President Obama announced that the tours will be cancelled as of March 9, 2013 due to cuts in staffing made necessary by the sequester.
Price, who represents Georgia’s 6th congressional district, and the other congressmen who signed the letter, emphasize that at a time when many families take their spring breaks, the move to close the door of the White House is especially painful.
“We urge you to reconsider this ill-conceived decision to restrict patriotic Americans’ access to one of the most popular public buildings in Washington, DC.,” said the lawmakers in the letter. “Although this notice from the White House claims the decision was made due to staffing reductions from your sequester, it is not clear that suspending these self-guided tours saves significant dollars. We are concerned that our constituents are being used to make a political point and will incur the pain of the sequester.”
Republicans have accused the President of imposing visible and drastic cuts even in situations when it is not necessary, just to ensure that the public feels the sequester cuts as he had promised weeks before.
The Washington Post published an article on Wednesday detailing a conversation between an Administration official and Charles Brown from a health inspections agency in Raleigh, N.C., in which Brown is directed to make reductions in his budget as severe as the President has been warning.
“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs,’” said the email. “So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”
Brown asked in his email if he could spread the sequester cuts to “minimize the impact.”
In the congressional letter, the lawmakers are calling for the President to reopen the tours especially since they are still available to anyone who’d make a political donation of at least $500,000.
“Why are our constituents being denied that same access? Is it your intent to allow access only to wealthy contributors?” asked the congressmen.
Click here to read the whole letter.