White House Tours: Senator’s Solution, Raid TSA Uniform Fund

Photograph by Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

A tour guide leads tourists in front of the White House.

With the decision to halt White House tours in the wake of the across-the-board budget cuts drawing criticism from all sides, one Republican senator is eyeing a solution to the problem.

Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, has proposed taking $2.5 million from the Transportation Security Administration to provide the Secret Service with the funds to resume the tours, which are a popular stop for tourists visiting the U.S. capital during school spring breaks.

Moran will try to attach the amendment, which would take money from the TSA’s “civil aviation security services,” to the government funding bill currently being considered in the Senate. The lawmaker is specifically seeking to take funds that finance the agency’s uniform allowance for its employees and shift it to the Secret Service.

His effort comes as the White House faces continuing questions over the decision to cut off the tours, which are staffed by the Secret Service.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters today the decision was made by the Secret Service as the agency sought to comply with budget cuts. The White House then cancelled the tours.

President Barack Obama said yesterday in an interview with ABC News that he has asked the Secret Service to consider ways to provide limited tours to school groups. While Carney said that option is being reviewed, a broad resolution to the issue appears unlikely in the near future.

Carney told reporters today that reopening the tours to all is “not an option because of the sequester cuts.”


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