Pinellas member of Congress Bill Young predicts fiscal cliff will be delayed

12/07/12 Janelle Irwin
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Veteran member of Congress Bill Young fielded tough questions from all sides of the political spectrum at a Suncoast Tiger Bay luncheon Friday. The focus though, was on what the Republican thinks should be done about Congress’ self-imposed fiscal cliff approaching in January.

“What I think you will see happen is that there will be a 30-day or a 90-day extension and leave everything just like it is for 90-days, giving Congress 90 more days to sit around and figure out what to do.”

Young called the partisan inability to work together the biggest problem in government. For twenty minutes the 21-term Pinellas County Congressional representative talked about his own commitment to bi-partisanship. In that spirit, St. Petersburg activist Chuck Terzian asked Young for his commitment to preserving the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class, but not the wealthiest Americans.

Young is one of more than 200 members of Congress to sign an anti-tax pledge promising not to raise taxes. Young said he isn’t in favor of raising taxes, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t vote to raise revenue.

“I will support what has to be done if it meets the parameters of no taxing just to spend money.”

Former Congressional aide Jessica Ehrlich unsuccessfully challenged Young in this year’s election. Some of her supporters claim that Ehrlich’s campaign took a hit because Young refused to debate her during the campaign. Former Suncoast Tiger Bay president Jerri Evans asked Young why.

Since the couldn’t debate, the Ehrlich campaign started criticizing Young for avoiding the stage and colored him as out of touch with voters. Evans said she didn’t know if a debate would have helped the Ehrlich campaign, but that the reaction to Young’s refusal to participate in one certainly didn’t help.

“I think she attacked it negatively … and that negativity came through in volumes … I don’t think you get to be angry.”

Young chairs the subcommittee on Defense and spends most of his time in Washington focusing on that. He received a booming round of applause by matter-of-factly reiterating that he wants all troops removed from Afghanistan immediately. He didn’t get the same reaction when he explained why.

“And they’re telling me that in the hospital. When I go into the hospital at Walter Reed and I see the rooms full of and the aisles full of people in wheel chairs, missing legs, missing arms and I have a chance to talk to them … they will always say, ‘rules of engagement.’ Rules of engagement. We’re not allowed to fight unless we’re really being attacked. That’s not how you win. If you’re not going to fight the war, get the heck out of it.”

Young criticized officials involved in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, saying that there should be answers by now. He also expressed concerned that the Syrian civil war could lead to a Muslim Brotherhood takeover.

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