Vern Buchanan filed bills touching on immigration, animal rights
Vern Buchanan is applauding a new requirement for visa applicants to provide social media usernames.


U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, chairman of Florida’s legislative delegation, filed seven new bills at the start of the 116th Congress.

“I am hopeful that we can advance meaningful bipartisan legislation to continue generating economic growth and opportunity for millions of Americans,” said the Sarasota Republican.

His newly filed legislation touches on a range of topics from immigration to animal welfare.

Buchanan’s office released the following list of bills:

  • The Veterans Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the link between addictive opioids and the high rate of suicides among veterans.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 world.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Additionally, he said as a member of the Ways and Means committee, his top priorities would remain on preserving Social Security and Medicare.

“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 in November won re-election over Democratic challenger David Shapiro. He was sworn in this week to his seventh term in Congress.

Of course, this marks the first time since 2011 he started the term as a member of the minority. Democrats won a majority in November, in part due to flipping two Florida seats.

Staffers expect he will remain chair of the Florida delegation.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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