The YouCut initiative is a multi-week series during which constituents from the First District of Texas can join with others from across the country to tell the House of Representatives what items to cut from the federal budget. Voting on the second series cuts is open to constituents online and on their cell phone. The House Republicans will then offer an up-or-down vote on bringing up the spending cut that receives the most public support.
The grassroots energy surrounding YouCut continues to rise, and the enthusiasm has shattered expectations. People from all across the country have seized the opportunity to have their voices heard in Washington, where leaders have ignored them for far too long. With over a quarter-million votes and counting, the desire of the American people to rein in the culture of spending in Washington has risen to a fever pitch that is impossible to ignore.
This week, American taxpayers can pick their top priority spending cut Congress should make from the following cuts:
Byrd Honors Scholarships (Vote here!)
$420 million in savings
The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships program provides grants to States to provide $1,500 a year scholarships for up to four years to high-performing high school students entering an undergraduate course of study. The Obama Administration proposed terminating this program in their annual budget, stating "Byrd Scholarships are only available to a small number of elite students (around 0.3 percent of first-time postsecondary students receive the scholarship), and States are prohibited from considering financial need when awarding the scholarships.
Eliminate the Proposed Federal Employee Pay Raise (Vote here!)
$30 billion in savings
As part of his budget, President Obama proposed providing federal civilian employees with a 1.4% pay raise next year. This year Federal employees received a 2% raise and since the year 2000 have received raises averaging 3.6% a year. USA Today recently reported that the typical federal worker is paid 20% more than a private-sector worker in the same occupation (median salary).
Suspend Federal Land Purchases (Vote here!)
$2.66 billion in savings
Last year Congress spent $266 million acquiring additional federal lands at the Departments of Interior and Agriculture. This is a 138% increase over the comparable amount of funding just four years ago. Given that the federal government already owns 29% of the land in America and has a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog to maintain current land holdings, suspending new federal land purchases for five years would permit the government to focus on maintaining existing property while also saving taxpayers millions of dollars a year.
Terminate Funding for UNESCO (Vote here!)
$810 million in savings
Last year the administration proposed deleting the Department of Education’s attaché to UNESCO saving approximately $632,000 a year. Terminating U.S. support for UNESCO entirely would save taxpayers $81 million annually. The U.S. had not supported UNESCO for 19 years prior to the decision by the Bush Administration to rejoin in 2003. UNESCO routinely undertakes activities that are properly the responsibility of individual countries and their governments, including reviewing and making recommendations in areas related to education, arts, culture, ethics, science and technology, and historic preservation.
Eliminate Mohair Subsidies (Vote here!)
$10 million in savings
Federal price support for mohair was first enacted in 1947. The National Wool Act of 1954 established direct payments for wool and mohair producers. The purpose of the program was to encourage production of wool because it was considered an essential and strategic commodity. According to the Congressional Research Service, no similar purpose was stated for the mohair program. While this program was phased out in 1995, ad hoc payments were provided in 1999 and 2000 and the program was reinstituted in 2002. Eliminating this program once again would save taxpayers approximately $1 million a year.