White House half-heartedly responds to national deficit petition

Katie LaPotin and Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Red Alert Politics, June 21, 2013

When it comes to reducing the deficit it seems that the White House is breaking its own rules to promote President Obama’s agenda.

The West Wing recently gave a half-hearted response to a “We the People” petition that called on the administration to “restrict pay for all Senators and Congress to $75,000 for a period of 3 years to repay the National deficit.” Instead of answering the question at hand, Obama and Co. decided to take the opportunity to tout Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014, bragging that if his budget was passed in full the president will have successfully cut the national deficit in half since taking office in 2009.

The response also made sure to call Congress out, citing the 27th Amendment which gives lawmakers the choice of whether they will take a reduction in their salary.

“Now you’ve proposed a pay cut for members of Congress–limiting all of their salaries for three years,” the response stated. “Lawmakers control their own paychecks (subject, of course, to the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), and it’s up to them to take a reduction.

But don’t worry, petitioners!  Even if Congress refuses to cut their salaries for the next three years, Obama will. The president announced back in April that he would forego five percent of his salary this year– $20,000 – “in a show of solidarity” to the government workers being furloughed this year due to sequestration, and several of his cabinet members announced they would give back part of their salaries this year as well.

In addition, by answering the petition the White House ignored its own signature threshold rule for the “We the People” petitions – which the administration put in place this past January to “give the most popular ideas the time they deserve” by answering the petition. The pay restriction petition was nearly 30,000 signatures shy of the 100,000 signature threshold.

The Obama administration did the same thing with a petition to try Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) for treason late last month, answering the petition even though it only had 41,000 signatures at the time.

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