The White House just announced the latest victim of the dreaded sequester: tours.
Yes, tours. Citing "staffing reductions from sequestration," the White House told lawmakers in an email that starting this Saturday, all tours of the executive mansion have been canceled until further notice, with no possibility of rescheduling.
The Washington Post reports that Republicans are skeptical, and it's hard to blame them. This reeks of politicization. We all know the sequester cuts are deep, but cutting the tours? Could they really not spare one of the most (perhaps the most) popular tourist attractions? Every elected official pays lip service to the need to make "responsible cuts," this one seems to exacerbate the pain the public feels. If Obama really doesn't want to cut spending in any substantial way, a move like this could work to swing public opinion toward his side.
The Hill reports that it is currently unclear how the $85 billion sequester cuts will affect employees from the visitor office, but if they're completely cutting tours — a basic and, I assume, relatively inexpensive service — the White House owes America an explanation. Surely there's a way to pare back costs from the tour system or find savings elsewhere — maybe nix one or two trips in Air Force One, for starters.