Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Buchanan Outlines End-of-Year Priorities

Washington, D.C. - November 13, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Vern Buchanan today outlined his legislative priorities for the final four weeks of the 115th Congress – a list that includes environmental protection, retirement security and animal welfare.

“This is going to be a very active lame-duck session and I intend to fight for local priorities, including more funding for red tide research, helping start-up small businesses and banning the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.

“These are all bipartisan measures with strong support,” said Buchanan, who was named one of the most bipartisan members of Congress this year by the non-partisan Lugar Center.

The 115th Congress has already been Buchanan's most successful session since he was first elected in 2006. Buchanan's 16th legislative initiative, designed to reduce opioid addiction, was recently signed by President Trump.

Specifically, Buchanan said he will work over the next four weeks to:

  • Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The program, which expired September 30, is widely regarded as a critical tool for funding conservation efforts throughout the United States. Earlier this year, Buchanan led a bipartisan Florida delegation letter calling for the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Ensure retirement security. Buchanan will continue to push for Senate passage of his bill, the Retirement Security for American Workers Act, to make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to employees. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, up to 35 percent of private-sector workers over the age of 22 work for a company that doesn’t offer a retirement plan.
  • Fight red tide. Buchanan has called for passage of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act which provides more than $100 million to combat Harmful Algal Blooms like red tide. Earlier this year his proposal to increase funding for red tide research was signed into law.
  • Protect police and other first responders. Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act, which increases penalties on cop killers, passed the House with bipartisan support and now needs Senate approval. Ambush-style attacks on police have increased in recent years and contributed to 128 law enforcement fatalities last year alone.
  • Crack down on sanctuary cities. Two bills Buchanan cosponsored passed the U.S. House and need Senate approval – the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law. The bills would cut federal funds for sanctuary cities and toughen penalties against anyone who re-enters the country after being deported.
  • Protect dogs and cats. Buchanan’s bill the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act outlaws the slaughter of dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption in the United States. Dogs and cats provide love and companionship to millions of people and should not be slaughtered and sold as food. The bill passed the House in September.
  • Help start-up businesses. Noting that only 50 percent of small businesses survive past their first five years, Buchanan’s legislation, the American Innovation Act, will help businesses stay afloat and grow by making it significantly less costly to start a new business. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate.


    Washington, D.C. - November 13, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) praised President Trump’s Presidential Proclamation Addressing Mass Migration Through the Southern Border of the United States [1] and Department of Homeland Security’s newly released asylum rule.

    Congressman Brooks said, “Each year, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens furtively thumb their noses at America’s sovereignty by clandestinely violating our borders and laws. Now, Central American caravans openly and brazenly seek to do the same. This outrageous conduct cannot be, and should not be, tolerated by America. As a sovereign nation, the American people have every right to expect their government to secure our borders.”

    Brooks continued, “Illegal immigration hurts American workers and taxpayers. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal aliens are a net $116 billion annual cost to American taxpayers.[2] That’s $300 in additional taxes each man, woman and child in America is forced to pay for people whose first act on American soil is to violate American law.”

    Brooks concluded, “Fraud and abuse plague America’s asylum system. Let me make this clear: no one has a right to demand asylum from any nation. Asylum and sanctuary is a discretionary benefit given by nations to those with clear justification.[3] Too often, illegal aliens are coached by attorneys to say ‘magic words’ that help them take advantage of America’s generosity. Their exploitation of America’s already generous immigration laws must stop! As such, I support President Trump’s steps to close asylum loopholes and stop the damage to America caused by illegal aliens’ wrongful conduct.”

    Key information on illegal immigration and asylum:

    • So far in FY18, 500,000 people apprehended attempting to cross the border, about 100,000 at checkpoints and 400,000 in the interior.[4]

    • According to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, “[i]n recent weeks, United States officials have each day encountered an average of approximately 2,000 inadmissible aliens at the southern border.”[5]

    • According to data provided by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, “[o]ver the past decade, the overall percentage of aliens subject to expedited removal and referred, as part of the initial screening process, for a credible-fear interview jumped from approximately 5% to above 40%, and the total number of credible-fear referrals for interviews increased from about 5,000 a year in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2008 to about 97,000 in FY 2018.”[6]

    • Last year, nearly half of the completed cases that involved aliens who claimed credible fear resulted in the alien failing to show up at a hearing or even to file an application for asylum. [7]

    [1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-addressing-mass-migration-southern-border-united-states/

    [2] Federation for Immigration Reform: “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers”, by Matt O’Brien and Spencer Raley, September 27, 2017.

    [3] See INA 208(b)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(1)(A) (the “Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General may grant asylum to an alien” who applies in accordance with the required procedures and meets the definition of a “refugee”);

    [4] U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Southwest Border Migration Fy2018;

    [5] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/09/2018-24594/aliens-subject-to-a-bar-on-entry-under-certain-presidential-proclamations-procedures-for-protection;

    [6] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/09/2018-24594/aliens-subject-to-a-bar-on-entry-under-certain-presidential-proclamations-procedures-for-protection; see also https://cis.org/sites/default/files/2018-09/EOIR_Credible%20Fear_USCIS%20Proceedings%20Table.pdf

    [7] Id.