The government should stop paying and providing health benefits to the president and members of Congress until the fiscal cliff is resolved, according to a petition digitally signed by thousands at the White House’s We the People website.
The petition created on Dec. 3 by Deborah P. of Arlington, Texas, calls for Congress and the Obama administration to pass “a solution, not a stop-gap” to the fiscal cliff before they receive further benefits and wages. If they miss the fiscal cliff deadline, she says members of Congress and the president should accept a permanent 15 percent pay cut and be restricted from any raises for two years. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had more than 8,700 signatures. A petition must have 25,000 signatures to receive an answer from an administration official.
This petition wasn’t alone in demanding action from the country’s elected representatives on the fiscal cliff, the mix of spending cuts and tax increases slated to take place at the beginning of 2013. A separate petition on the We the People site implored the government to find a bipartisan solution to the fiscal cliff, another told House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to “yield to the will of the American people,” and others have demanded tax increases on the wealthiest citizens. One petition asked members of Congress to sign a pledge overriding a commitment made to anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist.Though members of Congress and the president are eligible to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, a spokeswoman for the Office of Personnel Management could not say if withholding wages and benefits under the conditions set out in the petition would be possible.