House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced a new initiative today that looks to improve the communication and understanding between Facebook's legion of users and the legislative branch of the United States government. The new Facebook app, Citizen Cosponsor, allows Facebook users to easily access information pertaining to congressional bills, see which member(s) of Congress sponsored the bill, where the bill is in the legislative process, and then see who among Facebook is a "cosponsor."
Despite what the name seems to imply, Facebook users aren't literally cosponsoring the bills in the same way that members of Congress sponsor a bill (and thank heavens for that). It's more of a way to see what kind of bills get support from the public while allowing the public supporters to share with their Facebook friends what bills they support. Users of the app can see what bills are currently being discussed by visiting the Majority Leader's website and browsing through the list.
Built upon Facebook's Open Graph, Citizen Cosponsor, which was first picked up by All Facebook, is an inventive way for Congress to invite the public to be closer to the legislative process. Additionally, if you want to follow updates on a specific bill, you can click "Keep Me Informed" and you will receive updates regarding the bill's activity in the House.
Leader Cantor said the following via statement:
"We are dedicated to modernizing the way Congress connects with the American people. Citizen Cosponsor breaks ground by directly connecting people with the work the House is doing every day. With the simple click of a button, Citizen Cosponsors will become a part of the deliberative process, using the same social networks they already rely on in their everyday lives.
"Effectively communicating with the people we represent is a fundamental responsibility of what we do as elected officials. Since I came to Congress, I have made it my priority to open the channels of communication between constituents and their Members of Congress. I am proud of the continued progress the House Republican Majority has made toward increasing transparency, visibility and participation in the legislative process."
Additionally, Leader Cantor provided the following video statement announcing Citizen Cosponsors.