White House Says It’s Not Trying To Make Shutdown Extra Painful

Jay Carney rejects a growing conservative meme.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

WASHINGTON — The White House is not running a political scheme to make the government shutdown more painful, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

Some conservatives have questioned the shutdown of some sections of the government while other parts remain open. After the shuttering of the Department of Justice’s AmberAlert.gov page was discovered over the weekend — a move that did not affect the actual Amber Alert program, according to the federal government and child safety advocates — some conservatives have accused the White House of choosing painful programs to shut down to put more pressure on Republicans to reopen the government.

“That’s not the case,” Carney said when asked about the criticism.

From a rush transcript from Monday’s briefing (the questioner is Fox’s Ed Henry):

QUESTION: OK, last one. Over the weekend, there was an issue about the Amber Alert website. You received criticism that it was shut down initially. It went back up. And it led to these charges from Republicans that your — your — the government is somehow picking and choosing things that will make it more painful so that the public will put more pressure on Congress to act to reopen the government. Can you comment on it?

CARNEY: Well, A, that’s of course not the case. B, I would refer you to DOJ about how this is — the website is administered. But I can tell you that the website that DOJ maintains is informational, and it’s not a law-enforcement tool used to issue Amber Alerts. And at no point during the shutdown has the Amber Alert system been interrupted. But in — as you know, it’s been…

QUESTION: State by state is what…

(CROSSTALK)

CARNEY: I would not — I would hesitate to give details that I think are best answered by DOJ. But to eliminate any confusion among the public about the status of the program, a furloughed Justice Department employee was called into work in order to restore the informational site. But, again, it’s informational. The system itself was never interrupted. And I think that’s important for people to know and to report.

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