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Vern Buchanan begins new session of Congress by introducing seven new bills

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Returning for his sixth term in the House of Representatives, Vern Buchanan is hoping to for significant change in the 115th Congress, announcing that he is introducing seven new bills just hours before he is being sworn back into office.

The Sarasota-based Republican says his top priorities over the next two years include tax reform and reducing burdensome regulations to create jobs, preserving Medicare and Social Security, protecting America from terrorists and balancing the federal budget.

“As the new Congress gets underway we have a historic opportunity to move the country forward with policies that encourage economic growth and restore fiscal sanity to Washington,” Buchanan said.

The seven bills Buchanan will introduce today include:

— The Main Street Fairness Act, a key feature of the tax reform blueprint released by House Republican leaders, ensures that small businesses never pay a higher tax rate than large corporations.

— The Social Media Screening for Terrorists Act, which directs the secretary of Homeland Security to vet all public records, including Facebook and other forms of social media, before admitting foreign travelers and visa applicants into the country.

— The Support Our Start-Ups Act, which makes it easier and less costly for an entrepreneur to start a new business. The bill would quadruple the amount of startup costs small business owners can deduct from their federal income taxes, raising it from $5,000 to $20,000.

— The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act, which passed the U.S. House last Congress but not the Senate, aids Florida orange growers in their battle against citrus greening, which is decimating the citrus industry. The legislation provides tax incentives for farmers who cannot afford to replace trees affected by citrus greening.

— 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 $20 trillion in federal debt.

— The Thin Blue Line Act, which toughens penalties against anyone who murders police and other first responders. The bill would make the murder or attempted murder of a first responder an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.

— The SAFE Act, which permanently bans the killing of horses for human consumption in America. The bill also bans the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses where the animals are killed and then shipped overseas.

Buchanan represents Florida’s 16th Congressional District, which now includes parts of eastern and southern Hillsborough County, in addition to Sarasota and western Manatee counties. He defeated Democrat Jan Schneider last fall.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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