Republicans in the House of Representatives named Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, to a post on the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, “the oldest committee of the United States Congress” and “the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives.”

Buchanan has long been a vocal proponent of a balanced budget amendment, and told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that he is eager to work on international trade agreements:

A key area of interest for him because of the emergence of Port Manatee. Buchanan specifically cited a possible free trade agreement with Panama as an immediate area where his influence could pay dividends for the state’s sea ports.

Buchanan, an auto dealership owner, said trips to Asia have raised his concerns about the growing trade imbalance with other nations. He said Congress has to put more pressure on other countries to let American goods enter those markets.

In addition to addressing tax and trade policy, the Ways and Means committee claims jurisdiction over “revenue-related aspects of the Social Security system, Medicare, and social services programs.”

As the Herald-Tribune notes, Buchanan will be the only Floridian congressman on the committee: “Both of the state’s current members on the committee — Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, and Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami — did not run for re-election.”

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