Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

First Mosquito Transmitted Zika Cases “Likely” in Fla.

2016/07/29

WASHINGTON – Citing reports that four cases of Zika virus in Florida were likely transmitted by mosquitoes, Congressman Vern Buchanan today called for all necessary federal resources to be immediately directed to Florida.

The announcement marks the first time Zika has been found to be transmitted via infected mosquitoes within the continental United States.

The Florida Department of Health today said they have gathered enough information as part of its ongoing investigation into non-travel related cases of Zika in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to conclude that “a high likelihood exists that four cases are the result of local transmission.” The agency believes that the local transmission is occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County.

“This is exactly what the nation’s top disease fighters alerted Congress about for months,” Buchanan said. “It’s critical now that we immediately direct all necessary federal resources to this health crisis to protect the public. Millions of Floridians – and Americans at large – are at risk as the hot summer months roll on and mosquitoes continue to spread.”

The announcement arrives one day after the Food and Drug Administration requested that all blood centers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties immediately stop collections.

As of July 28, there are 381 confirmed Zika cases statewide, including 53 that involve pregnant women, according to the FDOH. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said across the U.S. there are 1,658 travel-related cases.

“Let’s be clear about the people that are most affected by this virus: pregnant mothers and their children,” Buchanan said. “We should be laser-focused on protecting the most vulnerable among us. Florida is ground zero for Zika.”

The FDOH is conducting door-to-door outreach about the Zika virus and sample collections are underway in all cases.

In July, Senate Democrats voted to block a must-pass Zika funding bill previously approved by the U.S. House. The Senate brought up the bill again in a last ditch effort before Congress went home, however the funding was again blocked. As a result, no congressional action will be taken on the Zika emergency funding until after Sept. 5.

Buchanan has pushed for full emergency funding for a swift Zika response and has hosted multiple public health experts in meetings and public events in Florida and Washington to talk about the virus. He also wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership urging the Zika conferees to provide the full amount of emergency funding requested by the Obama administration.

The Congressman was the first Republican in the U.S. House to support President Obama’s request for full funding to fight the Zika virus. The emergency funding would expand education, prevention, and mosquito control programs, improve diagnostics and testing, speed the development of a vaccine, and boost research into the complications of contracting the virus.

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Defenseless Priest Slaughtered As Terrorists Chant “Allahu Akbar”

2016/07/26

“ISIS MUST BE DESTROYED” 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., today condemned the murder of an elderly priest in France, saying America and its allies must do everything possible to destroy the Islamic State and end its genocide against Christians.

“The terrorist attack in France today was a heinous act of cowardice,” Buchanan said. “It’s been five months since Congress declared, with my strong support, that the extermination of Christians by ISIS constituted genocide. We need a stronger, more coherent plan from the administration on how to destroy the Islamic State and prevent such atrocities. ISIS must be destroyed.”

Since declaring a caliphate over two years ago, ISIS has decimated the Christian population of Iraq and Syria. According to The Christian Times, fewer than 250,000 Christians are left in Iraq – home of an ancient tradition of deep Christian faith. And while some estimates put the number of Iraqi Christians at 2 million before the ISIS occupation began, a new joint report issued by four nongovernmental organizations has warned that they are “on the verge of disappearing.”

Buchanan said that in light of the attacks in Germany this weekend, and France today, the U.S. must suspend its Syrian refugee program until adequate vetting systems are in place. He’s also called for the mandatory screening of social media for incoming foreigners and for the administration to focus on combating online radicalization.

“The president needs to ensure that Americans are safe, and that such attacks against Christians will not happen in the U.S.,” Buchanan said. “We are at war with radical Islam and ISIS terrorists.”

Earlier this spring, the Congressman called on the State Department to designate the slaughter of Christians by ISIS as genocide – an official term previously used only once in history by an administration while a conflict was ongoing. Secretary of State John Kerry several days later formally declared the Islamic State’s violent acts against Christians as genocide following increasing pressure from Congress, and influential world leaders like Pope Francis, the European Parliament and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Buchanan also supported legislation approved by the U.S. House recognizing the terror campaign being waged by ISIS as genocide. The resolution, H.Con.Res. 75, states that “those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minoritiesand who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, are committing, and are hereby declared to be committing, “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “genocide.” 

On Tuesday two ISIS terrorists took five people hostage – a priest, two nuns and two worshipers – while storming a morning Mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, reportedly screaming ‘Allahu Akbar.’ Jacques Hamel, the village church’s 86-year-old priest, was killed after the attackers cut his throat. Police commandos shot dead both attackers.

NBC News reported that a nun who was in the church said the priest was forced to the ground before his throat was slit. “They forced him to his knees. He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened,” said the nun, identified as Sister Danielle. “They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror.”

The Islamic State has taken credit for the butchery. One of the two attackers is said to have left for Syria last year and attempted to join ISIS, but he was arrested in Turkey.

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Buchanan to Speak to Safe Children Coalition

2016/07/25

BRADENTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan will visit the Safe Children Coalition’s office on Tuesday, July 26 in Bradenton, Fla. to outline the new anti-drug law and discuss federal efforts to protect children of heroin-addicted parents. There will be a press availability with Buchanan, Lisa Mayrose, regional managing director of the SunCoast region of the Department of Children and Families and Brena Slater, vice president of community-based care at the Sarasota YMCA/Safe Children Coalition. 

The visit comes on the heels of President Obama signing into law sweeping anti-drug legislation co-sponsored by Buchanan aimed at cutting off the flow of heroin into the United States as well as expanding education, prevention, and treatment programs. 

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

Lisa Mayrose, Regional Managing Director SunCoast Region, Department of Children and Families

Brena Slater, Vice President Community Based Care, Sarasota YMCA/Safe Children Coalition

WHAT: Tour of the Safe Children Coalition

WHEN: 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

WHERE: Safe Children Coalition, 5729 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton FL 34209

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Buchanan Requests Federal Anti-Drug Aid for Manatee County

2016/07/25

Manatee County Epicenter of State’s Heroin Crisis

WASHINGTON — Citing a new surge of heroin-related overdoses in his congressional district, Congressman Vern Buchanan today asked top federal officials for immediate aid to help confront the deadly health crisis.

In a letter sent this morning to National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Buchanan requested funding under a sweeping new anti-drug bill passed this month by Congress.

Manatee County is the epicenter of Florida’s heroin crisis, recording more heroin-related deaths per capita than any of the other 66 counties in 2014. Over the last several months, the number of overdose-related calls to law enforcement doubled, from between 5 and 10 calls a month to 19 a month. Most are heroin-related, according to the Bradenton Herald.

The new anti-drug bill co-sponsored by Buchanan includes “enhancement grants” designed to help communities suffering from drug abuse spikes involving heroin, prescription drugs or methamphetamine. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on Friday.

“Federal funds will provide critical support for our local health care providers and law enforcement officials who are on the front lines of fighting this outbreak,” Buchanan said in his letter. “With these resources, addiction treatment centers, law enforcement agencies, and medical professionals can expand their efforts to help treat those already addicted and address the flow of opioids and heroin flowing into Manatee County.”

Buchanan recently chaired a congressional panel that highlighted heroin’s devastating impact on children and the child welfare system.

“The heroin epidemic has inflicted tremendous pain and suffering to countless children of drug-addicted parents,” Buchanan wrote. “Drug abuse among parents is a major reason why so many children are removed from their homes and placed in foster care.”

Buchanan is scheduled to visit Tuesday the Manatee County Safe Children Coalition, where he will discuss the new anti-drug bill and hear from community leaders about child safety.

Full text of the letter: 

July 25, 2016

The Honorable Sylvia Matthews Burwell
Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20201

The Honorable Michael Botticelli
Director
Office of National Drug Control Policy

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 

 

Dear Secretary Burwell and Director Botticelli:

Now that the President has signed landmark legislation to curb drug abuse, I write to request that you direct immediate funding under the bill to Manatee County, Fla., the epicenter of this deadly health crisis in my home state of Florida.  

The legislation includes “enhancement grants” aimed at helping communities suffering from drug abuse spikes involving heroin, prescription drugs or methamphetamine. Sadly, Manatee County, which I represent, has experienced a surge in heroin overdoses over the past several months.

The situation in Florida is grim – heroin overdose deaths have increased 900 percent from 2010 to 2014. Manatee County had more heroin-related deaths per capita than any of the other 66 counties in Florida in 2014. Over the last several months, the number of overdose-related calls to law enforcement doubled, from between 5 and 10 calls a month to 19 a month. Most are heroin-related, according to the Bradenton Herald.

But the horrific number of fatalities is only one part of the picture. The heroin epidemic has inflicted physical and mental harm to countless children of drug-addicted parents. In fact, drug abuse among parents is a major reason why so many children are placed in foster care.

Federal funds will provide critical support for our local health care providers and law enforcement officials who are on the front lines of fighting this outbreak. With these resources addiction treatment centers, law enforcement agencies, and medical professionals can expand their efforts to prevent opioid abuse, treat those already addicted, and blunt the flow of opioids and heroin flowing into Manatee County.

Stemming this crisis is an urgent public health issue. We must act swiftly to stop this epidemic because each day we delay more families are put at risk. I thank you in advance for your consideration of my request.

 

Sincerely,

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Buchanan Calls for Crackdown on Cop Killers

2016/07/22

Police Deaths from Guns up 72 Percent This Year

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent today to congressional leaders, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) today called for swift passage of legislation to toughen penalties against anyone who murders police and other first responders.

The Thin Blue Line Act authored by Rep. David Jolly, R-FL, and co-sponsored by Buchanan, would make the murder or attempted murder of a first responder, including police officers and firefighters, an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.

“Over the last several weeks police officers have been targeted for violence simply because they wear the blue uniform.” Buchanan said in a letter sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “The sick individuals who target police must face severe consequences for their actions. These senseless attacks on police must end.”

The number of American law enforcement deaths from shootings has jumped 72 percent over this time last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The legislation is backed by a number of law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations and Florida Sheriffs’ Association.

The bill could serve as a deterrent for violence against police, according to the president of the National Association of Police Organizations, Mick McHale. “Establishing stricter penalties for those who harm law enforcement officers will deter violence against officers and help keep communities safe, which is why it is vital that Congress pass this legislation,” McHale said.

“President Barack Obama recently wrote an open letter to American law enforcement, saying ‘we have your back,’” Buchanan said. “Congress should adopt the same approach and immediately pass the Thin Blue Line Act.”

The Thin Blue Line Act would be applicable whether the person is murdered on duty, because of the performance of their duty, or because of their status as a public official.

It covers federal, state, and local police officers, firefighters and first responders. The only requirement is that the homicide involve federal jurisdiction, such as the interstate homicide of an officer or an officer killed on federal land.


Full text of the letter:

July 22, 2016

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi   
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives                                               

Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi: 

When Congress reconvenes in September, I urge you to schedule an immediate vote on legislation that would toughen penalties against cop killers.

Every day, brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect their communities. But over the last several weeks police officers have been targeted for violence simply because they wear the blue uniform. These senseless attacks on police must end. Across the country, Americans have come together to condemn the acts of violence against police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. But sympathy and support are not enough to keep our first responders safe.

Congress must take action to help end these attacks. The sick individuals who target those who keep us safe must face severe consequences for their actions.

The Thin Blue Line Act sponsored by Rep. David Jolly (H.R. 814) will toughen penalties for federal cases involving the murder of a police officer. Prosecutors and firefighters are also covered by the bill, which has the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Major County Sheriff’s Association, International Union of Police Associations, National Sheriffs’ Association, Florida Sheriffs’ Association and more.

The bill could serve as a deterrent for violence against police, according to the president of the National Association of Police Organizations, Mick McHale. “Establishing stricter penalties for those who harm law enforcement officers will deter violence against officers and help keep communities safe, which is why it is vital that Congress pass this legislation,” McHale said.

Sadly, the number of American law enforcement deaths from shootings has jumped 72 percent over this time last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

President Barack Obama recently wrote an open letter to American law enforcement, saying “we have your back.” Congress should adopt the same approach and immediately pass the Thin Blue Line Act.

Sincerely,

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress

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Buchanan Urges President to Veto Sham Food Labeling Bill

2016/07/21

Congressman Supports Disclosure of Genetically Engineered Food

WASHINGTON – Saying consumers deserve to know whether their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Congressman Vern Buchanan today urged President Obama to veto a bogus labeling bill passed by Congress.

“This legislation does nothing to ensure that consumers will have the information they need to make informed decisions at the supermarket,” Buchanan said in a letter sent today to the president. “This is a sham bill that pretends to offer disclosure but in truth has so many loopholes that it is meaningless.”

Buchanan noted that the bill is opposed by leading consumer groups, including, the Center for Food Safety, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Consumers Union. 

Buchanan said the bill cynically included a gaping loophole that allowed food producers to bypass true labeling with a telephone number consumers could call to ask questions or with a QR code they could scan with a smartphone to connect with a website that may or may not answer their questions.

“What I want to ensure is that families get all the information they need to make decisions,” Buchanan told the president. “What they do with that information is up to them.”

The bill gives food manufacturers two years to update their packaging to provide information on GMOs through several options. Companies can disclose genetically modified ingredients through text directly on the product, or by including a picture similar to a bar code, called a QR code, that consumers can scan using a smartphone, or by placing a telephone number or website address on the product.

“Food labeling needs to be simple and clear,” Buchanan said. “QR codes and telephone numbers do not meet that definition. What mother shopping with her children is going to stop in the middle of the food aisle to call a company or go on a website to check the content of every product they would like to buy?”

Approximately 70 to 80 percent of packaged food in the U.S. contains GMOs through ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup or soy lecithin, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Campbell’s Soup Inc., General Mills Inc., Kellogg Co., ConAgra Foods Inc., and Mars, Inc. are some of the country’s top food giants that have announced their commitment to voluntarily label GMOs.


Full text of Buchanan’s letter below:


July 21, 2016

 

The Honorable Barack Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

People have a right to know what’s in the food they are purchasing for themselves and their children. That is why I urge you to veto a bill (S.764) that has been presented for your signature. This legislation does nothing to ensure that consumers will have the information they need to make informed decisions at the supermarket.

This is a sham bill that pretends to offer disclosure but in truth has so many loopholes that it is meaningless. S. 764 allows food producers to bypass true labeling with a telephone number consumers could call to ask questions or with a QR code they could scan with a smartphone to connect with a website that may or may not answer their questions.

Food labeling needs to be simple and clear. QR codes and telephone numbers do not meet that definition. What mother shopping with her children is going to stop in the middle of the food aisle to call a company or go on a website to check the content of every product they would like to buy?

Moreover, prominent consumer advocates oppose this legislation, including the Center for Food Safety, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and the Consumers Union.

What I want to ensure is that families get all the information they need to make decisions. What they do with that information is up to them. I urge you to veto S.764 and work with Congress on developing a transparent food labeling standard. 

Sincerely,

 

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress

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Buchanan Urges Crackdown on Money Flow to Terrorist Groups

2016/07/19

“We Need to Cut Out the Financial Heart” of Terrorists

WASHINGTON – Citing the recent wave of terrorist attacks across the globe and the pressing need to keep American families safe, Congressman Vern Buchanan today called for passage of tough, new measures cracking down on money flowing to terrorist groups.

Buchanan said Congress should pass The National Strategy for Combating Terrorist, Underground, and Other Illicit Financing Act, which directs the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a comprehensive strategy to combat the financing of terrorism.

“We need to cut out the financial heart of the radical Islamic terrorists that have attacked our homeland and put our families at risk,” Buchanan said. “Congress must also hold Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism, accountable. Our government cannot continue to allow U.S. dollars to end up in the hands of a regime responsible for inciting terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere.”

With Buchanan’s strong support, the U.S. House recently passed several measures to stop funds from pouring into Iran and ensure that our country is prepared to stop terrorists from entering the homeland. These bills, now pending in the Senate, include:

  • The Iran Accountability Act of 2016 – imposes new sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and continuing to test its ballistic missile program – a violation of the nuclear deal agreed upon by the global community one year ago.
     
  • The U.S. Financial System Protection Act – prohibits the Obama administration from allowing the U.S. dollar to be used to facilitate trade transactions with the Iranian government and Iranian banks.
     
  • Enhancing Treasury’s Anti-Terror Tools Act – requires the Treasury Department to investigate how to incorporate U.S. embassies into counter-terrorism financing efforts, and adds the Secretary of the Treasury to the National Security Council.
     
  • The Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act – requires the Department of Homeland Security to conduct an exercise to evaluate national preparedness against terrorist travel to the United States. The last major government exercise on terrorist travel was in 2009.

“Terrorists want to destroy our way of life,” Buchanan said. “Our government must do everything possible to stop them. Cutting off cash to ISIS and the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism – Iran – will undoubtedly limit their ability to attack the U.S. and its allies.”

Since declaring a caliphate more than two years ago, ISIS and its followers have carried out horrific terrorist attacks across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the U.S., including in Buchanan’s home state of Florida. Last month a gunman killed 49 people in Orlando after pledging allegiance to ISIS.

The Obama administration has repeatedly maintained that its strategy against ISIS is working. President Obama recently said that as a result of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS’s oil infrastructures the terrorist organization continues to lose money that is its “lifeblood.”


However last month, CIA Director John Brennan delivered a chilling testimony before Congress contradicting the administration’s assessment. Brennan said ISIS generates “at least tens of millions of dollars in revenue per month, primarily from taxation and from crude oil sales.”

The recent onslaught of ISIS-inspired attacks in Nice, Istanbul, Bangladesh, and Brussels have left many Americans anxious about the group’s capability to infiltrate U.S. borders. According to a CNN/ORC poll conducted last month, Americans are more likely to think terrorist attacks in the U.S. are imminent now than at any point since 2003.


Buchanan said the House-passed Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act will help the U.S. gauge its ability to prevent terrorists from traveling into and out of the country.

“Any gaps in our nation’s security systems must be made known and fixed immediately,” Buchanan said. “This legislation is critical to making the U.S. impenetrable for ISIS and other terrorists.”

Buchanan is the author of federal legislation to require social media screening for signs of terror threats from any foreigner who wants to enter America. His Social Media Screening For Terrorists Act 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. Buchanan has also called on government leaders to develop a strategy to combat terror groups’ online recruitment and radicalization.

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First Zika Case Reported in Manatee County

2016/07/16

“National Disgrace”

WASHINGTON — As the first case of Zika surfaced in Manatee County, Congressman Vern Buchanan today scolded Congress for adjourning for the summer without funding efforts to confront the deadly virus.

Manatee County was one of 18 new travel-related cases reported by the Florida Department of Health on Friday– the largest number of new cases confirmed in a single day. Manatee County is now included in the state’s Declaration of Public Health Emergency.

“Washington’s failure to approve Zika funding is a national disgrace,” Buchanan said. “Communities in Manatee County and elsewhere in Florida needed federal resources weeks ago to stop this deadly virus. The health of thousands of lives are now at stake because Congress and the president could not overcome their political differences.”

Florida leads the country in the number of reported Zika cases. As of Friday there were 311 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there are 1,306 travel-related cases across the U.S.

“Congress has failed its primary duty to protect American lives,” Buchanan said. “Inevitably, more vulnerable pregnant mothers and newborns are now at risk because of partisan politics.”

Earlier this month, Senate Democrats voted to block a must-pass Zika funding bill previously approved by the U.S. House. The Senate brought up the bill again this week in a last ditch effort before Congress went home, however the funding was again blocked. As a result, no congressional action will be taken on the Zika emergency funding until after Sept. 5.

“Congressional leaders as well as the president should have been working together to solve this impasse,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan has pushed for rapid and full emergency funding for the Zika response and has hosted multiple public health experts in meetings and public events in Florida and Washington to talk about the virus. He also wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership urging the Zika conferees to provide the full amount of emergency funding requested by the Obama administration.

The Congressman was the first Republican in the U.S. House to support President Obama’s request for full funding to fight the Zika virus. The emergency funding will expand education, prevention, and mosquito control programs, improve diagnostics and testing, speed the development of a vaccine and boost research into the complications of contracting the virus.

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“National Disgrace”

2016/07/15

“Zika the Shameful Face of Washington Dysfunction”

WASHINGTON — With Congress recessed for seven weeks, Congressman Vern Buchanan today said the failure to fund efforts to confront the deadly Zika virus has become the new face of Washington dysfunction.

“Washington’s failure to protect women and children from the devastating effects of the Zika virus is a national disgrace,” Buchanan said. “The health of thousands of lives are now at stake because Congress and the president could not overcome their political differences.”

Florida leads the country in the number of reported Zika cases. As of Thursday there were 293 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there are 1,306 travel-related cases across the U.S.

“Congress has failed its primal duty to protect American lives,” Buchanan said. “Inevitably, more vulnerable pregnant mothers and newborns are now at risk because of partisan politics.”

Earlier this month, Senate Democrats voted to block a must-pass Zika funding bill previously approved by the U.S. House. The Senate brought up the bill again this week in a last ditch effort before Congress went home, however the funding was again blocked. As a result, no congressional action will be taken on the Zika emergency funding until after Sept. 5.

“Congressional leaders as well as the president should have been working together to solve this impasse,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan has pushed for rapid and full emergency funding for the Zika response and has hosted multiple public health experts in meetings and public events in Florida and Washington to talk about the virus. He also wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership urging the Zika conferees provide the full amount of emergency funding requested by the Obama administration.

The Congressman was the first Republican in the U.S. House to support President Obama’s request for full funding to fight the Zika virus. The emergency funding will expand education, prevention, and mosquito control programs, improve diagnostics and testing, speed the development of a vaccine and boost research into the complications of contracting the virus.

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Buchanan Opposes “Sham” Food Labeling Bill

2016/07/14

(This is what consumers could see instead of a simple label on food products. In case you weren’t able to quickly access my press release, here it is:)

Buchanan Opposes “Sham” Food Labeling Bill 
Consumers Have a Right to Know What’s in Their Food
Genetically Modified Food (GMO) Labels Should be Clear and Simple

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., today voted against sham legislation that pretends to offer consumers transparency for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). “This food labeling bill has all the transparency of a brick wall,” Buchanan said. “People have a right to know what’s in the food they are purchasing for themselves and their children but this bill will not provide any such disclosure.”

The bill passed Congress by a 306-117 vote despite Buchanan’s objections and now goes to the president for his signature.

Buchanan said the bill cynically included a gaping loophole that allowed food producers to bypass true labeling with a telephone number consumers could call to ask questions or with a QR code they could scan with a smartphone to connect with a website that may or may not answer their questions.

“This is sham legislation that pretends to offer consumers transparency when in reality it does no such thing,” Buchanan said, adding the issue is about transparency, not whether a product is safe or unsafe to consume. “What I want to ensure is that families get all the information they need to make decisions – what they do with that information is up to them.”

The bill gives food manufacturers two years to update their packaging to provide information on GMOs through several options. Companies can disclose genetically modified ingredients through text directly on the product, or by including a picture similar to a bar code, called a QR code, that consumers can scan using a smartphone, or by placing a telephone number or website address on the product.

“Food labeling needs to be simple and clear,” Buchanan said. “QR codes and telephone numbers do not meet that definition. What mother shopping with her children is going to stop in the middle of the food aisle to call a company or go on a website to check the content of every product they would like to buy?”

Approximately 70 to 80 percent of packaged food in the U.S. contains GMOs through ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup or soy lecithin, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Campbell’s Soup Inc., General Mills Inc., Kellogg Co., ConAgra Foods Inc., and Mars, Inc. are some of the country’s top food giants that have announced their commitment to voluntarily label GMOs.

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ABC 7: Rep. Buchanan Holds Anti-Heroin Roundtable

2016-03-10 17:57:59


ABC 7: Rep. Buchanan Acts To Combat Heroin Crisis

2016-02-27 15:13:23


Cox TV: Buchanan Introduces Plan To End Public Housing Scams

2016-02-03 17:36:48


WWSB-TV: Rep. Buchanan visits businesses in St. Armands Circle

2016-01-25 16:15:15


WWSB-TV: New Law To Protect Americans From Identity Fraud

2016-01-22 17:30:07


No Syrian Refugees!

2015-11-17 17:35:33


Buchanan Applauds Sarasota Memorial’s 90th Year of Service to the Community

2015-11-03 20:46:52


ABC-7 on Buchanan Presentation of Congressional Fire and Rescue and EMS Awards

2015-10-06 15:21:10


ABC-7 on Buchanan's Talk to Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

2015-09-14 23:21:30


Bay News 9 on Sarasota Iran Nuclear Deal Town Hall

2015-07-27 13:55:34


President Obama Signs Buchanan Veterans ID Card Act into Law

2015-07-21 15:31:22


ABC-7 on Buchanan's Veterans ID Card

2015-07-08 17:22:06


Buchanan Vets ID Card to Become Law

2015-07-07 19:17:46


Pastor Bezet of Sarasota-Manatee Bayside Community Church Delivers Morning Prayer before Congress

2015-06-25 15:32:15


Buchanan: Balancing the Budget is an Urgent Priority

2015-06-17 21:43:25


Buchanan Speaks on Veterans ID Card Act

2015-05-18 21:03:41


Rep. Buchanan Named to House Budget Committee

2015-03-18 16:40:43


Buchanan Hosts Venice Listening Session on Jobs and the Economy

2015-02-09 16:57:18


Buchanan Questions Treasury Secretary on Obama Economic Plan

2015-02-03 16:57:28


Buchanan Hosts Sarastota Town Hall on Jobs and the Economy

2015-01-26 20:19:21


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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