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Starbucks CEO: 'There's Something Wrong With Washington'

Meghan Coyle |
October 11, 2013 | 7:05 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Starbucks calls for an end to the gridlocked Congress. (Creative Commons/Flickr_
Starbucks calls for an end to the gridlocked Congress. (Creative Commons/Flickr_
Would you like whipped cream with that Frappuccino today? Or perhaps a chance to take a stand against the government shutdown? Today, Starbucks is not only serving coffee, but also a “tall” serving of citizen action. The international coffee company released the “Come Together” petition, calling for the government to end the shutdown, pay the nation’s debts and pass a long-term budget by the end of the year. Americans can sign the petition online or at the 11,000 Starbucks locations across the United States. Tear-out ads that could be signed were also printed in today's editions of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Washington Post.

The Come Together petition is getting widespread support. It has more than 134,000 likes on the Starbucks Facebook page and Starbucks tweeted that the company had already reached more than one million signatures. Starbucks is also reaching out to CEOs of some of the nation’s largest companies in hopes that they will also come together, according to The Washington Post. The coffee chain has a unique opportunity to initiate a movement because more than 60 million customers visit Starbucks every week.

This is just Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s latest political move. Earlier in the week, the chain announced its “pay it forward” promotion to give a free tall coffee to anyone who paid for someone else’s order. According to the Starbucks website, “We’re hoping this small motivation will encourage you to be the spark of connection that helps bring us all a little closer at a time when showing our unity is so important."

SEE ALSO: Starbucks And Other Businesses 'Pay It Forward'

The government shutdown, however, drones on. The federal government has been shuttered since Oct. 1 because the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House cannot come to a consensus over the budget for new fiscal year. Until Congress can pass a budget bill, more than 800,000 furloughed federal workers will continue to stay home from work, national parks will still be closed to the public and some welfare benefits will be unavailable.

SEE ALSO: Government Shutdown, Is The End In Sight?

Starbucks has a history of getting involved with politics. Schultz made a statement just last month that guns would not be welcome in Starbucks stores. Last December, the company encouraged baristas to write “come together” on coffee cups in the Washington, D.C. area to remind people that cooperation was important in the face of the fiscal cliff crisis. In 2011, Schultz asked other CEOs to stop campaign contributions until politicians could resolve their dispute over the debt ceiling and more than 100 companies took part in the effort.

Schultz has organized the Come Together petition to send a message to the government. As he put it, "There's something wrong with Washington."

Reach Staff Reporter Meghan Coyle here.



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