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Blunt Questions Obama’s Suspension of Self-Guided White House Tours

The White House has suspended tours "until further notice" as a result of the sequestration
White House
The White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Tom Lohdan, via flickr)

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri has sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him for more details on the president’s decision to stop self-guided White House tours as a result of the sequestration budget cuts. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has details.

Blunt, along with several other lawmakers, is questioning how much the White House will really save by suspending the tours of America’s elegant, historic, and taxpayer-funded executive mansion.

In that letter, the Senators write, quote, “We would like information on the number of White House personnel who are assigned to the Visitors Office and whether or not this policy will result in lay-offs, furloughs, and/or pay cuts.”  They also ask the president what additional cost-saving measures the White House is implementing as a result of the sequestration.

We called the White House Visitor’s Office information line, where we heard this recorded message:

“Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House tours will be cancelled effective Saturday, March 9, 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,” the recording plays.

The sequestration is a collection of across the board federal spending cuts that went into effect when Congress and the White House failed to reach an agreement on a deficit reduction plan.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Davidson.

To see the letter those Senators sent to President Obama, you can click here.