The government saves only $74,000 a week by canceling tours of the White House. The Obama administration, citing the sequester, announced White House tours will be eliminated starting on Saturday.
A Secret Service official said “there are 37 Secret Service officers staffed for tours” and each “get paid $50 per hour for eight-hour shifts.” Since those officers work five days a week, the White House saves $74,000 a week and nearly $2 million before the end of the current fiscal year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) noted that tours of the Capitol have not been canceled and said the Obama administration was canceling the tours as a publicity stunt to exaggerate the impact of the sequester. The White House tours are especially popular during the spring, when students have traditionally come to Washington to learn about the country’s history.
“Even though our budget’s been cut, like everyone else’s, thanks to proper planning, we’re able to avoid furloughs amongst Capitol workers, and tours are going to remain available for all Americans,” Boehner told NBC News. “I think it’s disappointing that the Obama administration didn’t follow our lead and find savings in other parts of their budget.”
On Thursday, a group of sixth graders started a Facebook page begging the White House not to cancel the tours, and Fox News hosts like Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity offered to pay for a week’s worth of tours so students could tour the White House, as many have traditionally done when they come to Washington, D.C. during their spring breaks.