White House Cancels Tours Due To Budget Cuts

The White House

The federal government has already canceled Blue Angels shows around the country and now the White House is cancelling tours.

The White House announced today that they would be cancelling all upcoming tours for the foreseeable future due to cutbacks triggered by the sequester. The White House said that it no longer has the staff to to give citizens a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The White House Visitors Office said:

“Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House tours will be canceled effective Saturday March 9th, 2013 until further notice … 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.”

According to the Washington Post, the White House is canceling future tours as well as tours that have already been scheduled. The self-guided free tours, which can take anywhere from three weeks to six months to arrange, will not be rescheduled.

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D., N.Y.) said:

“It’s very unfortunate. It’s more unfortunate because it’s avoidable. All it will take is some Republicans in the House who are willing to negotiate a truly balanced budget.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that 657,000 people visited the White House for a tour in 2011. Since 1954, more than 64 million have toured 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Some Republicans have argued that the decision to cut the free, self-guided tours was just a ploy by President Obama. Rep. Tom Graves (R., Ga.) said in statement: “Canceling all self-guided White House tours is the latest shameless political stunt by the president, who is twisting basic government efficiency into an extreme consequence.”

The White House argued, however, that due to budget cuts it no longer had the security to allow citizens to roam around the White House.

What’s your opinion of the sequester cuts? Are you glad to see the government cutting unnecessary items? Or is the country suffering because the Republicans and Democrats are still squabbling?