By Michael O'Brien - 05/12/10 12:08 PM EDT
House Republicans will launch a project Wednesday in which they
will offer bills to emliminate spending programs that Americans vote
online to cut.
House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) will unveil the project, called "YouCut," which will combine Republicans' push for spending cuts with attempts toward online engagement.
People can vote online or through text message on a list of five proposals to reduce types of spending, on which House Republicans will then force a vote in the House the following week.
"People will have the power and the ability to make Congress consider votes that will save people money with the click of a button or a simple text message," said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Cantor.
The project, which Cantor will unveil in a Wednesday afternoon press conference, is being promoted by the GOP as a first-of-its-kind effort at engagement between lawmakers and constituents.
House Republicans will incorporate a logo on their websites to drive participation in the project, and individual lawmakers will be undertaking different efforts to promote it. The website of the project will also include bill text and vote tallies.
YouCut also comes against the backdrop of a campaign cycle in which Republicans have made an issue of spending cuts. Cantor, along with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), have repeatedly asked President Barack Obama to identify spending cuts.
"YouCut will finally start change the culture of Washington DC in several ways," said Dayspring. "First, from a culture of spending to a culture of savings, and second from the current culture of secrecy to a culture of total transparency."
Democrats criticized the new initiative on Wednesday, mocking it as just another image reinvention by the GOP.
"In the last year and a half, House Republicans have attempted more makeovers than Heidi Montag and Joan Rivers combined. The GOP turned record surpluses into deficits, doubled the debt then left us to clean up an economic disaster almost as bad as the Great Depression," said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the assistant to the Speaker.
The project isn't the first ambitious undertaking by Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican. He unveiled his "National Council for a New America," a GOP think tank, in 2009, but his office acknowledged a year later that it is all but dead.
"Now they go around trashing the Recovery Act on Fox, but more than 70% of them have taken credit for it for back home because they know it is working and creating jobs," Thornell said of the Republicans. "The GOP’s credibility on spending is running on empty."
Updated at 11:36 a.m. (Originally posted on the Blog Briefing Room)