White House cancels tours as a result of budget cuts

WASHINGTON Wed Mar 6, 2013 6:00am EST

A worker cleans a sidewalk outside the White House in Washington March 2, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

A worker cleans a sidewalk outside the White House in Washington March 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday said it was cancelling 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 cancelled 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. (Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Karey Van Hall and Stacey Joyce)

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