My office just finished notifying hundreds of Kansans that their requests to visit the White House have been declined. The White House has informed Congress that as of March 9, 2013, White House tours are cancelled indefinitely due to sequestration.
Every spring and summer, thousands of students, families, veterans, and other tour groups travel to our nation’s capital to enjoy all of the history and sights our capital city has to offer. To arbitrarily deny access to a taxpayer funded, historical building, such as the White House, is seemingly political and clearly cynical.
Sequestration has impacted every branch of government. Like the White House, my office is facing cuts to our operating budget. Yet we have found ways to do more with less, rather than stripping benefits away from our constituents. Yes, tours of the Capitol building will still be provided by my staff, free of charge.
Perception politics have run amok in Washington, and this decision has all the appearances of a political move designed to cause public pain. We all need to work together to improve this country’s fiscal outlook. Political games like this have no place in responsible governing or constructive debate. The White House’s decision to close public access to the residence of the United States President is not a solution. It is just an example of another problem.
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts