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The White House may be the people’s house, but it’s no longer open to public tours. The administration is blaming the decision on the sequester - the group of mandatory budget cuts that were put in place after President Obama and Congress couldn’t reach a deal to stop it.
Fox News reports that the White House made the announcement on Tuesday. Republicans quickly responded, calling it a move to make the sequester sound worse than it is.
The administration sent emails out to Congress staffers, saying that “staffing reductions” will mean that tours scheduled after Saturday will not happen. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours,” the email read. “We very much regret having to take this action, particularly during the popular Spring touring season.”
During a meeting with the press Thursday, press secretary Jay Carney called the decision “very unfortunate” but necessary to keep the Secret Service’s “core mission,” reports The Hill.
“We're disappointed by that kind of decision, but it would have been far better in our view if Congress had taken action to delay the sequester,” Carney said, later adding, “It is extremely unfortunate we have a situation like the sequester that compels these types of trade-offs.”
However, Carney did say that the White House Easter Egg Roll is still scheduled “as of now,” notes Politico.
So how much will cancelling the tours save the government? The Secret Service told ABC News that it should save $75,000 a week. It said that tours require around 37 officers to keep the tours safe.