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Congress

Budget On the Mind Of YouTube Questioners

February 24, 2011

The budget and questions related to congressional compensation appear to be among the top concerns of the nearly 200 people who have taken time to submit questions to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for an interview he will be conducting with YouTube on Tuesday.

Like a similar event President Obama did with the video sharing site last year, Boehner will sit down with YouTube's Steve Grove to answer the top questions chosen by YouTube. It's not the first time Boehner has answered questions submitted via YouTube, according to Nick Schaper, Boehner's director of digital media.

Boehner answered questions from the "YouTube community" following Obama's address to Congress last year on health care. "That video is still one of our highest-viewed," Schaper said.

Since announcing the event on Wednesday, about 191 text and video questions have been submitted.

The top rated question so far was from John Braun of Fairfield, Conn., who asked why defense spending has been spared from serious budget cuts. This concern was echoed by an Illinois YouTube viewer called "Kamikaze34," who with the second-highest rated question asked, "Instead of cutting the budget on education, science, and Social Security, why can't you cut the military budget and bring the soldiers, all of them, home?"

There were several questions related to congressional pay and benefits, including whether members of Congress would be affected by a possible government shutdown if lawmakers and the White House are unable to agree on a spending bill for the rest of the year. "Forwillal" of Georgia asked if Congress is "willing to take pay cuts since the rest of the US work force is?" While "46inportland" asked whether members would still get paid if there is a government shutdown, adding "Get out of the ivory tower."

Other top-rated questions, those that have received the most "likes" from visitors to Boehner's YouTube channel, include one dealing with tax reform and the possibility of implementing a flat tax system and another asking why "investment in nuclear power has stopped and will Republicans support legislation to revive it?"

As with many of these YouTube question-and-answer sessions, there also were several questions calling on lawmakers to legalize marijuana, with some arguing that it will create jobs.

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