By KEVIN DERBY
With Congress back in session this week, one of the more prominent members of the Florida delegation weighed in on Tuesday as what he hopes to accomplish as he returns to Washington.
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., who sits on the powerful U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, said he would continue efforts against red tide and robocalls while also backing expanded background checks for gun sales and extending federal programs including Social Security, Medicare and the National Flood Insurance Program. Buchanan also said he backed efforts to help veterans and expand education on the Holocaust.
“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.”
The Southwest Florida Republican noted his proposal for an additional $6.25 million to study red tide passed the House in June but has not cleared the U.S. Senate. The same holds true for his “Retirement Security for American Workers Act” to help small businesses offer retirement plans for their employees and the “Rescuing Animals With Rewards Act (RAWR Act)” giving the U.S. State Department more power to crack down on international wildlife traffickers.
Buchanan also stressed he was one of only eight House Republicans to back the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act” which would have the FBI investigate the background of every American who buys a gun. He promised to lobby U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the matter though the measure is not expected to clear the GOP controlled Senate.
While Democrats control the House, Buchanan insisted he would continue to get bills across the finish line.
“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 was first elected to the House in 2006.