On Tuesday, the White House announced that it was canceling all public tours of the presidential residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue due to the sequester, the Washington Post reported. In response, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) introduced an amendment to the continuing resolution bill that would prohibit public funds being used to transport the president to or from a golf course until the tours resume.
“Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours,” the White House said.
When asked about the decision to cancel the tours, Obama simply smiled and waved, the Washington Times said.
But Mary Matalin told Sean Hannity Tuesday night that the tours are run by volunteers.
“It’s another audacious piece of mendacity,” she said.
Hannity said that a number of lawmakers have sharply criticized the President for the move.
Video of Matalin’s comments can be seen here.
“They just jumped the sharquester,” said John Hart, a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), characterizing the move as a “PR ploy.”
“They can tour the country on the taxpayer’s dime but can’t allow taxpayers to tour the White House? Seriously?” he added.
A post at Twitchy called the move “sequester theater, pure and simple.” A number of Twitter users agreed.
“BO shuts down tours to play let’s punish tourists who want to see WH (supposedly ppl’s house) unless they have $500,000 for access,” one person tweeted.
“Without White House and Capitol tours, you’ll have to imagine your money being wasted instead of seeing it firsthand,” tweeted another.
On Tuesday, an email surfaced that lead many to believe the administration is purposefully causing Americans to feel as much pain as possible in order to pressure Republicans to cave on tax loopholes.
The Washington Times reported the email came in response to an “appeal for flexibility” by an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C.
“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be,” the email from Washington said.
Gohmert was outraged at the administration’s decision.
“Now,” he said in a statement, “[Obama's] administration has released arrested criminal suspects, is threatening to furlough or cut law enforcement, not protect our border, leave our military in harm’s way without adequate support, cut out vaccinations to children, fire teachers they do not even hire, and now pull FAA personnel from 168 airports –all to punish the country. We have never had an American administration intentionally try to do this much damage to American lives as part of a tantrum demanding more money for government. This is a very serious and sad time for America.”
Gohmert’s amendment, which according to the White House Dossier’s Keith Koffler, will probably not pass, simply reads:
‘None of the funds made available by a division of this act may be used to transport the president to or from a golf course until public tours of the White House resume.’
According to ObamaGolfCounter.com, the president has enjoyed 115 rounds of golf since his first day in office.
Gohmert’s statement on the floor of the House can be seen here.
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