Vern Buchanan

This Republican Got a Little Help From Erin Brockovich
Brian Mast: ‘I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is an easy bill to pass’

Erin Brockovich, left, and Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., held a joint press conference in Florida on Sunday. (Courtesy Brian Mast)

Rep. Brian Mast got a little help from a Californian in his anti-algae quest  – the real Erin Brockovich is standing up for him.

The legendary environmentalist, played by Julia Roberts in the 2000 eponymous film “Erin Brockovich,” travelled to Florida this weekend to talk algae blooms.

Vulnerable House Republicans Head Into Midterm Recess With Parting Gifts
Half of GOP incumbents in danger of losing seats got floor votes this month on bills they sponsored

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., who’s facing a tough re-election, has two of his bills on the House floor this week. Other vulnerable Republicans are also getting votes on their bills before they depart for the midterm campaign recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House prepares to wrap up its fall legislative business this week before going on recess for the duration of the midterm campaign season, half of the vulnerable Republican incumbents will be leaving with parting gifts. 

Those gifts come in the form of floor votes on bills they have authored. By the end of the week, 28 of the 57 House Republicans whose seats are considered in play this cycle, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, are set to go home with the chamber having voted this month on at least one of their bills. 

Liberal Health Care Group Launches Seven-Figure Campaign
Will target vulnerable Republicans in more than 20 districts

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., is one of the Republicans being targeted by a liberal advocacy group two months out from the midterms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A liberal health care group is launching a seven-figure campaign targeting more than 20 congressional districts ahead of the midterm elections.

Health Care Voter announced the campaign on Thursday and said it will also release a 50-state voter guide for every candidate for federal office.

Florida’s Darren Soto Easily Holds Off Alan Grayson Comeback Bid
Grayson was trying to reclaim his old 9th District seat

Florida Rep. Darren Soto easily won his Democratic primary against his predecessor Tuesday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Democrat Darren Soto, the first Florida congressman of Puerto Rican descent, easily beat back a comeback bid by his predecessor, former Rep. Alan Grayson.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Soto led Grayson 66 percent to 34 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Dems Call Monkey Business on Florida Rep’s Yacht Purchase
Buchanan got $5 million loan from bank lobbying for GOP tax package

Democrats have seized on reports questioning Rep. Vern Buchanan’s 2017 yacht purchase as they look for an advantage in the race for Florida’s 16th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The new yacht smell has barely worn off of Vern Buchanan’s 73-foot ocean liner. But it is causing the Florida congressman’s re-election campaign to take on water this week, after a report raising questions about the seven-figure bank loan Buchanan used to finance the vessel. 

Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, borrowed as much as $5 million from a Canadian bank that was lobbying for the GOP tax bill in 2017, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting said. Buchanan, who leads the Ways and Means subcommittee on tax policy, bought the boat on the same day he voted for the tax package.

Bipartisan Group Wants Labs to Disclose Where Research Animals End Up
Federal agencies asked for info on adoptions and retirements for dogs, cats and primates that survive experiments

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to federal agencies about testing on dogs, cats and primates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 10:12 a.m. | A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged federal agencies and research labs to release information on what it does with cats, dogs and primates that survive experiments.

The letter first obtained by Roll Call was sent to the Department of Interior, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.

Florida Delegation Playing Hardball to Extend Offshore Drilling Moratorium
Sunshine State Democrats and Republicans may target NDAA

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., says he doesn’t see “any light between Republicans and Democrats” on the issue of offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Emboldened by a Defense Department report that expressed worries about unfettered offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s House delegation is preparing to throw its weight around to win a multiyear extension of a moratorium off its coasts.

The bipartisan commitment from the third largest congressional delegation, reached last week, may affect the $708.1 billion defense authorization bill that is being considered by the Rules Committee Monday and Tuesday ahead of a vote as soon as Wednesday.

Giffords Gun Group Throws Money Against Vern Buchanan
Spends $120,000 in ad targeting Florida congressman’s ties to the NRA

UNITED STATES - JUNE 18: Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., arrives for the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ gun law reform PAC dropped $120,000 to target Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan for his support from the National Rifle Association.

The PAC’s ad criticizes Buchanan for receiving $15,450 from the NRA, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Members of Congress Talk Hurricane Irma

Blame It on the Rain: House Departs for August Recess
A rainy last session day in D.C. as captured by Roll Call’s Bill Clark

Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman walks down the House steps in the pouring rain on Friday, following the final votes as Congress leaves town for its summer recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While the Senate is scheduled to stay on in Washington for at least another few days to take care of legislative business, House lawmakers on Friday finished up their final votes ahead of the summer recess.

And it was just in time, too, as heavy downpours hit the nation’s capital, with a D.C. area flash flood watch in effect through Saturday afternoon.