Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Buchanan Votes to Strengthen Medicare for Florida Seniors

2015/03/26

Provides Seniors With Continued Access to Their Doctors WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, today voted for bipartisan legislation to strengthen Medicare and provide long-term certainty for our nation's seniors and veterans.  The measure to permanently repeal Medicare’s flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula establishes the most significant structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2) passed the House 392-37 and now moves to the Senate for consideration. “This bipartisan bill is a testament to what Washington can accomplish when we work together to solve problems that will improve the lives of others,” Buchanan said, noting President Obama's support for the reform.  “Passage of this critical measure will strengthen Medicare for our seniors and allow doctors to keep their doors open to millions of seniors and veterans." As Florida’s only member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Medicare program, Buchanan noted that the Sunshine State has the second-highest number of Medicare eligible seniors of any state in the nation.  There are 205,445 people eligible for Medicare in Sarasota and Manatee Counties which are located in Buchanan's congressional district. Buchanan also noted that since Medicare rates are linked to TRICARE, the health care program for military personnel, today’s reforms will also provide health care certainty to all military health care beneficiaries. The SGR formula enacted in 1997 has threatened to cut payments for medical services and jeopardize access to care for elderly patients.  Over the past 11 years, more than $160 billion has been spent on 17 legislative patches. The old SGR formula created an environment of uncertainty and instability in the health care profession. Faced with the prospect of repeated reductions in Medicare reimbursement rates, many doctors have said they would stop taking Medicare patients or leave the profession altogether.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that passage of today's permanent repeal will save taxpayers nearly $1 billion dollars over the next decade.   H.R. 2 also reauthorizes and funds the CHIP (Children Health Insurance Program) program through 2017 which provides health insurance to 473,000 children in Florida.  Buchanan was one of only 40 Republicans to support the last CHIP reauthorization in 2009. Read More

Buchanan Votes to Protect Taxpayers from IRS Abuses

2015/03/25

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a senior member of the House Ways & Means Committee, today voted for legislation that authorizes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to terminate any employee who targets individuals based on their political beliefs.   The "Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act" (H.R. 709) was passed out of Committee and now heads to the House floor for a vote.  "The IRS targeting of people because of their political beliefs is outrageous and unacceptable," Buchanan said.  "The freedom to criticize government without fear of retribution is what separates America from most of the world.  Today's bill sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of harassment and intimidation." Congress enacted legislation in 1998 which included a list of "10 Deadly Sins" for which an IRS employee could be fired without having to go through the normal termination process.  The targeting of a taxpayer or group based on their political beliefs is not currently on that list.    Buchanan also voted for the following reforms to make the IRS more transparent and accountable to American taxpayers: Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act (H.R. 1058) -- guarantee that taxpayers working with the IRS have the right of appeal, the right to confidentiality, and the right to be assisted and informed.  IRS Email Transparency Act (H.R. 1152) -- prohibits IRS employees from using a personal email account to conduct any official business Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act (H.R. 1104) -- ensures fair and equal treatment for Americans who donate to most types of tax-exempt organizations.  "We are never going to rebuild the prosperity that was once the envy of the world until we put an end to Washington overreach and abuse," Buchanan said.  "I will continue to fight against any government effort to diminish the constitutional rights Read More

Rep. Buchanan Urges Tough Stance Vs. Iran

2015/03/23

Secretary of State Claims "Progress” as Ayatollah says "Death to America"  WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today called on Secretary of State John Kerry to hold a hard line with Iran after its supreme leader publicly shouted "Death to America" during a speech in Tehran over the weekend.  The hate-filled remarks by  Ayatollah Khamenei came on the same day Secretary Kerry claimed that "substantial progress" has been made toward an agreement on Iran's nuclear capabilities.   "The U.S. should stand strong against any regime that calls for death to America," Buchanan said. "It's time to let the world know that America is serious about protecting its interests and its allies." Buchanan expressed serious concerns over reports that the current agreement being negotiated would allow Iran to continue to operate up to 6,000 centrifuges.  The U.S initially sought to reduce the number of centrifuges to 1,500 from the 10,000 in service now. "Accepting any agreement that leaves the door open to Iran's continued pursuit of a nuclear weapon should be a non-starter," Buchanan said.  "No deal is better than a bad deal." Both sides have said they hope to complete the framework of a final nuclear deal by the end of March and reach a full agreement by June 30.   Read More

Buchanan Named to House Budget Committee

2015/03/18

  Rep. Buchanan Speaks at Budget Markup Click on Image to View Video WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, has been appointed to the House Budget Committee, giving him a key role in reducing the debt, addressing Washington's out-of-control spending and preserving America's future.   The Budget Committee is responsible for developing the annual budget, which provides a framework for federal spending, revenue levels and the fiscal policy of the United States.  The Committee, chaired by Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, also explores a number of reforms to ensure greater transparency, accountability, and certainty in the federal budgeting process.   "I ran for Congress because I wanted to leave a better America for the next generation," said Buchanan, who is also a senior member of the House Ways & Means Committee.  "Washington's irresponsible spending policies have created a mountain of debt for our children and grandchildren.  As a businessman for over 30 years, I know what it means to balance a budget and meet a payroll.  I look forward to joining Chairman Price and the other committee members as we work to grow the economy, create jobs, and reduce the massive federal deficit." House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI, said “Vern knows better than anybody how important it is to balance a budget and protect seniors in retirement, and he’ll be an important voice on the committee.” Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price said “As the House Budget Committee is working to advance policies to address our nation’s fiscal and economic challenges, Congressman Buchanan will be an invaluable part of this team effort. I appreciate him joining the committee as we work to advance positive, responsible solutions.” Buchanan said he was looking forward to voting for a budget resolution later today that cuts $5.5 trillion in spending, reduces the federal debt by $5.6 trillion, and balances the budget in nine years.  The plan also calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the first measure Buchanan introduced as a member of Congress. Read More

Buchanan Fox News Op-Ed: We can’t let FCC ruling undermine free market

2015/03/16

Net Neutrality Fight: We can't let FCC ruling undermine free market   By Rep. Vern Buchanan, member of the House Ways and Means Committee FoxNews.com Published March 09, 2015 The Federal Communications Commission’s vote last week to regulate the Internet shows a dangerous and reckless disregard for the free market principles that are the engine of the U.S. economy. As a member of Congress and a businessman for over 30 years, I strongly oppose FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s unprecedented plan to reclassify the Internet as a public utility. A massive layer of government regulation — 332 pages to be exact — not only threatens the online freedoms enjoyed by Americans across the country but stifles the innovation and entrepreneurship that is the lifeblood of the digital economy. As I reminded Chairman Wheeler in a letter last month, the Internet’s rapid proliferation is the result of exceptional American innovation, free of government intrusion. Government regulation of the Internet is all too common in countries like China, Iran and North Korea. That is not a model for America. The Progressive Policy Institute estimated that treating the Internet like a phone service, as the FCC voted to do last week, would trigger new taxes and fees up to $15 billion a year, including $67 for each wired service and $72 for wireless in state and local taxes. I agree wholeheartedly with FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who voted against this scheme, when he said the proposal "mimics ObamaCare” both in substance and process and represents “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.” The Internet is working just fine – it has been for the nearly two decades since its inception. As the saying goes – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Mark Cuban, a successful Internet businessman, put it more succinctly when he was asked about the FCC’s plan last week:  “That will (foul) everything up." It is telling that Chairman Wheeler refused to testify before Congress about his plan before he put it to the Commission for a vote. It is also telling that a Democrat FCC Commissioner called on Chairman Wheelerto roll back parts of this sweeping plan so the Commissioners and the public could have more time to consider it. It is ironic that the FCC’s own mission statement on its own website says the Commission is supposed to be tasked with “promoting competition, innovation and investment in broadband services and facilities.” The plan approved last week will have exactly the opposite effect. I have a responsibility to my constituents to provide oversight of the FCC and ensure that its actions do not harm the very people it is supposed to serve. However, I fear that is precisely what will happen as a result of the FCC’s action last week. That is why I support a resolution of disapproval to overturn this outrageous power grab by FCC bureaucrats. Under the Congressional Review Act,  Congress has expedited authority to stop federal regulations after they are issued. It's important that Congress pass this resolution even if President Obama vetoes it.  It should also be noted that President Obama has expressed support for just the type of regulatory frame work approved by the FCC last week. In classic Orwellian double speak, the FCC and President Obama have cynically dubbed this proposal ‘network neutrality.’ Make no mistake: there is nothing neutral about it! “Net neutrality” is nothing more than cynical political spin that Don Draper of the TV show "Mad Men" would be proud of. America has always been a beacon of freedom, and we must continue to lead as a model for other nations in this digital age.  At a time when many Americans feel their freedoms are being threatened by government overreach, the last thing we need is a new layer of government regulation that hinders access to a free and open Internet. Republican Vern Buchanan represents Florida's 16th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently serving his fifth term in the House of Representatives and is Florida’s only member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Read More

Forbes on Buchanan Letter to Obama on Tax Hikes By Executive Action

2015/03/12

Obama Tax Hikes By Executive Action Versus The Constitution By Robert W. Wood Forbes.com             March 9, 2015 Key Excerpts Below: “In any case, the President likes the idea of executive action on taxes. Yet there is new talk of separation of powers. It must seem déjà vu to the former Constitutional Law professor Mr. Obama once was. There is some backlash already. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, strongly objected to the President’s stated “interest” in raising taxes through executive action. “In a letter to the President, Rep. Buchanan reminded that, “we have a document called the United States Constitution that clearly spells out which branch of government has the authority to “lay and collect taxes,” — and it is the Congress — not the President.” Rep. Buchanan also sent a copy of the letter to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew. It is at least indelicate to be reminding a sitting president that: “’Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution is clear on this matter — only Congress has the power to tax. The statement by your press secretary this week that you are ‘very interested’ in reshaping the tax code through unilateral action would be a clear violation of the Constitution and continue a disturbing lack of bipartisanship.” “’I remind you that the last successful tax reform effort, nearly 30 years ago, required President Reagan and a Democratic Congress to find common ground. But unilateral action could poison the well of goodwill that is necessary to tackle this urgent challenge in a bipartisan manner.” “Up until now, of course, tax laws have been passed by Congress and administered by the IRS and Treasury Department. But in Mr. Obama’s defense, the precise line between administration of existing taxes and forging new ones can at times be blurred. Sen. Sanders who originally proposed the idea has characterized the tax hikes in question more in the nature of closing corporate tax loopholes. The executive action, Sen. Sanders suggests, would not be implementing new taxes. Maybe, but the President seems enamored enough with his executive action powers that these reminders do not seem entirely specious. Even the IRS is traditionally reluctant to act by fiat.                       ..... “According to Press Secretary Earnest, “the president has asked his team to examine the array of executive authorities that are available to him to try to make progress on his goals. So I am not in a position to talk in any detail at this point, but the President is very interested in this avenue generally.” President Obama likes to raise taxes and to enact new ones, as his budget makes clear. "Sen. Sanders wants the President to fix “check the box” rules that allow multinational corporations to shield profits from taxation. He also wants to end the tax break for carried interests. But as long as executive action may expand to tax, it is worth asking what else from President Obama’s budget might be considered. There are many tax proposals in his budget.” Read More

Buchanan to Obama Administration: Hands Off Medicare Advantage

2015/03/10

54,000 Seniors in FL-16 Enrolled in Vital Program   WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, urged the Obama administration to withdraw a proposed cut in the federal government’s reimbursement rate for Medicare Advantage. In a letter to Acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt, Buchanan warned that 54,000 of his constituents could be at risk of losing their coverage or face higher out-of-pocket costs under the cuts. Buchanan sent a letter to CMS last year urging them to abandon a similar plan to cut Medicare Advantage. CMS subsequently withdrew the plan. The text of the letter is below. March 6, 2015 Andy Slavitt Acting Administrator Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 445-G Washington, D.C. 20201 Dear Acting Administrator Slavitt, I write to express my strong opposition to a proposed cut in the federal government’s reimbursement rate for Medicare Advantage health plans, which cover 54,000 seniors in my congressional district. If these cuts were to take effect, up to 16 million Americans across the nation would be in jeopardy of losing their coverage or facing higher out-of-pocket costs. Many of these senior citizens are now living on fixed incomes and cannot bear the added financial burden of higher health care expenses. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have already seen cuts of approximately 10 percent over the past two years.  To make matters worse, another round of cuts to the program from the President’s health care law is slated to go into effect this year.  I am concerned that insurance companies would stop offering certain plans as a result of these new, additional cuts that you have proposed.  Medicare Advantage plans have a proven track record of improving health outcomes, reducing costs, and offering much needed personal choice to seniors.  On behalf of the seniors in my congressional district enrolled in Medicare Advantage, I urge CMS to reverse this dangerous proposal before millions are adversely affected.  In February of last year, I wrote to your agency expressing serious concerns about the Administration’s proposed Medicare Advantage cuts for 2015.  I was encouraged when CMS withdrew the plan. I urge you to do the same on behalf of 16 million seniors.  Sincerely, /s/ Vern Buchanan Member of Congress  Read More

Senior Ways and Means Member Blasts White House Tax Scheme

2015/03/05

Constitution Prevents President From Raising Taxes Via Executive Action  Article 1, Section 8:  "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes..." WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, strongly objected today to President Obama's stated "interest" in raising taxes through executive action. In releasing the text of his letter, Buchanan reminded the White House that, "we have a document called the United States Constitution that clearly spells out which branch of government has the authority to "lay and collect taxes," -- and it is the Congress -- not the President." Buchanan also sent a copy of the letter to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew. You can view the letter HERE The text of the letter is below:   March 5, 2015 The Honorable Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President: I am writing to express my strongest possible objection at reports that you are “very interested” in raising taxes through executive action. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution is clear on this matter — only Congress has the power to tax. The statement by your press secretary this week that you are “very interested” in reshaping the tax code through unilateral action would be a clear violation of the Constitution and continue a disturbing lack of bipartisanship.  As a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, I stand ready to work with your administration on a bipartisan plan to lower rates and simplify the tax code. I remind you that the last successful tax reform effort, nearly 30 years ago, required President Reagan and a Democratic Congress to find common ground.  But unilateral action could poison the well of goodwill that is necessary to tackle this urgent challenge in a bipartisan manner. Our international tax system is in desperate need of reform.  U.S. companies face stiff competition from foreign firms, our national debt has grown to more than $18 trillion, and we have too few good-paying jobs for American workers.  Addressing these issues has to be the guiding principle for international tax reform. We need to fundamentally reform our tax code to make America more competitive.  We may have different opinions about specific elements of such reform.  But by working together to find common ground, we can ensure that all Americans reap the benefits of tax reform.   Sincerely,  /s/ Vern Buchanan Member of Congress   cc: The Honorable Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury Read More

Buchanan CNBC Op-Ed: A prime opportunity to turbo-charge our economy

2015/03/05

A prime opportunity to turbo-charge our economy By Rep. Vern Buchanan, member of the House Ways and Means Committee After the Allied victory in World War II, James Forrestal, the first U.S. Secretary of Defense, remarked "the only way in which a durable peace can be created is by world-wide restoration of economic activity and international trade." I saw the truth of Secretary Forrestal's words firsthand recently when I traveled to Asia on a trade mission led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The purpose of our visit was to promote U.S. trade interests and strengthen relationships with our regional partners to advance ongoing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This pending trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other countries offers us a prime opportunity to turbo-charge our economy by eliminating tariffs and expanding American exports. The countries involved in TPP account for 40 percent of global economic output and nearly a third of all world trade. I spoke at length with political and business leaders in three of these countries — Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. A U.S.-Japan agreement is absolutely critical to the success of TPP. And while there is still much to be negotiated, after speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, I am encouraged that he is committed to working together and achieving a robust final agreement that is in the mutual interests of our two countries. At a time when the American people are rightly concerned about global instability, anemic economic growth and a lack of good-paying jobs, trade agreements like TPP are more important than ever. Trade deals like the TPP are not a panacea that will solve all of our nation's problems. But the TPP will make appreciable progress in many of these areas of concern. As the late Rep. Sam Gibbons, a fellow Floridian and a former Chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, often said, "countries that trade with each other don't go to war with each other." It has been said that the best economic stimulus is a job. The promotion of free and fair trade is one of the most important things Congress can do to create jobs. I was pleased to see President Obama echo this sentiment in his State of the Union address last month when he called for Congress to come together and fight for "strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren't just free, but fair.” My constituents in Southwest Florida know this well. In Florida alone, there are 15 ports which generate over $96 billion in economic value to the state. The Florida Ports Council estimates that these facilities are responsible for 680,000 direct and indirect jobs, approximately 13 percent of Florida's GDP and $2.4 billion in state and local taxes. Implementation of TPP would also provide Florida with a huge opportunity to increase exports of goods such as aerospace products, computer equipment, and travel services to new foreign markets around the globe. I impressed upon the leaders I met with the tremendous, mutually beneficial opportunities TPP presents for our countries. I do not want to see the United States miss an opportunity to expand and sell more American products in new and emerging markets in Asia because the work is too hard or politically difficult. I do not want to see the United States fall behind while other countries like China reap the rewards of economic growth from international trade. Bipartisan trade agreements could serve as an excellent example of what Washington can accomplish when both parties come together to help create jobs and increase America's competitiveness in the global marketplace.   Commentary by Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida who is currently serving his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and a senior member of the Trade Subcommittee. Follow him on Twitter@VernBuchanan.       Read More

Buchanan Praises Israel Leader’s Fight Against Terrorism

2015/03/03

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, made the following statement after attending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress:    “I applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu's unwavering resolve in the face of existential threats to the democratic state of Israel.” Buchanan said. “The Prime Minister has reaffirmed and strengthened the special bond between our two great democracies and our shared fight against radical Islam. It is my hope that the Prime Minister’s address will be heard by Secretary of State John Kerry as he negotiates with Iran over that country’s push for a nuclear weapon.”   Buchanan said a nuclear-armed Iran threatens the security of the Middle East, the United States and the world.  “By no means should the United States accept any agreement that leaves the door open to Iran's continued pursuit of a nuclear weapon.  No deal is better than a bad deal." Read More

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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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