As you know, Congress has adjourned for the month of August. Before I fly home to begin the month-long district work period, I would like to provide a short recap of what Team Yoho has been working on in July.
With the ongoing situation along our southern border, I was able to travel to El Paso Texas, with other members of Congress, to visit our brave men and women of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). During this trip I could see firsthand the conditions on the ground.
Rep. Yoho meets with CBP Officer in El Paso TX
Despite what you hear in the news, our CBP agents are doing a great job in dealing with the overwhelming influx of people attempting to cross our southern border. It is unfortunate that this issue has been politicized in the media and on Capitol Hill. I led two debates to discuss the situation along our southern border with other members of Congress. I stated on the House Floor that President Trump should cancel the August work period and call members back to the hill to solve this issue of illegal immigration. It is time we put policy above politics. (click on picture to watch video)
July was a busy month legislatively for our office. In addition to all the big legislative battles on the House Floor, we were able to score victories across multiple issue areas.
I voted to save millions of minimum wage jobs by voting against the ill-conceived Raising Unemployment for American Workers Act. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) own estimates said this bill would cause 3.7 million workers to lose their jobs by 2025. Raising the minimum wage to early, to fast, everywhere, will have a devastating effect on entry-level jobs across the country. While $15 an hour will provide some financial relief, it will adversely cause many more to lose their jobs. Businesses large and small, who are looking at a steep rise in base wages, will choose to cut shifts, increase automation, and self- service; we are already seeing this happen in the fast-food industry. I could not support this Washington D.C. one-size-fits-all approach to raising the minimum wage; it will do more harm than good.
I teamed up with Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07) to introduce the Safeguarding Student Veterans Act to protect student veterans using the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The bipartisan bill will protect student veterans from troubled schools, including those operating for-profits, by increasing coordination between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Education. The bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to better understand and track the risks that certain schools pose to empower veterans when deciding on which schools to attend.
As the Lead Republican for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, I was pleased to see the House pass my bipartisan bill, the Cambodia Democracy Act. This important bipartisan legislation, which I introduced in April, will apply asset blocking sanctions on the government, military, and security officials who are actively undermining democracy in Cambodia or committing related human rights issues.
I voted for the passage of additional disaster relief appropriations that provides the USDA with three billion dollars to compensate growers, harvesters, and other agricultural producers who were affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. This will really help our rural communities in Florida. Within the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, I joined Senators Rubio and Scott in asking the USDA to work with state officials in Florida to craft effective forest restoration block grants. These block grants will compensate landowners for the value of timber lost as a direct consequence of Hurricane Michael.
I joined Rep. Kurt Schrader to introduce the bipartisan Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act. This legislation will improve public health preparedness in the event of an emergency by helping federal agencies implement a “One Health” approach. The One Health concept recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment.
Our office worked with Senator Marco Rubio and his staff to terminate the ineffective tomato suspension agreement between the United States and Mexico. This agreement lacked legitimate enforcement mechanisms and has severally hurt Florida tomato producers, tipping the scales in favor of Mexican producers. Our effort to level the playing field is a step in the right direction, and we will continue to work with the Administration to ensure that any new suspension agreement protects our Florida producers.
Lastly, a bill I have worked on for the past five years, the Prevent All Soring Tactics
(PAST), passed overwhelmingly 332-95. This bipartisan horse welfare bill was years in the making and it took a collective effort by many on both sides of the aisle to move it over the finish line.
As you can see, July was busy, and this is only a snapshot of what was accomplished. I’m looking forward to being back in North Central Florida for the month of August, to listen to the needs of the good people in our district. See you soon!