Washington (CNN) - House Republicans launched a new effort Wednesday designed to show their party is responding to voter backlash about excessive government spending.
Dubbed "YouCut," the initiative invites the public to vote online, or text on their cell phone, which government programs they want to put on the chopping block.
The House GOP will list five federal programs each week on a new website and ask people to vote for which one they think deserves to be cut. Republican leaders pledged that they will fight for a full vote each week on the House floor to eliminate the program that gets the most votes.
House GOP Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, who unveiled the effort Wednesday, explained, "This is meant to not only listen to the public as to where they feel their government should be headed, but also to change the culture of spending in Washington."
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, said, "The bias is in favor of taxing, spending and borrowing and we want to turn that around."
But given their minority status in the House, and the rules giving Democrats total control over the agenda, even Cantor admits Republicans don't have much chance of actually succeeding in eliminating specific government programs. Republicans plan to use weekly procedural votes on the floor and offer amendments tacked onto a variety of bills to attempt to paint Democrats as defending Washington spending.
House Democrats immediately dismissed the GOP plan as a political gimmick, aimed at bolstering their credentials on spending in the run up to the midterm elections.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office released a "top 5" list of why the Cantor project shouldn't be taken seriously, including a jab at the House Republicans' own spending record when they ran the House - "When they were in charge, Republicans spent like there was no tomorrow, turning a record surplus into huge deficits and debt that made managing the Bush recession even more difficult."