With the 117th Congress heading to work, Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) is affirming that “2021 will be the year of recovery and rebuilding.” In turn, the Florida lawmaker has introduced 10 bills on opening day as part of this “recovery” plan, prioritizing the restoration of the American economy, protecting social security and medicare, reducing the debt, fighting the red tide and more.
As the co-chair of the 20-member Florida congressional delegation, Buchanan argued that lawmakers “need to make sure people are safe and have jobs to return to.”
Buchanan is the senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and he is involved in developing a major infrastructure bill regarding public-private partnerships that aim to create tens of thousands of new jobs. As well, as part of the 116th Congress, Buchanan took part in six legislative initiatives that were enacted into law, which equals to 23 legislative initiatives that the sunshine state lawmaker has passed since taking office in 2007.
The 10 bills introduced by Buchanan are the following:
The Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act, which would create a new federal office responsible for stockpiling adequate supplies of critical medicines and encourage companies to ramp up the manufacturing of those drugs. The coronavirus has exposed how dangerously reliant our medical supply chain is on China and other countries, which is why we must take immediate take steps to become less dependent on foreign countries for life-saving drugs.
- An amendment to the Constitution of the United Statesthat requires Congress to balance the federal budget. Balancing the budget is an urgent priority as the U.S. national debt has reached $27 trillion and continues to grow.
- TheNo Pay Raise for Congress Act, which prohibits pay raises for members of Congress in any fiscal year they fail to balance the budget.
- The Protecting Local Communities from Harmful Algal Blooms Act, which would amend the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to include algal blooms in the definition of a “major disaster”. This change would require the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to provide both technical and financial assistance to states suffering from outbreaks of Harmful Algal Blooms like red tide. Southwest Florida is uniquely vulnerable to red tide, as it has seen this type of algae bloom occur more than twice as often as any other area in the state.
- 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.Veterans are twice as likely as civilians to die from overdoses of opioid painkillers.
- 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.
- The Thin Blue Line Act, which toughens penalties against anyone who murders police officers 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 Sunshine Protection Act, which would end the twice-a-year clock change that takes place every November and March. Florida is one of 14 states that has voted to eliminate the time change and move to permanent daylight saving time, but congressional approval is required.
- The Comprehensive Access to Robust Insurance Now Guaranteed (CARING) for Kids Act, which would permanently extend funding for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to ensure kids continue to receive the health care they need. Under current law, the CHIP program needs to be reauthorized every few years, which places its funding in jeopardy and makes it a bargaining chip in legislative negotiations.
- The CREEPER Act 2.0, to protect children from predators. The legislation will help reduce pedophilia by banning the sale of lifelike child sex dolls used by predators to “normalize” their behavior.
In addition, Buchanan plans to reintroduce the American Innovation Act, “which removes some of the initial barriers to creating a business, putting money back in the pocket of our state’s best job creators – setting start-ups on a path toward success.”