Iowa sixth graders begging for their tour of the White House to be rescheduled are out of luck.
Beginning Saturday, all public tours of the White House are canceled, a move administration officials said was necessary after $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts kicked in March 1. Republicans counter that the move was made to maximize public frustration with the cuts.
In response, students from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa made a video in which they held signs reading, “The White House is our house; please let us visit.” The video went viral Thursday but the White House says the Iowa students, along with all others scheduled for tours after Friday, won’t be accommodated.
“We’re talking about pay cuts and overtime cuts or a choice to suspend tours,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “And I’m not suggesting it’s a happy choice, but it is one that we had to make.”
The Secret Service estimates that the canceling of White House tours will save the agency $74,000 per week. Though the tours are mostly self guided, Secret Service agents are tasked with keeping an eye on the visitors.
Still, the White House said the Easter egg roll would go on as scheduled — even though it requires a sizable security presence.