There are about to be a lot of unhappy tourists in the nation’s capital. The White House is cancelling all public tours of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a result of the sequester spending cuts, a senior administration official confirms.
“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,” according to a cancellation notice that was sent to congressional offices.
Tourists go through their local representatives to arrange visits to the White House, which means every member of Congress will feel the impact of these cuts as they explain the cancellation to their constituents.
The cancellations come right at the start of the busy spring break tourist season. “We very much regret having to take this action, particularly during the popular Spring touring season,” the notice from the White House Visitors Office said.
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Update from ABC’s Michael Falcone – Congressional aides are already up in arms about this announcement from the White House now that they must begin the disappointing (and time-consuming) business of calling constituents to tell them their tours have been cancelled.
When asked about the impact of the decision, one Republican Hill staffer offered this pointed observation:
“This move by the White House is completely vindictive and unnecessary, meant to direct blame for the sequester away from the administration and instead, onto the underpaid and overworked staff assistants and tour coordinators on Capitol Hill who work to ensure their constituents enjoy their visits to Washington, D.C. They think they may be hurting Congressional Republicans. That is, after all, their stated purpose. But in reality, they are only making life more difficult for some of the worst paid folks on Capitol Hill who must now call disappointed constituents and notify them that their vacation plans are ruined. They may think they’re punishing Members, but in reality, the folks who will suffer are the constituents and the unfortunate staffers who must break the news to them.”
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