Yoho says sequester likely to happen

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Freshman congressman addresses Levy GOP banquet

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

 U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-District 3) says sequestration — which sets automatic cuts in spending if Congress and the President fail to make the cuts themselves — is going to kick in tomorrow.

The freshman congressman, who defeated a 12-term incumbent in the 2012 Republican primary and went on to win the general election, made the call at the Levy County Republican Executive Committee's annual Lincoln-Reagan Memorial Dinner, held on Feb. 23 at Williston Highlands Golf & Country Club. 

“The sequestration, I think it is going to go there,” he said of the automatic spending cuts that will kick in on Friday, March 1. The cuts come on the same day he was scheduled to hold a grand opening at a new district office in Gainesville, but that event has been cancelled. 

Yoho's speech, which was a report card on his first 45 days in office, covered a variety of topics, including some moves that have drawn attention in the Capitol media. 

• On stopping congress's pay during sequestration, “If we're not doing our jobs we shouldn't be paid.”

• His relationship with House Speaker John Boehner, “Mr. Boehner is a great guy.”

• His vote to make Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) the House speaker, “We need a poster child to articulate a message. It was controversial but we survived.” Yoho said Boehner had an opportunity in his statement after an earlier deficit deal with the White House fell through. “This was an opportunity to tell the American people why, instead, he said we didn't have enough votes.”

• Voting against Superstorm Sandy relief, “There was $45 billion in unspent TARP (Toxic Assets Recovery Program) money . . . the second Sandy bill had $188 million in it to study storms and money for fisheries. That money wasn't going where it was needed.”

• The one lesson he's learned, “You learn a lot of stuff back there (in the freshman section). You learn to keep your mouth shut.”

As for the future, Yoho said Congress needs to deal with the “underlying problem” of the debt and deficit. He said spending must be cut. He said in the first few weeks the 113th Congress “raised the debt $315 billion and I didn't vote for any of it.” He said government's job is to get back to growing the economy and one way to do that is to get out of the way of business.

As for his office, Yoho said his goal is to have the No. 1 office in constituent service and to recruit young leaders in the district. He said his office is forming a high school advisory council so young voters can consider and submit solutions to him. He said it was one way to get involved citizens among young voters who have some of the lowest voting rates.