Significant momentum building for Vern Buchanan’s bid to be next Ways & Means chair

Vern Buchanan
Anyone who remembers when Bill Young chaired House Appropriations knows this is a big deal.

Momentum is building for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s bid to become the next Ways & Means Committee chair in the U.S. House.

His promotion is “basically a foregone conclusion,” Punchbowl News reported Thursday.

The Longboat Key Republican apparently has decided to shore that up by sending crab legs from Joe’s Stone Crab to the Republican Steering Committee. But it’s going to take more than seafood to put the gavel of the most powerful committee in the U.S. House in Buchanan’s fist, and everyone in Florida should be working to make that happen.

This could dramatically increase the influence Florida wields on the hill.

I still recall the bountiful days when U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, an Indian Shores Republican, served as chair of the House Appropriations Committee from 1999 to 2005. It’s why you see the late Congressman’s name on the C.W. Bill Young V.A. Medical Center in Bay Pines. He also made sure the federal funding came through to improve U.S. 19 through Pinellas County, and he helped put U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

And by the way, the reason MacDill was still there to host Central Command? A couple years prior, U.S. Rep. Sam Gibbons, a Tampa Democrat, stopped the air base from being closed during a brief one-year stint as acting chair of the House Ways & Means Committee in 1994.

If Buchanan lands the Ways & Means Committee chair, it could be an even bigger boon to the state. The committee controls tax policy, trade deals, and budget review, pretty much controlling the revenue stream through Congress.

Buchanan would be the first Florida Congressman to ever be named House Ways & Means Chair for a full Congress, and it’s a position he could hold for years.

Yes, there are outside factors. Republicans need to win the majority next year, but flipping the four or five seats needed to do that seems like a foregone conclusion. Buchanan must be re-elected, but Democrats failed to get close to taking him out the last two election cycles, and while he’s facing a Roger Stone-backed Primary challenger this year, it’s a weak challenge from someone with a history of hurling racist insults and accusing Donald Trump supporters of bigotry.

But Buchanan still needs to have the support of Republican leadership and the GOP members of the committee, which Punchbowl News says could soon include U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who happens to represent a district next to Buchanan’s.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott on Thursday threw a good word in from the upper chamber.

“I cannot think of a member of Congress more capable of leading the House Ways and Means Committee than my friend Vern Buchanan,” the Senator tweeted.

Scott, this cycle, leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee and with it, efforts for the GOP to retake the Senate, a mission that works hand-in-hand with retaking the House.

Everyone with a stake in Buchanan chairing Ways & Means, which includes everyone in Florida, needs to follow Scott’s lead and do all they can to help make this happen.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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