Many Republicans, but not all, pushed ideas
YouCut, a crowd-sourced program for cutting federal spending, enabled House Republicans to put legislation and voting behind their rhetoric about reducing the size of government.
In the online program, citizens were able to vote for proposed spending cuts that run the gamut of the federal bureaucracy. Then House members turned those proposals into bills. Past YouCut ideas include selling off surplus federal property, repealing spending provisions of the federal health reform law and ending contributions to U.N. funds. When Republicans won the majority in the House in the 2010 elections, they had the power to bring proposals like these to votes, or at least push them through committees.
Many proposals went nowhere once they reached the Democrat-controlled Senate, but Megan Whittemore, spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, pointed to a couple that actually became law. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., introduced H.R. 3739, a bill to stop mine cleanup payments to states that had already completed the cleanups. That policy was modified and incorporated into a highway transportation bill enacted in July 2012, Whittemore said. And Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., introduced legislation to terminate federal funding of high-speed rail projects that was incorporated in an appropriations bill that became law.
In this promise, Cantor said every House Republican should "identify a spending cut that they can champion as part of the YouCut program." After 2010, Cantor gave most of that responsibility to freshmen members of the House, who could use the program as a vehicle to push legislation.
"The program was designed to change the culture of spending,” Whittemore said. "This was a good way to kind of highlight each individual idea.”
Still, introducing the proposals was never required of every member. It became a priority for new representatives, who introduced more than three dozen bills to cut spending. We rate this a Compromise.
YouCut website, accessed Jan. 7, 2013
THOMAS, H.R. 3739, introduced Dec. 20, 2011
THOMAS, MAP-21, introduced April 16, 2012
THOMAS, H.R. 2811, introduced Aug. 5, 2011
THOMAS, H.R. 2112, introduced June 3, 2011
Daily Caller, "Republicans unveil YouCut II, now with real legislative power,” May 11, 2011
Email and phone interview with Megan Whittemore, spokeswoman for Eric Cantor, Jan. 4, 2013