audit found that the federal government gave tax-subsidized, low-income housing to thousands of families who didn’t qualify while hundreds of thousands of needy families were left on waiting lists.

The investigation found almost half of the families identified earned at least $10,000 more than HUD’s 2014 income limit.

“It is outrageous that taxpayers are footing the bill for millionaires’ housing,” said Buchanan. “This type of abuse hurts truly needy families and erodes faith in government. Holding HUD to the same standards used for other federal benefits will provide much-needed oversight on taxpayer funds and help create consistency across the vast array of assistance programs.”

Specifically, the amendment will require HUD to establish the means for public housing agencies (PHAs) and landlords to use existing databases to verify the income and assets of individuals receiving public housing benefits. Under current law, local PHAs and landlords rely on tenants self-reporting this information, which is time consuming to collect and verify. If Buchanan’s amendment is adopted, it will reduce the burden on families, improve the administrative efficiency for PHAs and landlords, and minimize the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse so limited resources are better targeted to families in need.   

 

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Rep. Buchanan to VA Secretary: “Move Faster”

2016/01/28

VA Says ID Card Won’t be Ready for Another Year

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan, R-FL, responding to reports that the Veterans Administration (VA) will take another year before issuing identification cards to the nation’s veterans, today called for the agency to “pick up the pace and move faster.”

In a letter to Secretary Robert McDonald, Buchanan urged the VA to help protect millions of American veterans at risk of identity theft by moving more swiftly to implement the Veterans Identification Card Act, which was signed into law by President Obama over six months ago. Buchanan introduced the bill on Jan. 6, 2015.

Buchanan asked the agency for information regarding specific steps it has taken to produce and issue the ID cards.

“The VA needs to pick up the pace and move faster on issuing identification cards to any veteran who wants one,” Buchanan said, expressing disappointment in the agency’s foot-dragging. “Another year is too long of a wait as millions of veterans remain vulnerable to identity theft.”

Currently millions of veterans are unable to document their service to our country without physically carrying around their official military service records. These records, referred to as DD-214 forms, contain sensitive personal information including social security numbers and service details that put veterans at higher, unnecessary risk for identity theft.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), veterans have twice the rate of identity theft than the general public nationwide.

Additionally, the law makes it easier for employers to verify an applicant’s service in the military and for veterans to take advantage of goods, services and promotional opportunities.

The Veterans Identification Card Act unanimously passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate last summer. The legislation was endorsed by AMVETS, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans for Common Sense and the Association of the U.S. Navy.

Full text of Buchanan’s letter is attached and can be found here.

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Wednesday: Buchanan to Visit IMG Academy

2016/01/26

Bradenton, FL – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, FL-16, will visit IMG Academy in Bradenton this week to discuss its impact on jobs and the economy.  Buchanan will tour the world-renowned school and sports training facility from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm on Wednesday, January 27. Press should enter the campus at 5650 Bollettieri Blvd, Bradenton, FL 34210. 

Who:               U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, FL-16

What:              Tour of IMG Academy

When:             Wednesday, January 27

11:15 am: Tour starts (Academic Center, Field House, Performance Center – current construction project, Campus Center – just opened in December, East Campus).

12:15 pm: Tour concludes back on West Campus with a press availability with Buchanan and IMG executives.

Where:            5650 Bollettieri Blvd, Bradenton, FL 34210

 

Notes:             Upon arrival, press should tell security that they are there for the Congressman’s tour beginning at the Academic Center and security will direct you to where you should park.


Please RSVP to Gretchen Andersen at Gretchen.G.Andersen@mail.house.gov

 

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Buchanan Measure Protecting Americans Against Identity Fraud Signed Into Law

2016/01/21

Florida Has Highest Identity Theft Rate in Nation

WASHINGTON — A sweeping new measure designed to safeguard the Social Security numbers of more than 100 million working Americans has been signed into law by President Obama, Congressman Vern Buchanan, FL-16, announced today.

Buchanan’s “Taxpayer Identity Protection Act,” rolled into the tax extenders bill, would allow employers to keep Social Security numbers off the most commonly used tax form, the W-2, which is a prime target of identity thieves. The tax extenders bill was signed by the President last month.

Buchanan’s announcement that his measure was signed into law comes as tax filing season opens this week across the nation.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) every employee that makes more than $600 in a year – the vast majority of the nation’s 150 million workers – receives a Form W-2, which they must file with their tax returns. Recent reports indicate that thieves are stealing these W-2s from people’s mailboxes to help them file fake returns and fraudulently claim tax refunds.

“This common-sense measure will help safeguard millions of Americans from the devastation of identity theft,” Buchanan said. “By limiting the use of Social Security numbers on tax forms we can help keep hardworking Americans’ personal information out of the hands of criminals.”

Buchanan’s bill takes millions of Social Security numbers out of circulation. Employers will be able to list only the last four digits of the number on a W-2.

Buchanan is urging the IRS to issue necessary guidance so employers and employees can use this provision immediately to protect workers from identity theft. 

Last year tax-related identity theft was listed as one of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams by the IRS. Additionally, identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) national ranking of consumer complaints for the 15th consecutive year.

Treasury Department officials have testified before Congress warning that senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to tax-related identity theft where criminals file false tax returns using a victim’s Social Security Number. Seniors are attractive targets because they are more likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and have good credit.

According to the FTC, Florida has the highest per capita rate of identity theft. Of the cities with the most identity theft complaints in 2014, 9 of the top 20 are in Florida. The FTC reports that more than 800 people in Sarasota, North Port and Bradenton logged complaints last year, earning the area the 39th spot on the agency’s list.

 

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Contact Information

2104 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5015
Fax 202-226-0828
buchanan.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

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.


Serving With

Jeff Miller

FLORIDA's 1st DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT

Ander Crenshaw

FLORIDA's 4th DISTRICT

Ron DeSantis

FLORIDA's 6th DISTRICT

John Mica

FLORIDA's 7th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Daniel Webster

FLORIDA's 10th DISTRICT

Rich Nugent

FLORIDA's 11th DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

David Jolly

FLORIDA's 13th DISTRICT

Dennis Ross

FLORIDA's 15th DISTRICT

Tom Rooney

FLORIDA's 17th DISTRICT

Curt Clawson

FLORIDA's 19th DISTRICT

Mario Diaz-Balart

FLORIDA's 25th DISTRICT

Carlos Curbelo

FLORIDA's 26th DISTRICT

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

FLORIDA's 27th DISTRICT

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