Editorial: Dear Rep. Yoho
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 7, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
Dear U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho:
It has been nearly a year since you were elected to your first term in Congress. Given your Alachua County ties and two University of Florida degrees, we were cautiously optimistic that you would have a better appreciation of our community's values and priorities than your predecessor.
We've been proven wrong so far. The latest evidence is your recent comments to The Washington Post about being one of the tea-party backed Republicans who forced a government shutdown over funding for the Affordable Care Act.
"Why in the world would Ted Yoho ever back down?" the story begins. You shared with the reporter messages from constituents supporting the shutdown, including a text message that said "Way to go, tiger" and another that simply said "Shutdown" with a smiley face.
The Sun has received very different messages from your constituents. We received 11 letters to the editor about you on Sunday alone, the day the Post's story appeared on our front page. Every one of them opposed your position, with writers saying they were "ashamed," "disappointed," and "horrified" by your actions.
In the story, your evidence that people agree with you in your district was that "hands go up" at meetings when you ask, "How many people feel we're heading into socialism?" That type of reaction is likely most common at tea-party meetings like the one in Gainesville where you infamously referred to the Affordable Care Act's tanning-bed tax as "racist." Your recent town-hall meeting in the city, in contrast, included people challenging your misleading claims about the act.
Maybe hearing from additional constituents will change your mind. We encourage them to call your Gainesville office at 352-505-0838, call your D.C. office at 202-225-5744 or email you through your website at yoho.house.gov/contact/email-me. Hopefully you'll be hearing from them about the shutdown as well as the debt ceiling.
The Post story said you were "planning for a bigger act of defiance" in refusing to raise the debt ceiling before the Treasury runs out of money later this month. Your comment that the action would "bring stability to world markets" defies logic as well as the opinion of numerous economists who predict it would cause another recession.
Maybe you just don't care what anyone thinks, whether they be economic experts or your constituents. The Post story included you taking a call from a Gainesville resident who asked you to support a "clean" funding bill that would reopen the government. After telling the caller that you're "working on getting something resolved" as fast as possible, you hung up and told the reporter that you would not budge another inch.
Rather than give lip service to your constituents, it's time for you to listen. End the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling without resorting to blackmail. If you're so convinced that you're right, do the right thing and go through the normal legislative process rather than threatening to cause a recession to get what you want.