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Cantor lets activists vote on which programs Republicans will cut

The question I was trying to answer when I spoke to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) yesterday was how the large number of Republicans who voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program avoid the fate of Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) -- mocked by the activists who beat him as "bailout Bob." Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House whip who backed the bailout, shows how it's done -- a new campaign called YouCut, announced on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website, and pitched directly to conservative voters who can cast text message votes for what spending they want to cut.

In an intro video, Cantor promises an "an up-or-down vote" from House Republicans on whatever item wins the poll. It's an achievable goal, because the items are not as huge as the demands of the tea parties. On the chopping block: $1 million in HUD grants for dissertations, the $260 million presidential election fund, $600 million in "taxpayer subsidized union activities," $2.5 billion in welfare, and $2.6 billion in Community Development Block Grants for the less-than-poor.

Add all the savings together and you'd skim 0.16 percent off of the $3.8 trillion FY2011 budget. It's a start, though.

UPDATE: Democrats respond via Doug Thornell, a spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

In the last year and a half, House Republicans have attempted more makeovers than Heidi Montag and Joan Rivers combined. The GOP turned record surpluses into deficits, doubled the debt then left us to clean up an economic disaster almost as bad as the Great Depression. Now they go around trashing the Recovery Act on Fox, but more than 70% of them have taken credit for it for back home because they know it is working and creating jobs. The GOP’s credibility on spending is running on empty.

By David Weigel  |  May 12, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Congress  
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