Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Buchanan to Interior Secretary: No Gulf Drilling!

2017/03/27

“Our Beaches, Economy at Stake”

WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan, a longtime opponent of drilling in the Gulf, announced today he has joined a bipartisan group in Congress urging Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to forgo any plan to drill off Florida’s coast. 

In a letter sent to Zinke, Buchanan and others urged the secretary to consider all that would be lost if a serious spill occurred.

Earlier this month the Trump administration released a proposal that could 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.


Buchanan aims to protect Florida’s coastline from oil spills such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe – one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. 

“Florida’s beaches and economy are at risk,” the group wrote. “Drilling in this area threatens Florida’s multi-billion-dollar, tourism-driven economy.”

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill nearly seven years ago spewed more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, claimed the lives of 11 workers, decimated the region’s iconic wildlife and severely damaged our fishing and tourism industries.


As Floridians know all too well, an oil spill can devastate a regional economy and inflict long-term environmental damage.

Buchanan said: “Florida’s coastal communities depend on a clean and healthy ocean and we shouldn’t jeopardize the state’s economy or environment by gambling on operations that lack adequate safeguards.”

Buchanan’s opposition to drilling off the Florida coast includes strong support for 2016 Interior Department rules spelling out national well safety requirements, such as more frequent testing of blowout preventers. He has co-sponsored the Preserving Florida’s Coastal Communities Act, which would prohibit drilling within 125 miles of Florida’s shores in the Gulf of Mexico until 2027. Under current law, such drilling is prohibited until 2022. The Congressman also sponsored legislation in 2011 that would stop Cuba from drilling within 50 miles of Florida and voted against opening Florida’s coast to drilling in 2011. 

Florida, which was severely impacted by the Deepwater Horizon spill, is slated to receive $3.25 billion from British Petroleum as a result of a 2015 settlement. Florida joined other Gulf states and the federal government in suing British Petroleum after the spill.


Full letter text below:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

As you begin your service as Secretary of the Interior, we are writing to convey our strong opposition to offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Drilling in this area threatens Florida’s multi-billion-dollar, tourism-driven economy and is incompatible with the military training and weapons testing that occurs there.

In 2006, Congress passed the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act (P.L. 109-432), which created a moratorium on drilling in most of the eastern Gulf of Mexico – including all areas east of the Military Mission Line.

It’s been nearly seven years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion fifty miles off the coast of Louisiana claimed the lives of eleven men and ruined an entire tourism season for the Gulf states. And we still don’t know the full extent of the damage done to marine life such as dolphins and sea turtles.

This tragedy was a painful reminder that Florida’s beaches and economy are at risk even when oil rigs are hundreds of miles away from its shores.

In addition to its economic value, the eastern Gulf of Mexico provides a critical testing and training range for our nation’s military – the largest such training area in the United States. For example, pilots at Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Florida, use the open space to train with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.

In 2015, the Department of Defense reiterated its opposition to offshore drilling activities in this vital training area. As a former Navy SEAL, you understand the importance of ensuring that the men and women of our armed forces have access to the best training opportunities available.

We expect that as our nation’s newest Interior Secretary you will follow both the letter and the spirit of the law that currently bans drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and we strongly urge you to heed the recommendations of the Department of Defense and coastal communities by keeping offshore drilling rigs out of the area.

 

Sincerely,

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TODAY: Buchanan Co-Chairs Hearing on Social Security Fraud

2017/03/22

WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan will co-chair a joint congressional hearing this morning on protecting seniors who turn their Social Security checks over to others to manage.

“Vulnerable seniors who can no longer manage their own benefits should not become victims of fraud,” Buchanan said. “We need to protect our loved ones.”

In Florida, Social Security fraud made headlines when the now-defunct Hillsborough Achievement and Resource Centers (HARC) was accused of cheating 40 clients out of their Social Security payments totaling $617,000. HARC’s chief executive officer was indicted and three other employees pleaded guilty in connection with the case.


Today’s hearing will examine the Social Security Administration’s efforts to prevent fraud in situations similar to the HARC case.

This is the second of two joint hearings examining the Social Security Administration’s Representative Payee Program. Buchanan also co-chaired the first hearing in February.

Local press can watch the hearing here.

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

WHAT: Joint Ways and Means Oversight and Social Security Subcommittees Hearing on Social Security’s Representative Payee Program.

WHEN: 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

WHERE: 1100 Longworth House Office Building, Washington D.C.

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Buchanan Co-Chairs FL Delegation Meeting on Flood Insurance

2017/03/22

Fla. Accounts for Nearly 40% of Flood Insurance Policies

WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan today co-hosted a meeting of the bipartisan Florida delegation to get an update on efforts to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program. The program, which provides coverage to nearly 2 million Floridians, is set to expire on Sept. 30.

Buchanan (center speaking) addresses the group

Buchanan and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), co-chairs of the Florida congressional delegation, convened the closed-door briefing to hear from Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. Duffy chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, which is drafting the reauthorization bill.

A
s of January, there were approximately 1.8 million flood insurance policyholders in Florida – accounting for nearly 40 percent of insurance policies nationwide.

“Floridians need access to affordable flood insurance so they can protect their families, homes and businesses – and recover quickly after the next disaster strikes,” Buchanan said. “I’m confident the program will be reauthorized this year.”

The group also heard from Florida Congressman Dennis Ross, the vice chair of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance.

Florida delegation members discuss the flood insurance program

Buchanan was joined by co-chair Hastings and U.S. Reps. Dennis Ross, Carlos Curbelo, Neal Dunn, Francis Rooney, Gus Bilirakis, John Rutherford, Charlie Crist, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Darren Soto and Val Demings.

The Sunshine State is second only to California for overall risk of natural disasters, with 6.7 million homes listed in the “high or very high” risk categories, according to RealtyTrac, a housing data company. It also leads the country with the most homes at risk for hurricanes.

Buchanan also noted that with an average elevation of just 100 feet above sea level, Florida is particularly prone to flooding. Even a few inches of precipitation can cause flooding in certain areas across the state and cause tens of thousands of dollars in damages. 

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Buchanan Honored For Record of Creating Jobs, Growing Economy

2017/03/21

“When Small Businesses Succeed, the American People Succeed”

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today presented Congressman Vern Buchanan, R-FL, with the Spirit of Enterprise Award for his legislative record of creating jobs and growing the economy.


Rep. Buchanan accepts the Spirit of Enterprise Award from Suzanne Clark,
senior executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The award was given to Buchanan based on his votes in Congress to grow jobs, rein in abusive regulations and support American manufacturing. Buchanan earned a legislative rating of 92 percent from the U.S. Chamber in 2016.

“The Spirit of Enterprise Award recognizes those members of Congress who have done what’s right for our friends, family, and neighbors running businesses across the country,”
said Tom Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In Florida, small businesses are responsible for three million jobs and account for 99 percent of all employers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Buchanan has worked tirelessly to help these job-creators grow and expand the economy. 

Buchanan said it was a tremendous honor to be recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “As a businessman myself, I know how critical our local businesses and employers are to sustaining a successful and thriving economy. When small businesses succeed, the American people succeed. I look forward to championing pro-growth legislation this year.”

Buchanan is a well-respected leader in Florida's business community and has created thousands of jobs during his 40-year career in business. 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. Buchanan sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal tax policy, health care, Medicare and Social Security.

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Thousands Show up for Buchanan Town Hall

2017/03/19

Congressman's 75th Town Hall Since Taking Office

SARASOTA – An estimated 2,500 people showed up Saturday for an energetic and spirited town hall hosted by Congressman Vern Buchanan at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.

As close to 1,750 people filled the center to capacity, an overflow crowd of 800 were outside, many of them listening via loudspeakers set up by the congressman. Five-thousand people RSVPd to attend the event, but it was impossible to determine how many drove away after parking became unavailable.

Buchanan said he was thrilled at the large number of people who turned out for his 75th town hall since coming to Congress 10 years ago.

“We do things big in Sarasota,” Buchanan told the audience at the start of the event, a big part of which focused on the new congressional plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a health system based on free markets, choice and competition. “This is democracy in action.”

The audience included people who supported and opposed President Trump’s agenda.

Buchanan said he works in a bipartisan manner and puts listening to his constituents as a top priority. “I want to do what’s best for America, not what’s best for one party or the other,” Buchanan said. “You can’t represent someone if you don’t listen to them."


Buchanan said he appreciated the passion expressed by both sides during the 90-minute town hall. “Some of the best ideas come from the people I represent. Their enthusiasm and energy is contagious and I plan to take their viewpoints back to Washington to make sure their voices are heard.”

“What I heard today will help guide my work in Washington on behalf of the people I represent.”


The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center was filled to capacity with 1,750 people.

Buchanan speaks to attendees of his 75th town hall

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REMINDER: Buchanan Town Hall Saturday

2017/03/16

SARASOTA – Congressman Vern Buchanan will hold a town hall in Sarasota on March 18 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to discuss health care, tax cuts and any other issue his constituents want to raise.

“I’ve held 74 town halls over the years and look forward to hearing what people have to say,” Buchanan said.

What: Town Hall with U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.

Where: The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236.

When: Saturday, March 18 at 11 a.m.

The forum will be open to the press. Media please note: the fire marshal’s office will be tracking the number of people entering the town hall for safety and capacity reasons. We cannot guarantee you a seat at this first come, first served event, so if you are interested in covering, please be mindful of that fact.

If you are a reporter who plans on attending, please RSVP to Gretchen Andersen at Gretchen.G.Andersen@mail.house.gov.

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Buchanan Joins Taskforce to Stop Anti-Semitism

2017/03/16

Over 150 Bomb Threats Nationally Since January

WASHINGTON – Citing a recent wave of anti-Semitic threats and vandalism across the country, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he has joined a bipartisan congressional taskforce aimed at combating anti-Semitism.

Since January there have been 161 bomb threats made to Jewish institutions in 37 states, including Jewish community centers, schools and synagogues, according to The Anti-Defamation League. Other troubling incidents have included Jewish cemeteries being vandalized and tombstones overturned as well as swastikas being carved or spray-painted in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods, including Miami Beach and outside of Boca Raton.

The congressional taskforce denounces anti-Semitic incidents and evaluates current law enforcement efforts to fight back against the problem.

“I’m deeply troubled by anti-Semitic activity across the country and in my home state,” Buchanan said. “These growing threats against the Jewish faith cannot be tolerated. A bipartisan response is crucial to address this alarming rise in anti-Semitic acts.”

The Bipartisan Taskforce to Combat Anti-Semitism also promotes Holocaust remembrance and addresses and confronts hateful acts around the world. Last Congress, the Taskforce – which was comprised of 100 members from both parties – held briefings with European ambassadors, victims of anti-Semitism, Jewish organizations and government officials including the Special Envoy for Combating anti-Semitism at the State Department.

This recent vile wave of acts against the Jewish community has even hit South Florida, where bomb threats have forced evacuations at several JCC locations, including Orlando and Tampa. In February, the Israeli consulate in Miami also received a phoned-in bomb threat, prompting the police and a bomb squad to search the building before declaring it safe.

“Congress must be clear: attacks against the Jewish faith are unacceptable,” Buchanan said.

In Buchanan’s district, the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee increased its level of security as a precaution at its campus in Sarasota, according to a Bradenton Herald report.

“In this frightening time with growing anti-Semitism in the United States, we are proud to be able to thank our local Congressman, Vern Buchanan, for joining in this bipartisan effort to work towards ensuring the safety of the Jewish Community,” said Howard Tevlowitz, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

Buchanan recently joined his colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the heads of the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations urging their agencies to investigate bomb threats against JCCs and hold the perpetrators accountable.

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Buchanan Tours World’s 2nd-Largest Bandage Producer

2017/03/14

SARASOTA Congressman Vern Buchanan today toured the manufacturing headquarters of the ASO Corp., an American success story.

ASO is the second-largest producer of adhesive bandages in the world, creating 85 new jobs since 2011. The facility supplies large retailers like Walmart, which was also in attendance for Buchanan’s tour. The jobs expansion has come as part of Walmart’s $250 billion commitment to U.S. manufacturing, according to ASO.

Charles Hart, ASO’s vice president of sales and marketing, led the tour of the Sarasota facility.

“I’d like to thank Congressman Buchanan for his commitment to jobs and for visiting us today,” Hart said. “Our partnership with Walmart is a major contributor of ASO’s growth in employment and infrastructure for the U.S and more specifically Sarasota.”

“ASO has a world-class facility here in Sarasota,” Buchanan said. “This is a true manufacturing success story.”

ASO Corp. staff shows Buchanan (second from right) the company’s warehouse

Buchanan (standing, center) addresses company employees

Buchanan (standing, center) speaks with ASO Corp. employees

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Buchanan Moves Town Hall to Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

2017/03/10

SARASOTA – Congressman Vern Buchanan announced today that his town hall on March 18 has been moved to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to accommodate a larger audience.

“We moved the event to a new location to accommodate a larger audience,” said Buchanan spokeswoman Gretchen Andersen, “We want to make sure everybody gets a chance to attend and is not turned away for lack of seats.”

Van Wezel can accommodate more than 1,700 people. The original location was an auditorium at New College of Florida.

The town hall will be Buchanan’s 75th since taking office and will offer people a chance to discuss health care, tax cuts and any other issue they want to raise.

The March 18th forum will begin at 11 a.m., at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Interested attendees can RSVP here.
 

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Buchanan Wins YMCA Award

2017/03/09

WASHINGTON — The national YMCA presented Congressman Vern Buchanan with the Congressional Champion Award yesterday for his work in support of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

“The YMCA is strengthening our communities and helping young adults learn positive values and life skills,” Buchanan said. “I’m honored to accept this award, but we still have lots of work ahead to support our nation’s youth.”


Buchanan talks to Y leaders at awards breakfast Wednesday in Washington

The awards breakfast was held in Washington as part of the YMCA’s annual National Advocacy Days, when nearly 300 Y leaders from across the country meet in the nation’s capital.

Laura Gilbert, interim president and chief executive officer of the Sarasota Family YMCA, met with Buchanan to discuss the Y’s impact in Southwest Florida.


Buchanan (middle) talks with Laura Gilbert (second from left) and Y leaders

Neal Denton, chief government affairs officer for YMCA of the USA, thanked Buchanan for his leadership on the House Ways & Means committee, and his strong support for the Family First Prevention Services Act and Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act. 

Buchanan introduced the Family First Prevention Services Act – a bipartisan bill aimed at helping children stay at home with their families instead of being placed in group homes or foster care.


Over 500 state and national child welfare organizations supported the legislation in 2016, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Child Welfare League of America and the North American Council on Adoptable Children. An identical version of Buchanan’s bill passed the House unanimously in June 2016, but the Senate failed to act.

The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act is aimed at helping prevent diabetes in seniors and reducing health care costs. The legislation, co-sponsored by Buchanan in the 114th Congress, would extend the benefits of the Centers for Disease Control’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) to seniors under Medicare. NDPP is an evidence-based lifestyle change program that has proven to reduce risk factors and prevent or delay the disease.

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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


Buchanan Questions Treasury Secretary on Obama Economic Plan

2015-02-03 16:57:28


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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