Feds force Obama to respond to Christmas Eve petition

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Update: Obama on Friday, Dec. 21, issued an executive order declaring Christmas Eve 2012 a federal holiday. See our story here. 

A petition to give federal employees Christmas Eve off has passed the threshold that requires a response from the White House.

The petition on the We the People website received its 25,000th signature Monday morning, reaching the cutoff necessary to compel a response.

The petition asks the president to give federal employees an extra day off on Dec. 24, which falls on a Monday, thereby creating a four-day weekend. The last two times Christmas fell on a Tuesday -- in 2001 and 2007 -- President George W. Bush gave federal employees Christmas Eve off.

At least some federal employees stand in opposition to the petition, saying the day off is not something workers should ask for.  

“This is an embarrassment,” said one Government Executive reader posting under the name Buf2falo. “The only way this can happen is as a gift. The petition makes it less likely and tarnishes all federal workers by association.”

President Obama may have a more pressing petition to respond to first, with more than 144,000 people signing a request to “immediately address the issue of gun control” in the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday. That marks an all-time record for signatures on the White House’s petition website. 

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