Democrats sought to kill two GOP projects with one stone on Friday, proposing that Republicans' "America Speaking Out" project be targeted for elimination under the "YouCut" initiative.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) said it would look to cut from the budget the "America Speaking Out" program, unveiled earlier this week by House Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The project includes a website that allows visitors to suggest ideas for Congress and vote on them.
The initiative is similar to House Minority Whip Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorRepublicans eager to take on Spanberger in Virginia Virginia emerging as ground zero in battle for House majority McAuliffe's loss exposes deepening Democratic rift MORE's (R-Va.) "YouCut" program, which allows visitors to go online or text-message votes every week on several proposed spending cuts, on which House Republicans will force a vote.
It is through "YouCut" that Democrats will target "America Speaking Out," which some Democrats have claimed seems to be taxpayer-funded, which, if it were used for campaigning purposes, would be a violation of House rules.
"If YouCut is a sincere effort to protect taxpayer dollars and not just another Republican PR gimmick, we can think of no better way than to support the de-funding of 'America Speaking Out,' which not only runs afoul of ethics rules by using taxpayer money for partisan political purposes, but whose stated purpose of providing a legislative governing platform is proven a farce by the fact that it will only be produced a few weeks before the end of [a] two-year legislative term," DNC press secretary Hari Sevugan said in an e-mail.
The largely Republican voting audience targeted for elimination some Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds from the stimulus bill in the first week, and increases to non-military federal salaries this week.
"Watch out. Democrats are in full flailing, ready-shoot-aim mode. They might check with the Speaker before lobbing this nonsense because they don't have a leg to stand on," shot back Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the project. "It's really remarkable how afraid Democrats are of giving the American people a bigger voice in how Washington works."
Republicans also noted that Democrats' previous "Six for '06" election year effort was also hosted on a taxpayer-funded website. The GOP says it's inconsistent for Democrats to criticize the "America Speaking Out" site now.
The submission Democrats are submitting describes "America Speaking Out" as a "partisan initiative," and says that Republicans "have refused to disclose the total cost" of the project to taxpayers.
Updated at 9:27 a.m.