Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Introduces 7 Bills on Opening Day

Jan 4, 2019
Press Release
Helping Veterans, Farmers & First Responders

WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan introduced seven bills on the first day of the new Congress and called for greater bipartisan cooperation to move the country forward.

“As the new Congress commences, I am hopeful that we can advance meaningful bipartisan legislation to continue generating economic growth and opportunity for millions of Americans,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan, who is co-chair of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation, said his top priorities this Congress include protecting Social Security and Medicare, creating jobs, and supporting our nation’s veterans.

The seven bills Buchanan introduced include:

  1. The Veterans Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the link between addictive opioids and the alarmingly high rate of suicides among veterans. 
  2. The No Pay Raise for Congress Act, which prohibits pay raises for members of Congress in any fiscal year they fail to balance the budget.
  3. 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 $22 trillion in federal debt.
  4. The Rescuing Animals With Rewards Act (RAWR Act), which allows the Department of State to offer rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of wildlife traffickers around the globe.
  5. The Defending Domestic Produce Production Act, which levels the playing field for Florida fruit and vegetable growers by allowing them to more easily combat Mexico’s unfair and illegal trade practices.
  6. The Thin Blue Line Act, which toughens penalties against anyone who murders police and other first responders. The bill, which passed the U.S. House in the 115th Congress, would make the murder or attempted murder of a first responder an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.
  7. The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, which prohibits gang members from entering the U.S. and allows for them to be deported if they are already here. The legislation also disqualifies these dangerous individuals from receiving asylum or temporary protected status.

As a senior member of the powerful U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security and Medicare, Buchanan will continue to fight to protect these programs. In 2016, the president signed into law Buchanan’s proposal to preserve certain Medicare Advantage plans.

“Social Security and Medicare are two of the most successful government programs,” Buchanan said. “For many of our family members, these funds are essential to a healthy and secure retirement. We must preserve both programs for current seniors and future generations.”

Buchanan has earned high marks from independent groups that track effectiveness and bipartisanship in Congress. The Center for Effective Lawmaking, a respected non-partisan research group run by the University of Virginia ranked Buchanan one of the most effective members of Congress from either party. Another study by the non-partisan Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy called Buchanan one of the most bipartisan members of Congress.

Buchanan attributed his legislative accomplishments to a willingness to work on a bipartisan basis to achieve results for his constituents and the state of Florida.