Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan to Introduce 7 Bills on Opening Day

Jan 3, 2017
Press Release
Ambitious Agenda to Create Jobs, Balance the Budget & Fight Terrorism

“Historic Opportunity to Move the Country Forward”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he will introduce seven bills to kick off the new session of Congress, saying job creation and tax reform will help raise the standard of living for all Americans.

“As the new Congress gets underway we have a historic opportunity to move the country forward with policies that encourage economic growth and restore fiscal sanity to Washington,” Buchanan said.

The official start of the 115th Congress, including the swearing-in ceremony for all House members, begins at 12 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol. Local press can watch the ceremony live on

Buchanan, who is co-chair of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation, said his top priorities this Congress include tax reform and reducing burdensome regulations to create jobs, preserving Medicare and Social Security, protecting America from terrorists and balancing the federal budget.

The seven bills Buchanan will introduce today include:

  • The Main Street Fairness Act, a key feature of the tax reform blueprint released by House Republican leaders, ensures that small businesses – which employ more than 3 million Floridians – never pay a higher tax rate than large corporations.
  • The Social Media Screening for Terrorists Act, which directs the secretary of Homeland Security to vet all public records, including Facebook and other forms of social media, before admitting foreign travelers and visa applicants into the country.
  • The Support Our Start-Ups Act, which makes it easier and less costly for an entrepreneur to start a new business. The bill would quadruple the amount of start-up costs small business owners can deduct from their federal income taxes, raising it from $5,000 to $20,000.
  • The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act, which passed the U.S. House last Congress, aids Florida orange growers in their battle against citrus greening, which is decimating the citrus industry. The legislation provides tax incentives for farmers who cannot afford to replace trees affected by citrus greening. The bill passed the House in 2016, but did not pass the Senate before Congress adjourned.
  • An amendment to the Constitution of the United States that requires Congress to balance the federal budget. Balancing the budget is an urgent priority as the U.S. is nearing $20 trillion in federal debt.
  • The Thin Blue Line Act, which toughens penalties against anyone who murders police and other first responders. The bill would make the murder or attempted murder of a first responder an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.
  • The SAFE Act, which permanently bans the killing of horses for human consumption in America. The bill also bans the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses where the animals are killed and then shipped overseas.

As a senior member of the powerful tax-cutting U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, the Congressman will play a central role in the debate over lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code. He is focused on fixing the tax code by lowering individual tax rates, making it easier for businesses and individuals to file taxes and making sure that small businesses don’t pay more in taxes than large corporations. 

The Ways and Means Committee will also be key in any debate surrounding Social Security and Medicare. Buchanan is committed to protecting both Medicare and Social Security. In 2016, the President signed into law Buchanan’s proposal to preserve certain Medicare Advantage plans.

“Medicare and Social Security are two of the most successful government programs,” Buchanan said. “For many of our loved ones, these funds are critical to a healthy and secure retirement. We must preserve both programs for today’s seniors and future generations.”

Due to the congressional redistricting process, the boundaries of Buchanan’s district have changed since the 114th Congress. The newly redrawn 16th district no longer includes Sarasota County south of Clark Road and instead picks up eastern and southern portions of Hillsborough County.