WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today announced that three of his legislative initiatives were signed into law at the end of the 117th Congress. These mark Buchanan’s 27th, 28th and 29th proposals to become law since taking office in 2007.

Buchanan has had four initiatives signed by President Bush, six by President Obama and 13 by President Trump. He has also seen six legislative proposals signed into law by President Biden this Congress.  

Buchanan’s measures signed into law include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act (H.R.2856) , the Little Manatee River Wild and Scenic River Act (H.R.4358) and the Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act (H.R.6604).

Buchanan’s FDA Modernization Act, which was just signed into law, ends an antiquated government requirement that animal testing must be used to determine a drug’s human efficacy. This outdated mandate is detrimental to the development of new drugs because relying on animal biology to measure test results on humans is often highly inaccurate. In fact, the failure rate in translating animal studies to human clinical trials is nearly 96 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

“The FDA Modernization Act will streamline drug development and spur innovation without resorting to inhumane and counterproductive experiments on dogs, primates and other animals,” said Buchanan. “In addition to preventing unnecessary and cruel animal abuse, this legislation will be pivotal in promoting faster delivery of cures for devastating diseases. This is a win-win for science and animal welfare.”

Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, said, “We applaud Rep. Vern Buchanan for his tremendous leadership and tireless work to secure the enactment of the FDA Modernization Act that will save millions of animal lives by cutting federal red tape. It’s a win-win for people, animals, and industry, and will help reduce drug costs and ease the pain for Americans during an era where inflation has driven up the average American family’s living costs.”

The Little Manatee Wild and Scenic River Act, which was signed into law as part of a year-end package, aims to designate the approximately 51-mile-long segment of the river, beginning at its source in southeastern Hillsborough County flowing downstream to the point at which the river enters Tampa Bay, as a scenic river. In January, the House Natural Resources Committee amended Buchanan’s bill to authorize a formal National Park Service study of the river before an official designation can occur.

“Protecting Florida’s beautiful lands and pristine waterways is one of my top priorities,” said Buchanan. “Designating the Little Manatee River as ‘scenic’ will ensure that it is kept in its current, pristine condition for future generations to enjoy. This bill brings us one step closer to making this historic designation a reality.”

The designation will protect this river for public enjoyment without the fear of intrusive development. The designation ensures the river remains available for a full range of recreational activities, like canoeing, kayaking, boating and fishing.

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White said, “I was delighted to receive the news that the Senate has passed Congressman Buchanan’s bill to authorize the NPS to study the idea of potentially designating the Little Manatee River as a National Wild and Scenic River. . . We are blessed to have such a beautiful river right in our own backyard. I’d like to thank Congressman Buchanan once again for his efforts to pass this legislation in the House. Additionally, I’d like to thank Senator Rick Scott for his work to move this legislation through the Senate.”

Finally, Buchanan’s VETS Credit Act was signed into law as a standalone measure and will help student veterans by ensuring they are able to quickly and easily transfer their course credits to another institution should their school close or program end suddenly.

“The G.I. Bill’s promise of a college education is one of the most important and effective tools we have to recruit and retain the very best and brightest to serve in the U.S. armed forces,” said Buchanan. “I’m pleased to see this legislation become law and ensure that no veteran loses access to the valuable G.I. Bill credits they earned and deserve by virtue of their service.”

While current law requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to restore G.I. Bill benefits (up to 12 credits) to eligible student veterans whose schools close or program ends in the middle of a semester, the process can be very confusing and oftentimes leaves veterans unable to easily transfer their earned credits to a new school.

In the 117th Congress, Buchanan also had three other initiatives signed into law, including legislation to prevent common scams against seniors, increase grants to prevent prescription drug and opioid overdoses and implement a series of new military training reforms