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Republican House Majority leader Eric Cantor launched the Citizen CoSponsor Project today, a landmark digital application that allows conservative activists to “cosponsor” bills on Facebook, share the activity with their friends, and track legislative progression through Congress.
While other services such as the non-government affiliated govetrack.us and the Library of Congress’ public resource Thomas have enabled web browsers to monitor the congressional process in the past, this is the first time that bill tracking has been integrated directly into the Facebook media matrix.
Cantor said in a press release comprised of text and a YouTube video that he is “dedicated to modernizing the way Congress connects with the American people.”
“It’s simple: cosponsor the bills that you support, we’ll keep you informed, and you’ll be engaged throughout the process. This is about making sure that you are involved, it’s about making sure that more people understand the importance of becoming aware and engaged in the legislative process. Bottom line, we want to make sure that Washington starts to work for you again, and not the other way around.”
[Citizen Cosponsor interface example:]
Cantor refers to The Citizen CoSponsor Project in non-ideological terms, but the project is currently housed on his personal webpage www.majorityleader.gov, and 5 out of 6 bills available for Facebook cosponsoring were authored by Republicans. Because of this, it seems unlikely that this particular model of digital democratic engagement will rise to become more than a partisan tool, but it certainly is a hallmark of the future still yet to come.