Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Buchanan Calls for SSA to Stop Harassment of Innocent Taxpayers

2014/12/16

CONTACT: MAX GOODMAN 202.225.5015 WASHINGTON– U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, Florida’s only member of the House Ways & Means Committee and its subcommittee on Social Security, sent a letter today to Commissioner Carolyn Colvin expressing “deep concern” over reports that the Social Security Administration is continuing to punish innocent taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debt.  Buchanan is the author of the Stop Punishing Innocent Taxpayers Act (H.R. 4491), legislation to bar the Social Security Administration from seizing tax refunds to settle debts that are more than 10 years old. Letter text below: December 16, 2014 The Honorable Carolyn Colvin Acting Commissioner Social Security Administration 6401 Security Boulevard Baltimore, MD 21235-0001 Dear Commissioner Colvin: I am writing to express my deep concern regarding reports that the Social Security Administration is continuing to punish innocent taxpayers whose parents may have received overpayments of government benefits decades ago.  Penalizing people for the government’s failure to correctly calculate their parents’ benefits is outrageous. In April of this year, press reports revealed that the Social Security Administration was targeting the tax refunds of more than 400,000 individuals for seizure due to overpayment of federal benefits.  In some instances, the overpayment claims related to funds received long ago – in some cases 50 years earlier – by now-deceased individuals.  To settle these debts, your administration seized tax refunds from the children of these individuals through a so-called “administrative offset.”  Days after these reports were published, you stated that the Social Security Administration would cease this practice immediately.  Yet just this week, the Washington Post revealed that your agency has continued to pursue the children of Social Security beneficiaries.  I am shocked your agency has apparently continued this practice irrespective of your pledge to end it. Seizing funds from people for decades-old overpayments to their parents is unacceptable, and I will work to stop it.  I have introduced the Stop Punishing Innocent Taxpayers Act to permanently restore a 10-year statute of limitations on old debts.  My bill would prevent the Social Security Administration from seizing tax refunds via “administrative offset” to settle overpayments that occurred more than a decade ago.  As Florida’s only member of the House Ways & Means Committee and its subcommittee on Social Security, I intend to reintroduce this bill when the new Congress convenes in January.  Sincerely, Vern Buchanan Member of Congress Please click here to download letter in PDF format. ### Read More

Lawmakers Blast Social Security for Targeting Family Members to Resolve Old Debts

2014/12/16


Buchanan Votes to Prevent Veteran Suicides

2014/12/10

[[{"fid":"262","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"height: 308px; width: 350px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, last night supported bipartisan legislation to help combat veteran suicide in the United States – a serious epidemic responsible for one out of every four suicides in the state of Florida.  The measure passed the House and now goes to the Senate for consideration.   The “Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act” (H.R. 5059) was named in honor of Marine Cpl. Clay Hunt, a veteran who fell victim to suicide while awaiting PTSD treatment from the VA.  Clay was a Purple Heart recipient who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.    “Clay’s story details the urgency needed in addressing this issue,” Clay’s mother recently said in testimony before Congress. “Not one more veteran should have to go through what Clay went through with the VA after returning home from war.”   Buchanan, who represents more than 66,000 veterans in Southwest Florida, said passage of the House bill is a critical first step toward reversing an epidemic that has been ignored for far too long.   “The growing prevalence of veteran suicide is a tragedy that must be stopped,” said Buchanan, noting that 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S.  “Every soldier returning from battle deserves access to the best mental health services our nation has to offer.”   Specifically, the bill would improve the VA’s suicide-prevention efforts by:   - Increasing veterans’ access to mental health services by creating active duty transition networks that offer community oriented peer support and outreach - Requiring annual third-party evaluation of mental health care programs provided by the VA and Department of Defense  - Providing readily available, regularly updated information on the VA’s mental health care services to veterans online - Boosting recruitment of qualified doctors to treat veterans by offering repayment of loan debt for potential VA psychiatrists    Buchanan served six years in the Air National Guard and four years on the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee.    ### Read More

Buchanan Named to Social Security Subcommittee on Ways & Means

2014/12/05

[[{"fid":"248","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Protecting Seniors’ Retirement Security Top Priority WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, has been named to the Social Security Subcommittee of Ways & Means, giving him a key role in preserving the vital retirement program for today’s seniors and future generations. Buchanan, a senior member of the committee, also serves on the Trade and Health subcommittees. “I am honored to be named to such an important subcommittee,” Buchanan said after incoming Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI, announced his selection. “Protecting Social Security has always been one of my highest priorities. Seniors have worked their entire lives with the promise of a safe retirement. That’s a promise we must always keep.” The Subcommittee on Social Security has jurisdiction over Social Security retirement, survivors and disability programs and oversees the operations of the Social Security Administration. The U.S. House passed legislation this week (H.R. 5739), co-sponsored by Buchanan, denying Social Security benefits to Nazi war criminals. The bill was originally introduced by Congressman Sam Johnson, a former POW in Vietnam and chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee. The Ways and Means Committee is the chief tax-writing body in the House of Representatives. The U.S. Constitution give it sole power in Congress to initiate tax bills, making it even more powerful than its counterpart in the Senate, the Finance Committee. Buchanan is the only member from Florida to serve on the Committee. ### Read More

Millions in Federal Benefits Going to Nazi War Criminals

2014/11/20

[[{"fid":"248","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Buchanan Co-sponsors Bill to End Obscene Giveaway “No Social Security for Hitler’s Henchmen” WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, announced today that he has co-sponsored legislation (H.R. 5739) denying Social Security benefits to Nazi war criminals. “No Social Security for Hitler’s henchmen,” Buchanan said, adding “At a time when our own war heroes are denied proper health care, it’s obscene that our government is rewarding former Nazis with Social Security benefits.” Buchanan is Florida’s only member of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee which has jurisdiction over Social Security. The Associated Press exposed a loophole in current law that has allowed dozens of former Nazis to collectively receive millions of dollars in Social Security payments long after they were forced out of the United States. Among those who benefited from American taxpayer dollars, according to the AP: Armed SS troops who guarded the Nazi network of death camps where millions of Jews perished. An SS guard who took part in the brutal liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland that killed as many as 13,000 Jews. A Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland. A German rocket scientist accused of using slave labor to build the V-2 rocket that pummeled London. He later won NASA's highest honor for helping to put a man on the moon. The bipartisan No Social Security for Nazis Act will end all public benefits to those denaturalized due to participation in Nazi persecutions or who voluntarily renounced their citizenship as part of a settlement with the Attorney General related to their participation in Nazi war atrocities. The measure also ensures the elimination of Nazi spouse benefits. The bill was introduced in the U.S. House last night by chief sponsor Congressman Sam Johnson, a former POW in Vietnam. (Click here to view AP report or click here to view bill text) ### Read More

Buchanan Decries Jerusalem Terror Attack

2014/11/18

[[{"fid":"248","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Buchanan Decries Jerusalem Terror Attack Says U.S. should freeze aid to Palestinian Authority WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today denounced the terrorist attack in a West Jerusalem synagogue that killed four rabbis in the middle of their morning prayers. Two Palestinians armed with meat cleavers and guns stormed the synagogue on Tuesday, slaughtering four worshippers – including three dual U.S. – Israeli nationals. The attackers were later killed in a police shootout. “This act of cold-blooded violence is an abomination,” said Buchanan. Buchanan urged the Administration to immediately freeze aid to the Palestinian Authority, saying it does not deserve American support. A 2011 Palestinian Media Watch report revealed that the Palestinian Authority was using U.S. aid to help pay millions in salaries to jailed terror suspects. Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed approximately $5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. “Releasing millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority is outrageous,” said Buchanan, the author of legislation (H.R. 276) to suspend foreign aid to neighboring Egypt. “How can we justify this? We need to send an undeniable message to the world that actions do indeed have consequences.” Secretary of State John Kerry announced last month that the U.S. will provide $212 million in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority to help rebuild the Gaza strip. ### Read More

Expelled Nazis Paid Millions in Social Security

2014/10/19


Buchanan to Tour Sarasota Memorial Hospital

2014/10/16

[[{"fid":"248","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Support Facility’s Readiness to Combat Ebola SARASOTA – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan will tour Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Friday and meet with health officials, doctors and nurses to gauge the facility’s readiness to effectively treat an Ebola patient. Buchanan also will discuss with hospital officials any needs they have regarding federal resources and guidelines to safely combat the deadly virus. Press should arrive by 1:00 p.m. Please contact Sarasota Memorial’s Kim Savage beforehand to reserve parking (941-893-7649). Buchanan has called for a temporary ban on all airline flights from countries in Africa where there are confirmed cases of Ebola. WHO: Congressman Vern Buchanan WHAT: Tour Sarasota Memorial Hospital –Support Facility’s Readiness to Combat Ebola WHEN: Friday October 17 at 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Sarasota Memorial Hospital – 1700 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. ### Read More

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins Today

2014/10/15

[[{"fid":"248","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Seniors can change coverage to meet their needs for 2015 WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, announced today the start of Medicare Open Enrollment which allows seniors a once-a-year opportunity to change their prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage coverage. The annual enrollment season runs through Dec. 7. Open enrollment gives Medicare recipients the opportunity to select a new plan based on annual changes in cost, coverage options and available providers or pharmacies. “Medicare is a vital program that affects more than 54,000 seniors in Sarasota and Manatee counties,” Buchanan said. “Open enrollment gives seniors the opportunity to select a new plan better suited to their changing needs.” Seniors may sign up or update their plans in two ways: Phone: Call 1-800-MEDICARE. Seniors should have their Medicare card, a list of drugs they use and the name of their pharmacy on hand to get immediate help in choosing a plan. Online: Go to Medicare.gov to review prescription drug coverage options. Everyone with Medicare is eligible for prescription drug coverage, regardless of income and resources, health status or current drug expenses. Seniors who are happy with their current plan don’t need to do anything. More details on Medicare Open Enrollment are available online in the U.S. Government Medicare handbook. Seniors, family members and caregivers can also ask questions and learn more about Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Constituents in need of additional assistance are encouraged to contact Buchanan’s Sarasota office at 941-951-6643 or Bradenton office at 941-747-9081. ### Read More

Buchanan to White House: Don't Close Gitmo

2014/10/10

[[{"fid":"248","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Bringing Dangerous Terrorists to U.S. a “Huge Mistake” WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today called the Obama Administration’s latest efforts to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay a “huge mistake,” saying “as America battles ISIS in the Middle East the last thing we should do is close a facility used to interrogate and house dangerous terrorists.” The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the White House is considering the use of executive power to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Such action would override a congressional ban on transferring detainees to the United States. “Why is the White House even discussing this as we battle a brutal enemy that has beheaded two Americans,” Buchanan asked. “Bringing dangerous terrorists into the U.S. makes no sense and sends the wrong message to our enemies and allies.” Guantanamo is currently home to 149 inmates arrested in connection with the U.S. war on terror, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and nine other detainees accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. ### 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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