America, House Republicans want your help.
In an effort to shed its image as a "party of no" with few original ideas to challenge the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House, House Republicans on Tuesday will begin a campaign to ask the general public for input in drafting their next agenda.
The nationwide "America Speaking Out" campaign seeks to capitalize on growing voter frustration of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress. Organizers say they welcome ideas from all voters, regardless of party affiliation.
"America Speaking Out is an effort to open the back rooms and closed doors that have defined Congress and allow Americans to be a part of drafting a governing agenda from the start," the outline says.
"Congressional Republicans have offered positive alternatives to the misguided policies pursued by Washington Democrats. But we recognize the American people are in charge, and constructing a governing agenda must begin with the people."
The campaign will solicit public input via an online forum at www.AmericaSpeakingOut.com, and at town hall meetings, according to an outline obtained from a senior House Republican aide.
"We expect it will generate a great deal of interest, a great deal of participation around the country," said House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana. Mr. Pence, a project organizer, declined to discuss details until the campaign is officially unveiled at the Newseum in Washington.
The campaign's mission to tap into the "growing disconnect between the priorities of the American public and the agenda that is debated in Washington" echoes the grass-roots "tea party" movement that has swept populists like Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky to victory in recent Republican contests at the expense of party-backed candidates.
What impact the effort will have in the November congressional elections is uncertain. The ideas campaign is a project of the House Republican leadership — not campaign arms like the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee. And with Republicans promising an extensive information-gathering process, a final agenda won't emerge until later this year.
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