Last updated: October 27, 2011 - 7:43am
The White House responded to its first We the People online petition -- a request to forgive all student loan debt to stimulate the economy -- with changes to the government's income-based repayment program that will significantly lower monthly payments for some borrowers.
The plan -- detailed in a letter from Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy Roberto Rodriguez -- was posted on the We the People website and sent by email to the petition's roughly 32,000 signatories, White House New Media Director Macon Phillips said. The White House will be responding to more petitions in coming days, Phillips said. The student loan petition is one of five We the People petitions that has topped the 25,000 signature threshold to receive an official White House response. Many older petitions also are owed a response, though, under a previous 5,000 signature threshold officials have said they'll honor. Other petitions that have topped the higher threshold call on the Administration to legalize marijuana; abolish the Transportation Security Administration; illegalize the large-scale breeding of puppies; and reopen an investigation of misconduct in the prosecution of Sholom Rubashkin, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish businessman who was convicted of financial fraud in connection with a kosher meatpacking plant he ran in Postville, Iowa.