The White House is tired of responding to petitions

The We the People website has raised the threshold for a White House response

By Jillian Rayfield

Published January 16, 2013 4:04PM (EST)

The White House announced that it will now require 100,000 signatures on petitions posted on its We the People website, instead of 25,000, in order for it to respond.

From the White House blog:

When we first raised the threshold — from 5,000 to 25,000 — we called it "a good problem to have." Turns out that "good problem" is only getting better, so we're making another adjustment to ensure we’re able to continue to give the most popular ideas the time they deserve.

Starting today, as we move into a second term, petitions must receive 100,000 signatures in 30 days in order to receive an official response from the Obama Administration. This new threshold applies only to petitions created from this point forward and is not retroactively applied to ones that already exist.

The petition website has become popular for posting proposals that range from the ridiculous, like one for the government to build a Death Star, which the White House responded to with a nerdy breakdown of why it's not feasible, to the right-wing, like the influx of secessionist petitions from states like Texas, which the White House rejected this week.

Though the New York Times reports that Texas remains unfazed by the rejection:

On the opening day of the Legislature here last Tuesday, supporters of the Texas Nationalist Movement — a group that wants Texas to sever its federal ties and become an independent nation — met with Republican leaders, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. It was another sign that ideas once regarded as radical and even unpatriotic have found a measure of support, or at least sympathy, among some conservatives.

The movement also scored a mention in one legislator’s opening-day speech, though it was not a reference that pleased supporters of the cause. “Our economy is so vast and diverse that if Texas were its own country — and no, don’t worry, that isn’t something we’re going to do this session — but if we were, we’d be the 14th-largest economy in the world,” the speaker of the House, Joe Straus III, a San Antonio Republican, told lawmakers.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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