Politics

Republicans unveil YouCut II, now with real legislative power

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Jonathan Strong
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      Jonathan Strong

      Jonathan Strong, 27, is a reporter for the Daily Caller covering Congress. Previously, he was a reporter for Inside EPA where he wrote about environmental regulation in great detail, and before that a staffer for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA). Strong graduated from Wheaton College (IL) with a degree in political science in 2006. He is a huge fan of and season ticket holder to the Washington Capitals hockey team. Strong and his wife reside in Arlington.

Republicans will unveil Wednesday YouCut, the sequel, their newly-improved crowd-sourced spending cuts program that allows Americans to vote online for which bloated bureaucracy ought to get the ax.

Now, the stakes are real. The “winning” government program each week will more than likely actually get a House vote to cut its funding, sending the proposal over to the Senate, where Republicans hope public participation will spur action there.

“The biggest difference will be we’ll actually get a chance to get ‘em passed,” freshman GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney, one of three freshman hand-picked by Majority Leader Eric Cantor to coordinate the program, told The Daily Caller.

Cantor is handing over YouCut to the freshmen, giving them a place to channel the Tea Party energy that swept Republicans into power. Highlighting government’s embarrassing excesses could also give the GOP political momentum at key moments in the more important debt ceiling and appropriations debates.

Mulvaney of South Carolina, freshman class president Austin Scott of Georgia and Renee Ellmers of North Carolina are in charge. Each week they’ll coordinate which freshmen representative gets to choose three government programs from which online voters will decide what they’d like to see cut.

Voting lasts a week, unless Congress is in recess, and the freshman congressman choosing the programs to be voted on will introduce the legislation that would cut its funding.

Republicans also hope a revamped website that allows users to track the progress of each YouCut-inspired bill through Congress will attract participation, though even in the last Congress it was robust, with an average of 500,000 votes each round. This time Republicans would like to get 1 million votes each round.

“This updated version builds upon the success of the original YouCut program by allowing Americans to vote on a spending cut, and track the legislation in real-time, from introduction by a member of our freshman class, through the committee process, to a floor vote and ideally to enactment,” Cantor said.

Mulvaney, Scott and Ellmers said their hope is that by giving the public such an active role, they’ll transform the political discussion into focusing more on cuts.

In that sense, it’s less important what the dollar figure is for the total spending cuts.

“Success for YouCut II has really got more to do with the public participation and having them engage in the process of reducing federal spending, duplicative programs, and things that the federal government shouldn’t be spending money on … that is as important if not more important as the total dollar figure of the cuts,” Scott said.

“Changing minds is the most difficult thing of all,” Ellmers said, “we’ve changed the conversation here in Washington for week after week to conversation about cuts. Even our president is talking about cuts!”

When Cantor introduced YouCut in the last Congress, Republicans used their few-and-far between opportunities to force votes on the House floor on cutting some of the programs online voters thought should go.

Then, Democrats said it was just a “gimmick” because the amount of the cuts are tiny compared to the federal budget.

Or, as Mulvaney put it, “if you came in tomorrow with some program that saved $1.6 million, and that was our YouCut thing for the week, you would have to do that a million times just to balance the budget.”

“Well, that’s fine. Lets get started,” Scott said, “We didn’t get into this situation overnight. And we’re not gonna get out of it overnight. Nobody’s gonna wave a magic wand one night and we’re gonna wake up tomorrow and everything’s gonna be OK fiscally.”

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  • J Baustian

    I just visited the “YouCut” website, and it was very disappointing. I was hoping to have an opportunity to vote to eliminate the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Agriculture, Labor, HUD, Transportation, Education, and Homeland Security. I wanted to get rid of EPA and cut contributions to the United Nations to zero.

    Come on, Majority Leader Cantor, don’t ask us if we want to cut these low-hanging fruit which should have been defunded years ago. Let us have the chance to consider and express our opinions on the really big items in the federal budget.

    • SignOfTheDollar

      No doubt your suggestions are only a starting point!

      In my estimation, about 75% of what the Federal government does is not authorized by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. George Washington had it right when he set up 4 departments – everything else is waste, fraud and abuse!

  • libertyatstake

    Very smart Intertubes politics. GOP pleasantly surprises LAS.

    d(^_^)b
    http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/
    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • jakepoobear

    where do I start. Dept of Education, stop giving money to illegals, stop funding the UN,stop the perks for Congress, PBS, farmers subsidies who aren’t even farmers, Government workers paying for there own health care and pensions like the rest of us. there are so many things that could be cut it makes my brain bleed just thinking about them.

    • r37890

      “…farmers subsidies who aren’t even farmers.”

      How about just cutting farm subsidies completely? Why are we paying to subsidies to farmers keep food prices high, then paying food stamps to the poor so they can afford high food pricess? Only in government would anyone think this is a good idea.

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  • Raycheetah

    I have to laugh when I think about the fact that the Democrats have nothing comparable to offer. What would it be? YouTax? YouSpend?

    And when, inevitably, Harry Reid’s Democrat-controlled Senate quashes every one of these bills, it will add to a growing list of things which can (and should) be used against the Democrats in the 2012 elections. =^[.]^=

  • kingfish

    I think this is a great idea, and I like Billy’s comment about defunding the UN entirely. Entitlements should be put on the list LAST.

    The trillions in reductions should start NOW, not in 5 to 10 years. And ENTITLEMENTS (except for ILLEGALS) should NOT be touched until a BIG AXE is taken to the useless, incompetent, bloated federal agencies like Dept of Education, Energy, Homeland Insecurity, think-tanks, disfunctional committees, military fraud, waste and abuse, the 40 czars and their staffs, corporate welfare, consolidation of intel agencies and counter-intelligence budgets, black budgets with no oversight, and dozens of other useless federal programs.

    What tees me off is that NONE (not one) of these other cuts are even being discussed! Just medicare, medicaid, social security, and baby boomers)

  • FSU_dave

    This sounds like a great plan in theory, but what if the unions and Progressive groups nominate a budget cut that is against the Conservative ideology? Will the Repubs still put it up for a vote? Or are all the budget cuts already determined and we simply vote for them. That may work but then they are still controlling our options. Lord knows there are a ton of programs that could be cut dramatically or entirely. Good luck

  • BillyShaft

    How about we start with a quick defund of the UN entirely?

    • Willys

      The massive number of votes would probably crash the server.