Yoho sponsors pair of bills
Congressman Ted Yoho is sponsoring a pair of bills that could punish North Korea, as well as federal employees.
Yoho, R-Gainesville, is listed as a co-sponsor to a bipartisan bill (H.R.1644) introduced by Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., which calls to enhance sanctions on North Korea. Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Brad Sherman, D-Calif., are also listed as co-sponsors.
The legislation, which adds to last year's North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, could deter North Korea's nuclear weapons program. It targets those overseas who employ North Korean slave labor, which is a billion dollar source of revenue for the East Asian country, and limits the country's shipping and use of international ports.
Additionally, the legislation calls on the administration to determine whether the country is a state sponsor of terrorism.
"North Korea's nuclear arsenal poses a growing and urgent threat to the United States. Soon, many believe the Kim Jong-Un regime will be able to target all 50 states and our Asian allies with a nuclear warhead," Royce said in a statement.
Royce went on to cite a February United Nations report that stated North Korea is using "increasingly sophisticated tactics to evade existing sanctions" and said the bill will target companies and enablers that fund the Kim regime's nuclear program.
The other bill (H.R. 1643), which Yoho introduced, allows agencies more authority to discipline federal employees.
The act, known as the Federal Employee Accountability Act of 2017 or FEAA, is an amendment to title 5 of U.S. Code and allows agency heads to reduce a federal employee's pay, grade and fire them.
Brian Kaveney, a spokesman with Yoho's Washington office, said the bill gives agencies "more muscle" over negligent employees. Federal employees typically just get moved around, he added.
The bill also suspends pay for employees during disciplinary proceedings and has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
"It's very hard to remove federal employees that aren't doing their jobs," Kaveney said.
Yoho represents Florida's 3rd congressional district, which includes Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Putnam and Union counties and northern Marion counties.
Contact reporter Andrew Caplan firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AACaplan.
Editor's note: The original version of this story has been changed to reflect Yoho's current district.