News Column

Sequester Ax Chops Off White House Tours

March 5, 2013

Staff -- HispanicBusiness

white house

If you've dreamed of taking a tour of the White House, you better do it by this weekend.

Add tours of the president's home to the list budget cuts caused by the sequestration, according to NBC News. The tours will be cancelled starting this weekend.

"Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013, until further notice," the recording for visitors says. "Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours. We very much regret having to take this action, particularly during the popular spring touring season."

NBC News says the decision was made because the Uniformed Division Officers that handle security during the tours will now be reassigned to other security posts at the White House. Officials say the move will reduce overtime costs. The decision was ultimately approved by the White House.

Republicans say the cancellation of tours is a publicity stunt by the White House.

House Administration Committee chairwoman Candice Miller, R-Mich., told NBC News that the canceled tours are "wrong" and invited tourists to Washington, D.C., to tour the Capitol instead.

"I believe closing the doors of the White House to the American people is wrong," she wrote. "I want to let those Americans planning a trip to Washington, D.C., know that the Capitol will remain open and encourage those wishing to visit to contact their member of Congress or the Capitol Visitors Center to schedule a tour."

President Obama directed the automatic cuts last Friday when Congress failed to reach an agreement to delay or repeal the sequester. The $85 billion in spending cuts will mean longer lines at the airport's security checkpoints, elimination of military programs and furlough days for many federal employees.

Source: (c) 2013. All rights reserved.

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