POLITICS: PennAve

White House to resume public tours

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Sequester

The White House announced on Friday that they would resume tours for the public this November.

“The White House is pleased to announce the resumption of a limited schedule of East Wing and Executive Residence tours, beginning on November 5th,” said the White House in a statement. “Additionally, the White House will be opening its gardens and grounds to visitors on October 26th and 27th.”

The public tours were suspended in March after the Secret Service was forced to reduce staff hours after sequestration cuts took effect.

“Last year’s sequestration came midway through the fiscal year, and we were unable to adjust or re-allocate remaining funding to continue tours while still ensuring enough funding remained to meet all operational needs and avoid furloughing our employees,” said Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary in a statement.

“In light of the new fiscal year, the Secret Service is confident that through the Continuing Resolution tours can operate at a reduced level while still meeting operational requirements,” he added.

The decision to suspend the tours earlier this year was sharply criticized by Republican lawmakers, who charged the White House with playing politics and trying to hurt the GOP in the debate over budget cuts.

The administration rebuffed those charges, saying the decision was made by the Secret Service.

Polls showed that a majority of the public believed the tours should be resumed. Obama said in March that he would look into ways to ”accommodate school groups” and resume some tours.

This story was published at 3:47 p.m. and has been updated.

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