White House cancels tours as a result of budget cuts

WASHINGTON Tue Mar 5, 2013 5:18pm EST

The White House is seen through trees from the National Mall in Washington, March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The White House is seen through trees from the National Mall in Washington, March 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday said it was canceling visitor tours of the executive mansion, blaming the recent $85 billion in budget cuts known as the sequester.

For weeks, the White House had warned that the sequester would have a sweeping impact on the nation, causing long lines at airports, closing national parks and slowing the prosecution of criminals.

Despite those dire warnings, the White House and Congress failed to reach an alternative budget deal that would have averted the automatic cuts that kicked in on March 1.

So far, there has been little evidence of a dramatic immediate impact. But the White House appears to be taking a proactive approach to trimming in-house spending.

"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. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours," the White House Visitors Office said in an email on Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich, a Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and former House Speaker, criticized the move in a tweet.

"Obama should be challenged - publish cost of White House tours - money could be raised to protect public access - this is silly and demeaning," Gingrich said.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Karey Van Hall, Stacey Joyce and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (4)
actnow wrote:
One positive impact of the cuts anyhow. Let people pay if they want a tour. One of thousands of steps to help bring wasteful spending in balance again.

Mar 05, 2013 11:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Gigimoderate wrote:
Agreed actnow…..I would like to go this spring and take my mom. She is sick, it’s her chance she would have to tour.
Stupid Louie Gohmert -R Texas ……did you hear him on the news……” Well we’re going to just have to get rid of the presidents golf games”. Can we please keep these idiots away for the cameras.

Mar 05, 2013 11:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This is hysterical.

The tour guides at the White House are docents – unpaid volunteers.

Mar 06, 2013 3:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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