Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Scams Against Elderly Rising

2016/08/23

Nearly One in Five Americans Over 65 Get Scammed

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today called on Congress to help protect seniors against the growing number of financial scams, saying nearly one in five Americans over 65 will be victimized by fraud.

Buchanan said Congress should pass the bipartisan Seniors Fraud Prevention Act, legislation he co-authored to help crack down on scams targeting seniors. 

The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a senior fraud group that would alert consumers about scams, maintain online resources and create an effective complaint system to ensure that reports of fraud are quickly forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

“Protecting seniors should be a bipartisan priority,” Buchanan said. “The Senate and House should move swiftly to approve this bill and put it on the president’s desk before more seniors fall victim to financial fraud.” The AARP and the Elder Justice Coalition have endorsed Buchanan’s bill.

Nearly one in five Americans over the age of 65 have “been taken advantage of financially in terms of an inappropriate investment, unreasonably high fees for financial services, or outright fraud,” according to a recent survey from the Investor Protection Trust.

A poll conducted by the American Institute of CPAs in 2015 found that nearly half of CPA financial planners have seen an increase in elder fraud or abuse in the past five years.

Compounding the seriousness of the problem is the fact that the over-65 population is expected to grow to 20 percent of the total U.S. population by 2050, and that “financial abuse is expected to rise in tandem,” according to a New York Times report.

“Seniors have worked and saved their entire lives and should not be ripped off when they most need their money,” Buchanan said. “Unfortunately, con artists and predators have targeted older Americans with a variety of financial scams.”

The scope of financial fraud against seniors is staggering. Estimates of seniors’ annual losses from these activities range from $3 billion to $36 billion.

Some common scams include:

  • Impersonating an IRS agent – nearly one million people have been targeted by a scam in which a fraudster pretending to be from the IRS contacts a victim via phone. The criminal accuses the victim of owing back taxes and demands money. But seniors should know that the IRS will never call a taxpayer to demand immediate payment and that the agency will never ask for a credit card number over the phone.
  • Telephone scams – there are a wide variety of telephone scams that target seniors. In one pervasive scam, a caller pretends to be a grandchild that needs money wired to them immediately for a legal or medical issue (or in some cases a doctor or police office holding their grandchild). The FTC received more than 14,000 complaints of people impersonating friends or family members in 2014.
     
  • Identity theft – there are a number of scams that target seniors’ personal information, including their Social Security Numbers. To get access to this information, some scammers simply steal mail, while others can pretend to be a Medicare representative. Thieves can then steal an identity or use the information to file false tax returns. According to the FTC, Florida has the highest per capita rate of identity theft. Of the cities with the most identity theft complaints in 2014, nine of the top 20 are in Florida. The FTC reports that more than 800 people in Sarasota, North Port and Bradenton logged complaints last year, earning the area the 39th spot on the agency’s list.

“Seniors must be on guard against criminals who will rob them of their financial security,” Buchanan said. “In order to protect yourself, it pays to know what the scammers are up to.”

Buchanan is a leader in cracking down on senior crimes, particularly identity theft. In December 2015, Buchanan’s Taxpayer Identity Protection Act, which took Social Security Numbers off of the most commonly used tax form, was signed into law as part of a larger bill. Social Security Numbers are often taken in order to steal an identity.

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Vets Groups Back Buchanan’s Fight Vs. Wasteful Spending by VA

2016/08/19

WASHINGTON – Two of the nation’s leading veterans’ groups today backed Congressman Vern Buchanan’s effort to end wasteful spending by the Veterans Administration on luxury artwork.

Concerned Veterans for America and the Veterans for Common Sense said the VA’s priorities should be focused on helping veterans, not purchasing opulent artwork for their buildings or offices.

Buchanan last week called for an immediate freeze on all artwork purchases made by the VA following a report that the agency spent more than $20 million on high-end artwork, sculptures and art consulting services over the last 10 years.

Dan Caldwell, vice president of policy and communications at Concerned Veterans for America, said, “The VA’s flawed priorities are actively hurting our veterans – on the backs of American taxpayers.”

Caldwell commended Buchanan, saying, “While veterans nationwide are struggling to receive basic health care, the VA is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on sculptures.”

Anthony Hardie, the director of Veterans for Common Sense, voiced a similar concern: “There are much more pressing needs and systemic problems at VA facilities around the country that need to be addressed before the VA spends millions of taxpayer dollars on lavish new artwork, including fixing VA’s suicide hotline so it can always provide immediate assistance,” Hardie said.

Buchanan said the VA should focus on providing care to veterans, not padding the pockets of art consultants.

“It’s disgraceful that the VA put money toward these purchases as veterans waited weeks, sometimes months, on end to see a doctor,” Buchanan said. “The VA’s repeated failure to provide veterans with urgently-needed care is unacceptable. The agency should focus on fulfilling its obligation to our nation’s veterans instead of buying fancy artwork.”

Some of the outrageous expenditures included $115,600 for “art consultants” for the VA’s Palo Alto facility, $330,000 for a glass-art installation and $21,500 for an artificial 27-foot Christmas tree. Nearly $1.3 million was spent on the installation of a rock sculpture outside a VA mental health center that is meant to evoke “a sense of transformation, rebuilding and self-investigation,” according to the Washington Post.

Florida is home to more than 1.6 million veterans, and Buchanan’s congressional district has the second-highest number of veterans over the age of 65 in the state.

The investigation into the VA’s expenditures on luxury art arrives as the department attempts to resolve recent issues with its 24-hour veterans’ suicide hotline. The VA’s inspector general reported earlier this year that distressed calls made by veterans were ignored or sent to voicemail and that the call center was ill-equipped to meet the demand of incoming calls. Similarly, a report released in June by the government’s nonpartisan watchdog group found that nearly 30 percent of text messages sent as a test to a crisis hotline went unanswered.

“It’s no wonder the VA has yet to regain the public’s trust,” Buchanan said. “The department failed to fix its suicide hotline, choosing instead to pour millions of dollars into adorning walls and lobbies.”

For more than nine months the VA has refused to provide information and answer questions from the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee about its frivolous spending habits. The committee is threatening to subpoena the VA unless it receives answers by Aug. 26th.

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Buchanan Advises Readiness as Sarasota Confirms First Zika Case

2016/08/16

Local Transmission Puts State “In Crisis Mode”

WASHINGTON – As state officials confirmed the first Zika case in Sarasota County, Congressman Vern Buchanan today urged Suncoast residents to take common-sense steps to prevent infections.

“All Floridians must take immediate action to protect themselves and prevent Zika from spreading any further,” Buchanan said. “My state is in crisis mode. Families and business owners cannot overlook the very real threat this virus poses to public health.”


Florida is ground zero for the Zika virus. On Friday, the Florida Department of Health released a report confirming the first travel-related case of Zika occurred in Sarasota County. Cases have been reported in 35 of Florida’s 67 counties, including Manatee County which has two travel-related infections.

According to the state’s health department there are 420 travel-related Zika cases, in addition to the 30 infections that are likely the result of infected mosquitoes, making Florida the only state in the nation with confirmed local transmission of the disease. Across Florida, 59 pregnant women are infected with the virus.

Buchanan also announced the launch of a Zika Preparedness section on his website at https://buchanan.house.gov/zika-preparedness.Visitors to the site will find information on signs and symptoms for identifying the virus, tips on preventing mosquito bites and keeping them from entering your homes and businesses, and helpful links to state and federal resources.


Signs and symptoms of Zika infection may include: a mild fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, body aches, headache, eye pain, and vomiting. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that many people infected with Zika virus will not have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. However, pregnant mothers and babies can exhibit much more severe warning signs.

If you develop these symptoms and you’ve been in an area with Zika present, see a healthcare provider – especially if you are pregnant. The CDC advises that you should be sure to tell your doctor or other healthcare provider where you traveled.

“The situation in Florida has escalated and experts are diligently working to stop the virus from spreading,” Buchanan said. “But containing this virus isn’t just up to health officials – it’s up to all of us. Floridians need to step up to the plate and safeguard their loved ones from Zika while the summer heat worsens.”

To reduce the risk of mosquito bites, health experts recommend residents and travelers to use insect repellant and drain any water collected in garbage cans, gutters, pool covers or any other containers so mosquitoes will have fewer places to breed. In order to keep mosquitoes outside buildings, the Congressman also urged Floridians to use screens on windows, doors, porches and patios and be sure to keep them sealed.

The CDC reports there are 1,962 reported cases of Zika in the U.S.

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Buchanan Calls For Freeze on VA Art Spending

2016/08/11

Grotesque Portrait of Government Waste

WASHINGTON – Citing a report that the Department of Veterans Affairs spent millions of taxpayer dollars on luxury art as the veterans’ health scandal unfolded, Congressman Vern Buchanan today called for an immediate freeze on all artwork purchases made by the agency.

According to an investigation conducted by COX Media and others, the VA spent $20 million dollars on high-end artwork, sculptures and art consulting services over the last ten years.


Some of the outrageous expenditures included $115,600 for “art consultants,” for the VA’s Palo Alto facility, $330,000 for a glass-art installation and $21,500 for an artificial 27-foot Christmas tree.

Nearly $1.3 million was spent on the installation of a rock sculpture outside a VA mental health center that is meant to evoke “a sense of transformation, rebuilding and self-investigation,” according to the Washington Post.

“The VA needs to focus first and foremost on providing veterans with timely and quality care, not padding the pockets of art consultants,” Buchanan said. “Over 70,000 veterans, including many in Florida, still face unreasonable delays when trying to access VA care and benefits. These purchases are a slap in the face for struggling veterans and their families.” 

The report arrives more than two years after it was revealed that VA employees at 110 facilities nationwide kept secret lists and manipulated wait time data to conceal the amount of time veterans waited for medical care. As many as 40 patients died at one VA facility while on these wait lists, which resulted in the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and the worst scandal in the VA’s history.

Buchanan, a former member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said he was “disturbed” the VA managed to direct federal resources to high-end art at a time when veteran suicide rates are skyrocketing.


Researchers recently found that the risk of suicide for veterans is 21 percent higher when compared to civilian adults, according to Military Times.

“The VA should be using their funding to care for and heal our wounded warriors,” Buchanan said. “The president recently said the nation has a “sacred covenant” to care for our veterans. He said nothing about a sacred covenant to care for our art consultants. It’s time his administration put action behind those words as we continue to welcome home the men and women who served our country.”

For more than nine months the VA has refused to provide information and answer questions from the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee over its frivolous spending habits. The committee is threatening to subpoena the VA unless it receives answers by Aug 26th.

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Buchanan Calls for Federal Whistleblower Protections

2016/08/08

“Exposing Government Misconduct Should Not Be Punished”

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today called for passage of whistleblower protection legislation, saying the Veterans Affairs scandal might have remained hidden if not for employees exposing government fraud.

“We should reward people who disclose government abuse, not punish them,” Buchanan said. “Whistleblowers have saved lives by exposing gross negligence and misconduct at veterans’ hospitals, airports and hospitals, among other places.”

Buchanan noted the U.S. House passed, with his support, legislation protecting whistleblowers against retribution. The Congressman said the Senate needs to approve the bill and send it to the president’s desk.

Specifically, the Thoroughly Investigating Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Act provides much-needed funding for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent agency tasked with investigating allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers and enforcing the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.

The OSC is addressing a “substantial and steady surge” in the number of federal employees alleging prohibited personnel practices, such as retaliation for whistleblowing, according to a recent report conducted by the agency.

The bill also makes it easier for OSC to investigate allegations of retaliation or misconduct by agencies withholding information and documents during an investigation. The measure clarifies that OSC is authorized to access any record or information available within its jurisdiction.

“Intimidation of whistleblowers must not be tolerated,” Buchanan said. “The men and women who expose government misconduct are helping us make the bureaucracy work better for the American people. Congress needs to make sure that they’re protected from retaliation.”

The Obama administration has been criticized for its treatment of federal employees who reveal instances of wrongdoing in government agencies.

Whistleblowers across the federal government continue to face unlawful retaliation, such as harassment, demotion or firing, after coming forward under the Obama administration, according to a recent report in the Washington Examiner.

In April 2014 Dr. Katherine Mitchell blew the whistle on unsafe conditions in the Phoenix VA emergency department and manipulation of wait time data to conceal the amount of time veterans waited for medical care. In the months to come numerous employees across VA facilities followed Dr. Mitchell’s brave lead, testifying before Congress about secret wait lists and the widespread manipulation of patient wait time data. As many as 40 patients died at a facility while on these wait lists, which resulted in the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and the worst scandal in the VA’s history.


The OSC experienced an “unprecedented rise” in its caseload over the last few years, due in large part to new whistleblower disclosures, which involve employee reports of gross mismanagement, waste, fraud, abuse or illegality. The agency received 2,000 new whistleblower disclosures in fiscal year 2015, a 171 percent increase from the fiscal year in which President Obama took office.

Some examples of whistleblowers who faced reprisal under the Obama administration include:

  • Brandon Coleman, who worked at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, reported the mishandling of care for suicidal veterans in 2015. After Coleman raised concerns with his supervisor he was suspended from his job, as reported by the Washington Post.
     
  • Andrew Rhoades, assistant federal security director with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), blew the whistle on security lapses at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2015. When Rhoades brought the issue to his supervisor, he was falsely accused of leaking information to the media and ordered to be transferred to Tampa, Fla., as reported by the Washington Times.
     
  • Peter Forcelli, agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), blew the whistle on the botched “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking operation along the U.S.-Mexican border, which led to thousands of guns ending up in the hands of organized drug gangs and the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Forcelli faced retaliation from the government after testifying before Congress in 2011, as reported by NPR.
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Buchanan Tells White House “Stop Accepting Syrian Refugees”

2016/08/04

FBI Director Warns “Terrorist Diaspora out of Syria Like We’ve Never Seen Before”

WASHINGTON — In a letter sent today to President Obama, Congressman Vern Buchanan urged an immediate halt in accepting Syrian refugees. Buchanan said America’s national security is at risk based on FBI Director James Comey’s warning of “a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before.” 

Comey last week said the defeat of ISIS soldiers in Syria and Iraq will likely result in dispersing terrorists elsewhere, including America. “At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before.” Comey added, “Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield.”

The FBI director's warning that the collapse of the caliphate will mean increased attacks in Western Europe and the United States mirrors a consensus among intelligence officials, according to CNN.

In his letter to the president, Buchanan said, “We need to stop accepting Syrian refugees as a matter of national security.”

The Congressman cited a clear pattern in which a number of recent attacks have been carried out by ISIS terrorists with ties to Syria, including the bombing of a music festival in Germany, the killing of a French priest and the murder of a German woman with a machete. Syrian refugees played a part, either as attackers or accomplices, in all three attacks.

FBI Director Comey’s remarks come as the Obama administration continues to accelerate the acceptance of Syrian refugees as part of it so-called “surge operation.” The president has said he wants to admit 10,000 Syrians by the end of September.

Buchanan called the president’s goal extremely troubling, noting that White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently admitted that the refugee screening process “typically takes 12 to 18 months....the reason for that process is that the safety and security of the U.S. homeland comes first.”

According to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center, a total of 7,751 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the U.S. since the beginning of last October, and nearly 5,000 in the last two months alone.  

The risks of rushing to accept Syrian refugees were magnified by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s warning that “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees” when discussing bringing refugees into the U.S. He even went so far as to call it a huge concern of ours.

Buchanan said the lives of Americans must come before providing refugee assistance. “Terrorists are leaving Syria disguised as refugees and carrying out attacks in the West,” Buchanan said. “The prudent course of action is to halt all admissions of Syrians into the U.S. until the safety of Americans can be guaranteed."

Buchanan urged the president to work with world leaders to create a safe zone for refugees inside Syria or in a neighboring country. According to data from the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. could support the resettlement of 12 refugees in the Middle East for the cost of caring for one refugee in the U.S.

Full text of Buchanan’s letter below:

August 4, 2016

The Honorable Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

I urge you to immediately stop accepting Syrian refugees as a matter of national security. The chilling prediction by FBI Director James Comey of “a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before” warrants an immediate freeze on Syrian refugees.

Director Comey warned the nation last week that the defeat of ISIS soldiers in Syria and Iraq will likely result in their dispersal elsewhere, including America. 

The FBI director's warning that the collapse of the caliphate will mean increased attacks in Western Europe and the United States mirrors an alarming consensus among intelligence officials.

We are seeing a clear pattern in which a number of recent attacks have been carried out by ISIS terrorists with ties to Syria, including: the July 24 bombing of a music festival in Germany; the July 26 killing of a French priest; and the July 24 murder of a German woman with a machete. Syrian refugees played a part, either as attackers or accomplices, in all three attacks.

In the context of this clear threat, your goal of admitting 10,000 Syrians as a part of a so-called “surge operation” is extremely troubling, particularly given that White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently admitted that the screening process “typically takes 12 to 18 months....the reason for that process is that the safety and security of the U.S. homeland comes first.”

I urge you to work with world leaders to create a safe zone for refugees inside Syria or in a neighboring country. According to data from the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. could support the resettlement of 12 refugees in the Middle East for the cost of caring for one refugee in the U.S.

Terrorists are leaving Syria disguised as refugees and carrying out attacks in the West. The prudent course of action is to halt all admissions of Syrians into the U.S. until the safety of Americans can be guaranteed.

Sincerely,
 

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress

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President Obama Signs Buchanan’s Anti-Fraud Legislation

2016/08/01

Abuse Hurts Truly Needy Families in Sarasota, Manatee Counties

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s legislation to end taxpayer rip-offs in federally subsidized public housing has been signed into law by President Obama, the congressman announced today.

The president signed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, which includes a provision authored by Buchanan to tighten income and asset verification requirements for people in public housing. The bill was approved by Congress after an audit revealed that one individual qualified for public housing even though he had assets valued at $1.6 million. The president signed the bill Friday.

“Public housing should be for those who need it the most, not individuals with six-figure incomes and millions of dollars in assets,” Buchanan said. “This abuse of taxpayer dollars must be dealt with in an aggressive way. This bill helps ensure millionaires are not living in public housing on the American taxpayer’s dime.”

Both the Sarasota Housing Authority and Manatee County Housing Authority have previously voiced their support for the measure and applauded Buchanan’s leadership on the issue.

Buchanan introduced the amendment following a shocking report that revealed 25,000 public housing residents earned too much to qualify for taxpayer-funded public housing subsidies.

Specifically, this new law requires the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish guidelines for public housing agencies and landlords to use existing databases to verify the income and assets of individuals receiving public housing benefits. Currently, public housing agencies and landlords simply rely on tenants to self-report this information, which is time consuming to collect and verify.

According to an
audit last year by the Inspector General of HUD, a Nebraska tenant was approved to live in subsidized housing for 10 years with a monthly rent of just $300, despite having an annual income of $65,007, assets valued at $1.6 million, and savings, checking and retirement accounts each holding hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The audit found that the federal government gave tax-subsidized, low-income housing to thousands of families who didn’t qualify while hundreds of thousands of needy families were left on waiting lists.

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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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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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