Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act Passes Key Committee

2017/04/27

Police Deaths Soar in 2016

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Judiciary Committee today approved Congressman Vern Buchanan’s legislation to toughen penalties against cop killers. The bill now heads to the full House for a vote expected in mid-May.

Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act, H.R. 115, would make the murder or attempted murder of a police officer, firefighter or other first responder an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations. The committee passed the bill in a 19-12 vote.

“We owe a great debt to police officers and first responders across the country,” Buchanan said. “Attacks against law enforcement officers must end. The strong committee vote today sends a clear message to those who target police – you will be held accountable.”

The number of police officer deaths from shootings increased 56 percent nationally in 2016, according to a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Additionally, in 2016 alone, ambush-style killings of law enforcement officers increased by 167 percent, according to the National Association of Police Organizations.

“Every day, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers around the country protect their fellow citizens from harm, keep the peace, and carry out justice,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said. “As they serve and protect us, we have a duty to ensure they have the tools needed to do their jobs and that our laws honor their sacrifices. I thank Congressman Vern Buchanan for his work on the Thin Blue Line Act. This bill ensures criminals who murder law enforcement officers face justice for their crimes.”

The legislation 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, or while serving as part of a joint task force.

“The House must swiftly act to protect our police officers and first responders,” Buchanan said.

A number of national law enforcement organizations have voiced their support for the legislation. The full list includes:

  • National Association of Police Organizations
  • National Fraternal Order of Police
  • Major Counties Sheriffs of America
  • American Federation of Government Employees
  • Sergeants Benevolent Association
  • Council of Prison Locals
  • Peace Officers Research Association of California
  • Voices of J.O.E.
  • U.S. First Responders Association
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Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act Set for Vote Tomorrow

2017/04/26

Police Deaths Soar in 2016

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan’s legislation to toughen penalties against cop killers is expected to be approved tomorrow by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

B
uchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act, H.R. 115, would make the murder or attempted murder of a police officer, firefighter or other first responder an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.

The committee meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in room 2141 of Rayburn House Office Building.

“Congress should do all it can to protect our police officers and first responders,” Buchanan said. “My bill makes sure that anyone who targets law enforcement officers is held accountable.”

The number of police officer deaths from shootings increased 56 percent nationally in 2016, according to a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Additionally, in 2016 alone, ambush-style killings of law enforcement officers increased by 167 percent, according to the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).

The legislation 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, or while serving as part of a joint task force.

A number of national law enforcement organizations have voiced their support for the legislation, including the National Association of Police Officers, National Fraternal Order of Police, Major Counties Sheriffs of America, American Federation of Government Employees and others.


What: U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Thin Blue Line Act

Where: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

When: Thursday, April 27, at 10:00 a.m.

Local media can live stream the markup here: http://bit.ly/2q47185

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Buchanan Statement on Trump Tax Plan

2017/04/26

WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan, a senior House tax-writer, today released the following statement regarding President Trump’s tax plan.

“The administration’s outline moves us one step closer to meaningful tax reform. It’s now up to Congress and the administration to work together and develop a plan that reduces taxes on middle-income Americans, simplifies personal income taxes and makes our businesses more competitive with other countries. I look forward to taking part in those discussions in the weeks ahead.”

Buchanan noted that the administration’s proposal calls for parity between tax rates for small businesses and corporations – a plan Buchanan re-introduced in Congress in January. Buchanan’s bill would ensure that most small businesses never pay a higher rate than large companies or corporations. The Trump plan calls for both to pay a 15 percent tax rate.

“Tax reform will generate enormous economic growth and create jobs,” Buchanan said.

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Buchanan to Gov: Give Suncoast Anti-Drug Funds

2017/04/26

No. 1 & 2 of all 67 Florida Counties in Fentanyl Deaths

WASHINGTON — In a letter sent today to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Congressman Vern Buchanan requested a significant portion of new federal anti-drug money be directed to regions hardest hit by the drug epidemic, including Manatee and Sarasota counties. 

“I want to make sure that this funding goes where it’s needed most – Florida’s Suncoast,” Buchanan wrote in his letter. “My district is suffering and this money will help save lives.”

Buchanan said his congressional district deserves special consideration because it includes Manatee and Sarasota counties, which had the highest and second-highest number of fentanyl-related deaths per capita in the state in 2015. Fentanyl, also known as synthetic heroin, killed more Floridians than heroin in 2015, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. Fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin, was responsible for 911 deaths compared to 779 killed by a heroin overdose.

In Manatee County, the local morgue was filled to capacity this past summer and the county was forced to store bodies at other facilities due to the spike in fentanyl and heroin-related deaths.

Buchanan also represents part of Hillsborough County, which he said should receive significant funding as well because it accounted for 12 percent of all babies born addicted to opioids in Florida in 2015.

Buchanan contacted Gov. Scott following last week’s announcement that nearly $500 million in federal aid will be distributed this year to states to confront the drug crisis. 

The grant funding is part of this year’s $485 million national allocation included in the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill Buchanan strongly supported. Another $485 million national allocation will be sent to states next year. These programs take a multi-pronged approach to tackling drug problems by beefing up drug abuse treatment and prevention, training health care practitioners in best prescribing practices, and improving prescription monitoring.

Buchanan cited grim statistics to show the depth of the area’s drug problems. According to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission:

  • Manatee County had the highest number of cocaine deaths per capita in 2015 and 2014 of all 67 counties.
  • Manatee had the highest number of Florida morphine deaths per capita in 2015 and 2014.
  • Manatee had the highest number of Florida heroin deaths per capita in the state in 2015 and 2014.
  • Manatee and Sarasota counties had the highest and second-highest number of fentanyl-related deaths per capita in the state in 2015.
  • Manatee had the highest number of fentanyl-related deaths per capita in the state in 2014.

Heroin deaths in Florida spiked 80 percent in 2015 compared to the year prior, according to the latest data made available by the state’s medical examiners commission. The same report also cited the fact that statewide, fentanyl-related deaths increased by more than 77 percent from 2014 to 2015.

“Tragically, more than 3,200 Floridians lost their lives due to these drugs in 2015 alone,” Buchanan wrote. “This crisis requires an immediate and comprehensive solution.”


Earlier this year, Buchanan announced that he has co-sponsored the STOP Act (Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act) – legislation that will toughen screening of overseas shipments of deadly synthetic drugs coming into the United States.

The Congressman has been an active leader in addressing the opioid crisis in Florida. In March, Buchanan hosted a meeting of the area’s top hospital executives about the problem. Last May, Buchanan chaired a hearing examining the impact of addiction on kids. He also hosted a roundtable in Bradenton, Fla. with local police officers, medical professionals and stakeholders. Buchanan also chaired a meeting of the bipartisan 29-member Florida congressional delegation in Washington, DC where members heard testimony from anti-drug experts. Buchanan serves as co-chair of the Florida delegation. In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration adopted Buchanan’s proposal to make it more difficult for abusers to obtain certain highly addictive narcotics.  

Text of the letter below.

April 26, 2017

The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Dear Governor Scott,

With my support, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016 to help address the opioid crisis.  As a result of this legislation, Florida was awarded approximately $27 million in federal grants last week to help communities fund treatment and prevention programs. I want to make sure that this funding goes where it’s needed most – Florida’s Suncoast. My district is suffering and this money will help save lives.

As the opioid epidemic has gripped our state, families across Florida have watched their loved ones struggle with addiction. Tragically, more than 3,200 Floridians lost their lives due to these drugs in 2015 alone. This crisis requires an immediate and comprehensive solution.

My congressional district deserves special consideration for extra money because it includes Manatee and Sarasota counties, which saw the first- and second-highest number of fentanyl-related deaths per capita in the state in 2015. Fentanyl, also known as synthetic heroin, killed more Floridians than heroin in 2015, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. Fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin, was responsible for 911 deaths compared to 779 killed by a heroin overdose.

I also represent part of Hillsborough County, which accounted for 12 percent of all babies born addicted to opioids in Florida in 2015.

In Manatee County, the local morgue was filled to capacity this past summer and the county was forced to store bodies at other facilities due to the spike in heroin-related deaths.

Grim statistics show the depth of the area’s drug problems. According to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission:

  • Manatee County had the highest number of cocaine deaths per capita in 2015 and 2014 of all 67 counties.
  • Manatee had the highest number of Florida morphine deaths per capita in 2015 and 2014.
  • Manatee had the highest number of Florida heroin deaths per capita in the state in 2015 and 2014.
  • Manatee and Sarasota counties had the highest and second-highest number of fentanyl-related deaths per capita in the state in 2015.
  • Manatee had the highest number of fentanyl-related deaths per capita in the state in 2014.

Our communities are coming together to combat this crisis.  For example, an outpatient center in Bradenton participates in a statewide program that combines medication-assisted treatment and counseling services to prevent cravings. More than 1,400 people have been helped by this program. But additional funding could allow this program – and other innovative approaches – to help even more people in their struggle with addiction. 

It’s clear that the opioid epidemic has had a terrible impact on Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties. As you distribute these funds, I urge you to focus on helping communities that have borne the brunt of this crisis.

Sincerely,

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Buchanan Tours Hillsborough Community College

2017/04/25

RUSKIN, Fla – Congressman Vern Buchanan today toured Hillsborough Community College’s campus in Ruskin and was briefed on the college’s work to raise educational attainment levels. 

 

Buchanan, far right, talks with leaders from Hillsborough Community College’s SouthShore campus

Buchanan toured the school’s SouthShore campus, which offers bachelor’s and associate degrees as well as certificate programs. Nearly 45,000 students enrolled in classes at Hillsborough Community College during the 2014-2015 school year. During the same year, nearly 7,000 students were enrolled in classes on the SouthShore campus.

Campus President Dr. Allen Witt said, “The SouthShore Campus was delighted to welcome Representative Buchanan to Hillsborough Community College to discuss our efforts to raise the educational attainment levels in our community and provide an ongoing pipeline of skilled workers to advance the region’s business and industry.”

Buchanan, second from the left, speaks with SouthShore campus officials

The group gave Buchanan an overview of the campus and the programs offered by the school, including its workforce development programs.

“Hillsborough Community College is providing vital education opportunities for people in our region,” Buchanan said.

Ruskin and other parts of Hillsborough County were added to the 16th Congressional District, which Buchanan represents, last year.

Buchanan was joined by: 

  • Dr. Allen Witt, campus president, Hillsborough Community College’s SouthShore campus.
  • John Meeks, director of postsecondary adult vocational programs, Hillsborough Community College.
  • Ashley Carl, executive director of college relations, Hillsborough Community College.
  • Justin Coffie, student ambassador, Hillsborough Community College.
  • Samuel Lopez, student ambassador, Hillsborough Community College.
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VA Reveals Missing Narcotics at Florida Medical Centers

2017/04/24

Buchanan “Troubled” by Report

SARASOTA — Responding to an inquiry from Congressman Vern Buchanan, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed that at least five of its Florida facilities reported missing or stolen drugs, including the highly addictive and deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Buchanan’s request for an update stemmed from an Associated Press report on an enormous spike in missing narcotics at federal hospitals around the country.

Buchanan, who asked the VA for specific information about Florida, said he was “troubled” to learn five facilities in the state reported problems in the past year. He called for greater security to protect veterans and the public.

“As Florida confronts a deadly heroin and opioid epidemic, I’m disappointed to learn that some of our VA facilities were impacted by drug theft,” Buchanan said. “The VA must do everything in its power to prevent drug thefts, which put our veterans and communities at risk.”

In a letter sent to Buchanan, the VA’s undersecretary for health, disclosed that five Florida VA facilities were affected by missing drugs: the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center (VAMC) at Bay Pines, the Orlando VAMC, the West Palm Beach VAMC, the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa and the Bruce W. Carter VAMC in Miami.

“These are some of the most deadly and addictive drugs in existence,” Buchanan said. “Those responsible must be held accountable.”

The agency’s letter was a response to a March inquiry from Buchanan about the Florida impact of missing drugs at VA hospitals. He requested information about the impact of drug losses on Florida veterans, and if any of the thefts occurred at facilities in the state.

Buchanan’s questions followed an Associated Press report that drug loss or theft at federal hospitals, 98 percent of which are VA facilities, increased tenfold between 2009 and 2015 nationwide. The VA is the nation’s largest healthcare system, operating more than 1,200 sites of care including hospitals, community-based outpatient clinics and nursing homes.

Perhaps most troubling, however, the VA said “approximately 30 veterans were affected” by the prescription drug losses in Florida, but did not disclose specific information regarding who or how these veterans were impacted.

Additionally, in its response to Buchanan’s request, the VA noted the types and amounts of missing drugs, and the street value. Fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine and hydrocodone were among the missing deadly drugs at the five Florida facilities.

The VA was unable to detail or account for the amount of fentanyl that went missing at these Florida facilities. Fentanyl is a synthetic drug similar to heroin but 50 times more powerful and a lethal dose can be as small as two or three grains of salt, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Buchanan represents Manatee County, which had the highest number of fentanyl-related deaths in 2015 per capita compared to all Florida’s counties.

“The last thing Manatee County, and Florida, needs is more fentanyl on the street,” Buchanan said. “VA leadership needs to make it crystal clear to its employees they will face serious repercussions for stealing deadly drugs.”

The department told Buchanan that it took “serious disciplinary action” in cases involving missing drugs. According to the VA, an employee of the Miami VA Healthcare Center resigned before being fired. A Bay Pines VA Healthcare System employee received a 14-day suspension for a single instance of the loss of a narcotic.  

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Florida Gets Federal Aid to Confront Heroin Crisis

2017/04/21

SARASOTA — Congressman Vern Buchanan announced today that Florida is set to receive $27 million in federal aid to confront the heroin and opioid crisis. The Congressman said he will ask Gov. Rick Scott to dedicate a sufficient share of that amount to his district, the epicenter of the heroin epidemic in Florida.

The funding is part of a $485 million national allocation included in the 21st Century Cures Act, which Buchanan supported. Florida is in line to receive the third-highest amount of funding of any state after California and Texas.


“The heroin epidemic is destroying families right here in Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as across the country,” Buchanan said. “These critical federal resources will go a long way toward supporting community action against heroin, fentanyl and other killer drugs.”

Buchanan’s district includes Manatee County, where due to the spike in heroin-related deaths, the local morgue was filled to capacity this past summer and forced to store bodies at other facilities.

“I want to make sure that this funding goes where it’s needed most – Florida’s Suncoast,” Buchanan said. “My district is suffering and this money will help save lives.”

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. The law directs $500 million to anti-drug program grants within the Department of Health and Human Services. These programs take a multi-pronged approach to tackling drug problems by beefing up drug abuse treatment and prevention, training health care practitioners in best prescribing practices, and improving prescription monitoring.

The funding level was widely supported by both parties.  


Earlier this year, Buchanan announced that he has co-sponsored the STOP Act (Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act) – legislation that will toughen screening of overseas shipments of deadly synthetic drugs coming into the United States.

Heroin deaths in Florida spiked 80 percent in 2015 compared to the year prior, according to the latest data made available by the state’s medical examiners commission. The same report also cited the fact that statewide, fentanyl-related deaths increased by more than 77 percent from 2014 to 2015.

“The drug crisis is taking too many of our loved ones from us each day,” Buchanan said. “Doctors, nurses and first responders need help to fight the mounting number of overdoses. I’m committed to pushing for additional resources here in Southwest Florida to address this public health emergency.”  

The Congressman has been an active leader in addressing the opioid crisis in Florida. Last May, Buchanan chaired a hearing examining the impact of addiction on kids. He also hosted a roundtable in Bradenton, Fla. with local police officers, medical professionals and stakeholders. Buchanan also chaired a meeting of the bipartisan 29-member Florida congressional delegation in Washington, DC where members heard testimony from anti-drug experts. Buchanan serves as co-chair of the Florida delegation. In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration adopted Buchanan’s proposal to make it more difficult for abusers to obtain certain highly addictive narcotics. 

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Buchanan Talks Jobs With Restaurant Owners

2017/04/20

SARASOTA — Jobs and the economy drove the discussion Wednesday when Congressman Vern Buchanan met with a group of nearly a dozen restaurant owners from Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Buchanan (middle, white shirt) addresses the group

The Congressman listened as the entrepreneurs discussed some of the financial challenges facing their businesses during the meeting at the Holiday Inn Sarasota-Airport. The meeting comes on the heels of a study released this week ranking Bradenton one of the best small cities in the U.S. to start a small business. According to the personal finance website WalletHub, Bradenton was ranked 114th out of 1,261 small cities around the country. Sarasota came in at 391.

The Congressman, a successful businessman before entering Congress, has called for an overhaul and simplification of the tax code to lower rates for individuals and small businesses.

“When our small businesses succeed, the Suncoast succeeds,” Buchanan told the group. “Your hard work helps to drive our economy and create jobs.”

John Horne, chief executive officer of Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Bradenton, was among the attendees.

“It’s nice to have a businessman representing us in Congress,” Horne said. “Congressman Buchanan understands these issues well.”

Buchanan represents the 16th Congressional District, which includes Manatee County, along with parts of Sarasota and Hillsborough Counties.

The area’s 1,500 restaurants employ more than 29,000 people in Buchanan’s district, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The Congressman also updated the group on his Main Street Fairness Act, a proposal to make sure that no small business in the country pays a higher tax rate than large corporations. The legislation picked up bipartisan steam earlier this month when Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

“Tax reform will generate enormous economic growth and create jobs,” Buchanan said.

 

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Tax Filing Deadline Today

2017/04/18

Fla. Residents Taxed $8,000 a Year

WASHINGTON – On the day federal tax filings are due, Congressman Vern Buchanan called for sweeping reform of the federal tax code and a reduction in tax rates for all Americans. 

A record-high $700 billion in taxes was collected from individuals in the first half of fiscal year 2017, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Florida residents pay an average of $8,000 per year in federal income, payroll and estate taxes according to The Associated Press.

“Americans are paying a record amount in taxes to fund an ever-growing federal bureaucracy,” Buchanan said. “Hardworking families are struggling under a complex and punishing tax code. Our tax policies should incentivize job creation and economic growth, not punish people for working hard.” 

Buchanan is also focused on making the tax filing process simpler.

“Filing and paying taxes is complicated and frustrating for American families,” Buchanan said. “I’m focused on enacting meaningful tax reform that would lower rates for all Americans and simplify the tax code so that nine out of 10 people could file on a postcard-sized form.”

At almost 4 million words the tax code is five times longer than the King James Bible. Americans spend 6.1 billion hours per year trying to make sure that they pay their taxes correctly.  It is so complicated that former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman admitted he can’t do his own taxes, saying, “I find the tax code complex, so I use a preparer.”

“Simplifying the tax code and bringing down tax rates for families and small business owners will give the American economy a much-needed boost,” said Buchanan. “But we must also rein in federal spending. I’ve called for a Constitutional balanced budget amendment to ensure that Washington lives within its means.”

The Congressman said he was hopeful that an overhaul to the tax code would be completed this year in a bipartisan manner. 

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Buchanan Requests More Aid for Red Tide

2017/04/17

WASHINGTON – Noting the dangerous threat toxic algae poses to humans, marine life and the economy, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he has requested increased federal funding to combat red tide.

Red tide, also known as Karenia brevis algae, has lingered along Suncoast shores on and off for several months now, killing thousands of fish and discouraging potential visitors from taking in some of the country’s best beaches. Karenia brevis algae produces a toxin that can harm and kill a variety of animals, including birds, fish, sea turtles and marine mammals such as dolphins and the already endangered Florida manatee. In fact, the toxins from red tide blooms killed nearly 300 Florida manatees in 2013.

In a letter sent to the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, Buchanan requested increased funding to combat harmful algal blooms. Buchanan said the specific focus should be on red tide, within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Congressman stressed the critical need for federal support as harmful algal blooms, including red tide, are occurring with “increasing frequency and severity across the country.”

Harmful algae blooms cause $82 million in economic losses to the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries each year in the U.S., according to NOAA.

“We need to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard the public and protect marine life and fragile coastal ecosystems,” Buchanan wrote. “Not only do harmful algal blooms deter tourists and upset related industries, they can be dangerous to humans as well.”

Human consumption of shellfish contaminated from red tide areas can cause serve illness and even lead to death in certain circumstances. Additionally, people who swim in red tide or inhale the toxins while near the water can suffer from severe respiratory issues, skin irritation and rashes. The state’s health department even advises that people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions like asthma are especially vulnerable and should steer clear of red tide waters.

Buchanan has an extensive record of preserving Florida’s waterways and pristine coastline. Earlier this year he co-chaired a bipartisan meeting of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation focused on combating red tide, toxic algae and examining other water quality issues. The Congressman also is a longtime opponent of drilling off the Gulf Coast. Last month Buchanan expressed his opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal to open up more than 70 million acres off the coast of Florida to oil and gas drilling over the next five years starting this August. He also backed legislation, signed by President Obama in 2016, that would protect estuaries, including Sarasota Bay.

Full text of the letter can be found below.

The Honorable John Culberson                          
Chairman                                                  
Committee on Appropriations                               
Subcommittee of Commerce, Justice,                        
Science, and Related Agencies                             
H-309, the Capitol                                        
Washington, DC 20515               

The Honorable Jose Serrano
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,
Science, and Related Agencies
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Culberson and Raking Member Serrano,

Harmful algal blooms, including red tide, are occurring with increasing frequency and severity across the country. The toxic bacteria, which can cause respiratory problems and has been linked to acute liver failure, is particularly harmful to coastal communities dependent on clean water.

This threat to humans, marine life and the economy deserves our attention.

As you being your work on the fiscal year 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science funding bill, I respectfully ask that you include robust funding to combat these harmful algal blooms, with a specific focus on red tide, within NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

HABs are a growing national concern because of the widespread and lasting damage they cause to not only the health of humans, marine life, and coastal ecosystems, but to our local economies as well. In fact, due to its impacts on public health, tourism, seafood and other related industries, HABs occurring in U.S. marine waters are estimated to cost the U.S. over $80 million a year.

Currently, however, there is no effective method to combat some of the most challenging and devastating HABs, such as red tides caused by Karenia brevis algae, without severely affecting our marine ecosystems. Red tide outbreaks, which have affected the Gulf of Mexico since the 16th century can kill or sicken turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals, and even leads to massive fish kills. They also lead to widespread closures of shellfish beds from Florida trough Texas every year.

Perhaps most concerning, however, are the negative consequences HABs and red tide specifically have on people. Not only do harmful algal blooms deter tourists and upset related industries, they can be dangerous to humans as well.

People can become ill with Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) or even die as a result of consuming contaminated shellfish that has been exposed to HAB toxins. People who swim in red tide or inhale the toxins while near the water can also suffer from severe respiratory issues, skin irritation and rashes.

We need to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard the public and protect marine life and fragile coastal ecosystems.

I would also encourage you to collaborate with local and state partners and non-profit marine research institutions and universities to better utilize emerging technologies and cutting edge approaches to fight back against harmful algal blooms. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and for your leadership on the committee.
 

                                                                 Sincerely,

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ABC 7: Buchanan Proposes Pandemic Response Fund

2017-04-13 15:04:24


Bay News 9: Buchanan Fights Social Security Fraud

2017-02-09 16:27:36


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


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

Matt Gaetz

FLORIDA's 1st DISTRICT

Neal Dunn

FLORIDA's 2nd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT

John Rutherford

FLORIDA's 4th DISTRICT

Ron DeSantis

FLORIDA's 6th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Daniel Webster

FLORIDA's 10th DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

Dennis Ross

FLORIDA's 15th DISTRICT

Tom Rooney

FLORIDA's 17th DISTRICT

Brian Mast

FLORIDA's 18th DISTRICT

Francis Rooney

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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