YouCut invites residents to vote online or via their cell phones on how Congress can reduce wasteful spending. While I support measures to reduce our debt, this strikes me as an election-year ploy.
Nothing brings out creative proposals quite like an upcoming election.
Last week, I received news releases regarding a new initiative by Republican members. Through its YouCut program, the House Republican Economic Recovery Working Group is soliciting budget-cutting ideas from constituents.
YouCut invites residents to vote on how Congress can reduce wasteful spending. Residents may go online or use their cell phones to select from a menu of items or suggest something else. House Republicans will then call for an up-or-down vote each week on the most popular item.
The online menu lists these choices: Presidential Election Fund, saving $260 million; taxpayer-subsidized union activities, saving $600 million; Department of Housing and Urban Development program for doctoral dissertations, saving $1 million; new nonreformed welfare program, saving $2.5 billion; Community Development Block Grant programs reserved for nonwealthy areas, saving $2.6 billion.
People who go online (republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut) may view a video by U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip.
I like the idea of constituents pressuring elected officials to make spending cuts. This enables residents to become involved in the process of deciding what items should have a lower priority.
The YouCut program, however, seems a tad gimmicky. Given that the Republicans are the minority party in Washington, I’m not sure how much leverage they have to compel an up-or-down vote on anything.
This sounds like something House Republicans can tout over the summer while they’re in recess. Conveniently, they’ll use this time to campaign for re-election in November.
So, even if they don’t move any of these items to a vote, they can tell their constituents that they tried. I support the idea of pursuing budget cuts, but this sounds more like a campaign stunt than an effective way to reduce wasteful spending.
Jerry Moore is the opinions editor for Suburban Life Publications. Contact him at (630) 368-8930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.