A petition made through the White House’s “We the people” process calling on the Obama administration to “cease paychecks and health benefits to ALL members of Congress and the President until the fiscal cliff is avoided” is gaining steam.
As of this morning, the petition, created a week ago, had 11,183 signatures, putting it nearly halfway to the amount of signatures needed to “require a response” from the White House. It needs to gain only 13,817 more signatures before Jan. 3 to meet the White House’s 25,000 signature standard.
While it is outside the Obama administration’s powers to stop paying elected members of federal office simply because they did not address a particular issue, pass a certain law or respond to a popular online petition, the petition is a sign of Americans’ growing unrest as the sequestration that will occur on Jan. 2 as a result of “fiscal cliff” draws nearer.
Congress has only 23 days to act before across the $109 billion in across the board spending cuts take place to nearly every category of government spending, including Medicare, with the notable exceptions of Medicaid and Social Security. Military personel and staff and the Veterans Affairs Department would not be affected. However employees at the Department of Defense and other federal employees, including members of Congress’ own staff, could be furloughed – forced to take temporary unpaid leave – or laid off entirely if the sequestration goes into effect.
” ‘The American People’ ” that both sides constantly regale live in this sort of world (do your job or don’t get paid). If it is good enough for us, it’s good enough for them,” states the petition urging the White House to halt members of Congress’ and the President’s salaries during the sequestration. It also calls for a permanent 15 percent cut in their salaries if they miss the deadline that cannot be reversed until the 114th Congress in two years.
Although the legislative branch’s budget would be cut by 8.2 percent in the sequestration, few members of Congress would opt to give themselves a pay cut, instead they would most likely cut back on expenses such as the number of events they hold, times they travel to their districts and staffers in their offices.
The President seemed no more willing to compromise with congressional Republicans Monday on how to not only avoid the cliff, but solve the nation’s longterm debt and deficit spending crisis. Instead, he will travel to Redford, Michigan to continue campaigning for support of his plan.