President Obama is reportedly scheduled to be vacationing in Hawaii on January 2, the date billions in spending cuts – and untold consequences for the economy – will kick in if a deal is not reached on the “fiscal cliff.”
According to the Hawaii Reporter, residents who live in the area of Oahu where Obama and his family vacation have been told that the usual restrictions on their movements during an Obama stay will be in place for 21 days, from December 17 through January 6.
The White House has not officially announced the vacation, and it is unclear if the travel plans are finalized or if the Obamas will be in Hawaii for the entire three-week window covered by the restrictions.
An upcoming vacation could provide subtle pressure for Obama to reach a deal, since not getting one might force him to cancel his coveted time in Hawaii. Even though the election is behind him, Obama’s advisers would probably think it too much of a public relations nightmare to have the president luxuriating in paradise while the country embarks on a season of massive pain.
In the past, Obama has made sure he got his vacation time in – even extending his scheduled Hawaii sojourn after being forced to delay its start because of negotiations with Congress.
What’s more, the Obamas skipped their traditional August trip to ritzy Martha’s Vineyard, an excursion that would have contrasted too severely with a candidate supposedly fighting for the middle class. They presumably are more than eager at this point to get away.
The Hawaii Reporter estimates that the total cost of the vacation to Hawaii and federal taxpayers, including funding for travel, staff and protection, is at least $4 million. Obama’s vacations are more expensive than those of previous presidents because of the huge costs to fly Air Foce One and an accompanying cargo plane for nine hours or so to Hawaii.