Blaming sequester cuts, President Obama has elected to close the White House to tourists, just weeks after the New York Times accused the administration of selling access to the presidency. The White House Visitors Office told Congress, via email, on Tuesday, that the decision was made because of staffing reductions resulting from sequestration.
Since sequestration went into effect on March 1st, the White House has multiple attempts to scare the American people into rallying behind the big spending Obama administration on an issue first proposed by the president.
Eliminating White House tours is the latest stunt for an administration who continues to campaign against the GOP.
Because visitors typically go through their legislators to arrange tours, each member of the House of the Representatives, the legislative body that Obama is desperate to win for Democrats in 2014, will feel the heat. This leaves congressional aides in the awkward position of having to telephone constituents to notify them their tours have been cancelled, taking valuable time away from congressional staff.
One Republican staffer offered an explanation to ABC News:
“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.”
The cancellations come just as the busy spring tourism season gets underway, forcing many Americans to forego vacation plans, sometimes scheduled months in advance, and punishing an industry that saw visitors spend $6.03 billion in the nation's capital in 2011.
According to Destination DC, failure to produce tourism dollars would require the district to produce $2,483 in local taxes from each of the 266,707 residents in order to maintain the overall current level of tax reciepts.