Buchanan Outlines Priorities as Congress Returns
WASHINGTON – As Congress returns to Washington this week, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan outlined his legislative agenda for the upcoming fall session, including more resources to fight red tide and cracking down on robocalls. Buchanan’s priorities also include working on a bipartisan basis to protect Social Security and Medicare, expand background checks for gun purchases and extend the National Flood Insurance Program.
“It’s imperative that Republicans and Democrats work together on common-sense solutions that help all Americans, from our seniors to our children,” Buchanan said. “No single party has the market cornered on good ideas. We need more civility and less partisanship in Washington.”
Buchanan also said he will continue to push for legislation to support our nation’s veterans, improve Holocaust education in our schools and help workers save for retirement.
Buchanan’s specific goals include:
Fight red tide. In June, the U.S. House passed Buchanan’s measure calling for $6.25 million to study the impact of red tide on human health. The bill awaits action in the Senate.
Support veterans. With scandals and shortcomings plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs, Buchanan will continue to demand accountability and fight to get veterans the care they deserve. Buchanan is pushing for passage of his bill, 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.
Ensure retirement security. Buchanan’s House-passed bill, the Retirement Security for American Workers Act, makes it easier for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to employees. The bill is pending in the Senate. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, up to 35 percent of private-sector workers over the age of 22 work for a company that doesn’t offer a retirement plan.
Keep guns out of criminals’ hands. The congressman was one of eight Republicans to vote for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8) earlier this year, legislation requiring all gun purchasers to pass an FBI background check. Under current law, an estimated 22 percent of gun buyers evade the screening by buying guns over the internet, at gun shows or through private sales. Buchanan has urged Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to take up and pass the bill.
Protect endangered wildlife. In July the U.S. House passed Buchanan’s 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. Now Buchanan is pushing for Senate passage.
Silence robocalls. Buchanan has worked to enact legislation that would stop the millions of robocalls that Floridians face each year. These phone scams can defraud innocent Americans out of their life savings – especially vulnerable seniors. Last year, robocalls increased by 46% as nearly 48 billion were placed in the U.S.
Extend the National Flood Insurance Program. Buchanan is fighting to enact a long-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to expire at the end of the month without Congressional action. The NFIP provides coverage to almost two million Floridians – accounting for nearly 40 percent of insurance policies nationwide.
End surprise medical billing. Millions of Americans have faced significant financial hardship from unexpected medical bills. According to a recent study, the average potential cost to patients associated with out-of-network bills more than doubled from 2010-2016. Buchanan is committed to ensuring that patients and their families are protected from these unanticipated costs.
Protect Social Security and Medicare. With more than 220,000 individuals receiving retirement and disability payments, Florida’s 16th District is home to one of the highest number of social security beneficiaries in the country, and many depend on Medicare for vital health services. That’s why one of Buchanan’s top priorities is protecting and preserving these programs for current retirees and future generations. In April Buchanan’s legislation requiring drug pricing information to be shared with Medicare passed the House Ways and Means Committee, the measure is estimated to save the Medicare program $1.7 billion.
Improve Holocaust education. Following an alarming rise in anti-Semitism across the country, Buchanan is calling for passage of legislation he co-sponsored to help educate students nationwide about the horrors of the Holocaust. Shockingly, a 2018 survey found that 22 percent of U.S. millennials have either never heard of or are unsure if they have heard of the Holocaust.
Crackdown on criminal gangs. Buchanan will push for House passage of his bill, 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.
Buchanan said he would continue to work across the political aisle to enact meaningful legislation. “As co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, I know how critical it is to work with members in both parties to get results,” he said.
Buchanan has been recognized as one of the most bipartisan members of Congress by the non-partisan Lugar Center and as one of the most effective members of Congress by the Center for Effective Lawmaking.
In the 115th Congress, Buchanan had seven bills signed into law by President Trump, five alone in 2018.