Buchanan Outlines 2018 Priorities
“Bipartisan Cooperation Needed to Move Country Forward”
WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan today outlined his legislative priorities for 2018 that include confronting the drug crisis, combating red tide and protecting Social Security — an agenda he said is achievable with bipartisan cooperation.
Buchanan said he will work to pass specific legislation that addresses some of the big challenges facing Florida and the country. “It’s critical that both parties work together on common-sense solutions that help everyone, from our seniors to our children” Buchanan said. “Bipartisan cooperation is needed to move our state and nation forward.”
Specifically, Buchanan said he will work to:
- Confront Florida’s opioid crisis. Buchanan noted that new federal anti-drug funding will be transferred to states in the coming months and, similar to last year, will work with state and local partners to ensure that critical funding goes to Florida’s Suncoast. Buchanan is also a co-sponsor of the STOP Act to block the influx of drugs into America.
- Fight red tide. Buchanan said that his proposal to increase funding for red tide research, which passed the U.S. House last year, must be included in the next government funding bill. Red tide is currently spreading across the Suncoast and contributed to one of the highest number of manatee deaths in history last year.
- Preserve Social Security. Citing preserving and protecting Social Security as one of his highest priorities in Congress, Buchanan said he is committed to combatting waste, fraud and abuse within the program, and will fight to pass a bill he cosponsored called the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act.
- Secure our borders and protect the American people from terrorism. Buchanan said that Congress must pass legislation to remove dangerous criminals who enter the country illegally and strengthen policies to prevent terrorists from infiltrating our legal immigration system. Buchanan will push for adoption of the Criminal Alien Gang Removal Act, House-passed legislation that would target gang members entering the U.S. Buchanan will also push to eliminate the diversity visa lottery, which has allowed individuals linked to terrorism into the country, by passing the Safe for America Act.
- Extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Buchanan, a longtime supporter of this vital program which provides health care to nine million low-income children nationwide, said that he will continue to push Congress to come together on a bipartisan basis and provide long-term funding and ensure that thousands of kids in his district do not lose coverage.
- Protect police and other first responders. Buchanan said that his Thin Blue Line Act, which increases penalties on cop killers, must pass the Senate and be signed into law in 2018. The bill passed the House in 2017. Ambush-style attacks on police have increased in recent years and contributed to 128 law enforcement fatalities last year alone.
- Extend the current offshore oil drilling moratorium. In light of the Trump administration’s recent troubling proposals to increase offshore drilling and roll back drilling safety requirements, Buchanan said that Congress must pass his bipartisan Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act. Buchanan’s bill would extend the moratorium on offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico for another five years, which is currently set to expire in 2022.
- Ban horse slaughter. Buchanan will also continue to push for passage of his bill, the SAFE Act, which permanently bans the killing of horses for human consumption in America. The bill has continued to gain momentum in Congress and has over 200 cosponsors supporting it in the House. Buchanan said he will also work to continue the existing short-term horse slaughter ban through the federal funding process in the coming months.
- Reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program. Currently set to expire in mid-January, Buchanan said that Congress must quickly act to provide long-term funding and certainty to the National Flood Insurance Program. Buchanan noted that nearly 40 percent of all flood insurance policies nationwide are held by Floridians.
- Help Our Veterans. Buchanan said that he is committed to providing the veteran community much-needed assistance and will be pushing for passage of the VA Care in the Community Act. The bill modernizes the VA’s broken medical claims processing system and improves the current Choice Program by removing roadblocks to veterans getting timely access to quality care.
Buchanan was named chairman of the House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee last week and will lead efforts to update and fine tune the tax reform bill just signed into law.
The congressman most recently served as the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee chairman and chaired the Human Resources Subcommittee in the last Congress. He also sits on the Health Subcommittee and Social Security Subcommittee.
Buchanan recently announced that he had scored major wins in the 2017 session, including three legislative proposals that became law and several others that were adopted by the administration.