WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today announced that three of his legislative initiatives were successfully included in a sweeping U.S. House-passed government funding bill.

“I’m pleased see several of my top priorities pass the House this week with broad, bipartisan support and will work to see them enacted into law,” said Buchanan. “All three of these provisions focus on important issues that directly affect the people in our community and our environment.”

The three Buchanan provisions include:

  • An amendment to increase grants to prevent prescription drug and opioid overdoses by $2 million. Buchanan has long championed efforts to combat the drug epidemic including introducing the FIGHT Fentanyl Act to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs. In 2019, Buchanan’s Fentanyl Sanctions Act was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. It imposed economic penalties on China-based drug manufacturers that knowingly send synthetic opioids to drug traffickers and criminal operations.
  • An amendment transferring $2 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to examine the record number of manatee deaths in Florida so far this year and report to Congress on ways to help protect the species. Last month, Buchanan called on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to upgrade the manatee from “threatened” to “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. According to Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission a staggering 881 manatees have died so far this year, shattering the previous record of 804 deaths set in 2018. Currently, there are only around 6,500 Florida manatees in the southeastern United States.
  • An amendment to provide $2 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate the link between highly addictive opioids and the alarmingly high rate of suicides among veterans within the last five years. The amendment is critical to learning if prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, are a contributing factor in veteran suicides. Earlier this year a Buchanan measure to reduce military training accidents following the death of Bradenton soldier Nicolas Panipinto was enacted into law.

Last Congress Buchanan had six of his legislative initiatives enacted into law, bringing the total number of legislative initiatives he has passed since taking office in 2007 to 23. He also had numerous other priorities that he either co-sponsored or pushed for signed into law as part of other comprehensive spending or legislative packages during his tenure.