After a hiatus for maintenance, the White House has relaunched the popular We the People petitions website as of the end of January.
The Trump administration had previously said it planned to keep the site online after the change in administrations.
The site came back online the afternoon of January 31st. It had been taken down in December when the maintenance began.
It still promises a response to petitions that get at least 100,000 signatures, and some of the petitions currently on the site have broken this threshold. Existing petitions that were on the site prior to the maintenance have been restored.
The website was created in 2011 by the Obama administration as a way for the public to interact directly with the White House.
The online maintenance work was done as part of a larger effort to reduce costs for the White House’s online operations. The whitehouse.gov website was redesigned recently and is expected to save $3 million per year. According to the Washington Examiner, the old whitehouse.gov website cost roughly $6 million per year.
Petitions and Federal Employees
Some petitions aimed at the federal workforce have been featured on the site since it’s been in existence.
In 2012, for instance, a petition was filed asking that federal employees be given an extra day off at Christmas. Federal workers were ultimately given an extra day off on Christmas Eve that year. The petition drew a response from the White House and was likely a factor that influenced getting the extra holiday, but there is no way to know for certain how much of an influence it had.
More recently, a petition was filed asking that the GPO and WEP be eliminated. It failed to get the required signatures to be addressed by the White House, however, that same year, a WEP reform bill was being considered in Congress, but ultimately failed to advance.
The petitions website has been and will continue to be a sounding board for the public to express their opinions to the White House about current events.