WASHINGTON — House Republicans are taking their push to cut federal spending to a new level: Today, they’ll unveil a project that lets the public rank its priorities for showdowns over “wasteful or unnecessary spending.”

The “You Cut” program is one part election-year gimmick, one part direct democracy, and it’s intended to spotlight the spending side of the federal deficit problem.

Each week, House Republicans will post online five spending targets. Whichever gets the most votes online or by cell phone, lawmakers will try to force Congress to eliminate the following week.

Citizens will also be invited to suggest cuts. The lawmakers behind the effort, led by Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, call themselves the “House Economic Recovery Working Group.”

“The You Cut project is not about finding the one silver-bullet to our debt problems. It is designed, rather, to challenge Washington’s culture of spending and replace it with one of savings,” says a fact sheet circulating among House Republicans ahead of Wednesday’s announcement by Cantor, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas and others. “With a deficit near $1.5 trillion, we don’t think it is too much to ask of Congress to spend some time debating bills to actually reduce spending.”

Ryan Rudominer, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the program should be called “You Lie” instead of “You Cut,” because “that’s exactly what House Republicans do when they talk about deficits.”

He noted that Republicans inherited a thriving economy and a budget surplus in 2001.

“The American people deserve better than Republicans’ ‘do as I say but not as I do’ approach to restoring fiscal responsibility,” he said.


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