OTR Interviews

Your 'YouCut' Vote Goes to Work

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 20, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor is back to announce the winner of the Republicans online slash called "YouCut." Congressman Cantor "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: And I appreciate you just came from a vote. We're right here in the U.S. Capitol, so fresh off the floor, so to speak.

CANTOR: Well, Greta, we just had the vote on the proposal that the American people voted on via our YouCut program. Unfortunately, the vote was not successful, but we did manage a bipartisan vote where there were nine individuals on the Democratic side of the aisle that joined with Republicans to cut a $2.4 billion-a-year program from the federal budget.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, to bring the viewers a little bit back who may have done the horrible thing of missing "On the Record" last week when you explained the program, what is YouCut?

CANTOR: YouCut is an on-line program that gives folks an opportunity to go online and to vote for their favorite spending cut. Each week, we've got five proposals up. If you Google or Bing YouCut -- Y-O-U-C-U-T - - you can get right to the site. We've got five new proposals up this week, and at the end of the week, we tally the votes. The winning vote -- the winning item will be brought up for a vote on the U.S. House floor.

We've had over 300,000 people vote already, and we expect to get a growing sensation around the country because it's people involved in trying to change the culture of spending here in Washington.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you a question that's always gotten me on both sides of the aisle, Both Republicans and Democrats, giving you a hard time for. The winner this week, as you noted, is the new non-reformed (ph) welfare program. People want to cut that. The actual name of the program is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund. Both names are explosive. How can you sort of -- you know, what -- how do you -- how do you justify that?

CANTOR: Well, let's remember, back in the 1990s with the Republican- led Congress and Democratic president, Bill Clinton, there was passed a reform for welfare in this country, and that reform was largely based on the requirement that people would go back to work and we would provide some help in order to help people do just that. The reforms in welfare proved tremendously successful, with a lot more folks going back to work.

When we passed the stimulus bill last year -- remember the $800-some billion dollar bill -- included in that bill was a program to create an additional pot for welfare assistance. The problem was, there was no requirement that people go back to work and there was very little requirement for anything under this pot of money. So what we've seen now since this program has been in effect -- some states have been very lax in using the money, and instead, it's ended up in the hands of people who've gone to purchase iPods, flat screen TVs and the rest. That's not what Americans feel that we ought to be spending our money on, certainly in times like this, when we've got to be cutting the federal budget.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, someone who goes to this website who wants to participate, that wants to make sure he or she understands exactly what it is -- with these sort of explosive titles (INAUDIBLE) is there some way to sort of go behind it to find out whether the vote is one that the person really wants to make?

CANTOR: Well, I think that if they go to the website -- they can either go to Republicanwhip.house.gov or just Google or Bing YouCut -- they'll see a pretty non-biased explanation of what the programs are. Greta, you may take issue with the title, but we feel it's very much against the reform elements that Congress put in place back in the "90s.

However, there is an attempt always to get to the bottom of things so that people know what they're voting on. They certainly have the ability to do that on our website. And of course, they can always you call or e-mail their congressman or woman and to find out what exactly this program is.

But we -- this is what we encourage. I mean, the fact is, most Americans feel right now that their government's not listening to them. That's what this program YouCut is all about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, on the floor when this, so to speak, winner came up today?

CANTOR: Well, you know, I didn't notice that she was on the floor or not. Certainly, during the debate, she was not on the floor. But there was some discussion on the floor. And my sense is this, Greta. Cutting the deficit is a bipartisan issue. And what we're trying to do with YouCut is say, Look, the people really want us to do this, evidenced by the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who voted. Let's just do it. Let's stop the rancor. Let's get together and say we're going to fix the fiscal problem here in Washington.

VAN SUSTEREN: You got nine Democrats!

CANTOR: We had about nine Democrats, so we are onto a bipartisan march (ph) here. Hopefully, we can find more and more that will join us. And I think the way we do that is attract more people on line to visit the YouCut website so we can get their support to try and cut the federal budget.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So you picked the five that are up there now, or do you -- did actually pick them or did somebody else pick them?

CANTOR: No, well, what we do is we are asking even on the website for people to proffer their suggestions. And some of the suggestions this week came from people who have visited the website. If you go on line right now, you'll see proposals to eliminate the federal pay raise. You'll see proposals to stop the purchase of excess land...

VAN SUSTEREN: I think -- I think the federal pay raise would be a hot number this week.

CANTOR: It's a...

VAN SUSTEREN: I actually -- you know, that would be sort of -- that's (INAUDIBLE) even just the only one -- I mean, only hearing one, I bet that's going to be hot candidate to win this week.

CANTOR: It's a $30 billion item. So again, if we're trying to get to the point we're changing the culture here to take on some of the really big problems, we've got to start somewhere. Youcut provides a great way for us to do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we'll be going to the website and seeing who's the likely winner and be checking to see if you've had any success on the floor with it. Thank you, sir.

CANTOR: Terrific. Thanks, Greta.


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