White House Responds to First ‘We the People’ Petition

The White House issued its first response to a petition created on “We the People,” the administration’s website that allows citizens to start and gather support for issues important to them.

The petition focused on an idea to forgive student loan debt as a way to stimulate the economy and usher in a new era of innovation and entrepreneurship. Roberto Rodriguez, an education advisor to President Obama, responded.

White House Director of the Office of Digital Strategy Macon Phillips said that 77 petitions have reached the necessary threshold (originally 5,000 signatures over a 30-day span that was increased to 25,000 signatures over the same time period following an early rush of petitions) to receive a White House response.

“We’re thrilled to see so many Americans already using ‘We the People’ to engage members of the Obama Administration in a constructive dialogue on an enormous scale,” Phillips wrote on the White House blog. “With every new response we post, our hope is that We the People will continue to gain steam, not for the sizzle of being a ‘web tool’ but for the meaningfulness of the engagement and substance of the responses.”


Phillips said each week his office has met with White House policy officials to review all petitions that have crossed the threshold and more responses will be posted over the next few days.

So far, more than 755,000 people have used the “We the People” platform to create or sign more than 12,400 petitions. In total, those petitions have received more than 1.2 million signatures.

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