Obama: Don’t blame White House for canceled tours

Could the White House reopen soon to the public?

Less than a week after the Obama administration suspended all tours to save money amid mandatory budget cuts, the president said he’s asking the Secret Service to review the decision. Obama said the protective service made the call to shut down the tours starting last weekend without the White House’s input.

“What I'm asking them is are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups who may have traveled here with some bake sales,” Obama said during an interview with ABC News. “Can we make sure that  kids, potentially, can still come to tour?"

The Secret Service has said it will save an estimated $2 million in overtime pay—or $74,000 a week through September – by suspending the tours. The agency is seeking $85 million in cuts due to the across-the-board spending reductions known as the sequester. The administration has warned of deepening public pain due to the cuts as they sink in over the coming months, and the president has called for Congress to support his plan to offset them by closing tax loopholes for wealthier Americans.

"I'm always amused when people on the one hand say the sequester doesn't mean anything and the administration's exaggerating its effects,” Obama said, “and then whatever the specific effects are, they yell and scream and say, 'Why are you doing that?' Well, there are consequences to Congress not having come up with a more sensible way to reduce the deficit."

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.
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