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Tag Archives: sequester

Did Obama Donate 5 Percent of His Salary?

It’s still not clear.

Despite repeated requests by the Washington Free Beacon for an answer, the White House has refused to say whether President Obama took, as promised, a five percent pay cut in solidarity with federal employees furloughed as a result of the sequester last year.

According to the New York Times, Obama, who makes $400,000 a year, was to write a check for $20,000 to the federal government.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who had to have been expecting the question, said at today’s briefing he believed Obama had paid back the money but wasn’t sure, saying, “I’ll check for you.”

We’ll see.

White House Tours to Resume

From the White House this afternoon:

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

Members of the public interested in scheduling a tour of the East Wing and Executive Residence should contact their Member of Congress.

The government shutdown is done, but the sequester that originally halted the tours continues, so it’s not clear where the White House found the money.

According to the Washington Post:

Secret Service spokesman Robert Novy said the tours would continue through Jan. 15 and occur three days a week, on average, though the exact number of days would vary. Before the White House halted the tours in March, they had taken place five days a week.

“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,” Novy said. “In light of the new fiscal year, the Secret Service is confident that through the Continuing Resolution tours can operate on a limited schedule while still meeting operational requirements.”

Either that or the White House decided an effort to create bad PR for the sequester failed and tours might as well resume. Take your pick.

Obamas to Host Third Command Concert Since Sequester

President and Mrs. Obama Monday night will host their third “command performance” since the sequester began in March, grooving in the East Room to the sounds of Hispanic music.

Obamas danceAmong the stars who will appear to serenade the first couple are Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Raul Malo, Prince Royce, Natalie Cole, Lila Downs, Arturo Sandoval, Romeo Santos, Alejandro Sanz and Marco Antonio Solis.

While workers are being furloughed throughout the government, services are cut, and White House tours remain on ice, private concerts for the Obamas somehow remain beyond the budget axe. The Obamas hosted a “celebration” of Memphis soul music in April and a tribute to Carole King in May.

Tonight’s Música Latina: In Performance at the White House is actually the second musical event featuring the Latino music, the first being what was billed as a “Fiesta Latina” on the South Lawn. Estafan also performed there, as she did during the Carole King concert.

Michelle has also invited 130 middle and high school students from around Washington to  take part during the day in an educational workshop, Celebrando el Ritmo Latino: The History of Latin Music. Some of the performers will drop by.

Tonight’s command performance, the 12th of the Obamas’ tenure, will be broadcast Tuesday, October 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS.

Still No WH Tours, but Parade of Special Visitors Continues

The White House continues to bar average Americans from touring “The People House” but nevertheless lavishes spending on all sorts of special invitees – from diners at last week’s Iftar dinner breaking the Muslim fast to sports teams and foreign diplomats.

Obama basketball 2Soon after the outcry over the cancellation of tours due to the sequester, the White House promised to see what could be done to allow some visits to resume. But nothing was done and no one can visit – unless President Obama finds you useful or amusing.

Favored guest have poured in this month, even though Obama was traveling in Africa for part of it.

Last week’s glittering Iftar dinner featured about 130 guests treated to remarks by Obama and bread breaking with senior aide Valerie Jarrett and National Security advisor Susan Rice.

Obama held a mass reception for the entire diplomatic corps July 19. He hosted the  2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion Louisville Cardinals July 23 and will gather with the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants today.

He even found room in the White House for a team that hasn’t won a game in 50 years – the 1963 Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers championship basketball team.

Meanwhile, he had some old buddies in for a July Fourth celebration. And Michelle staged a “Kids’ State Dinner” with dozens of children and their parents to promote her healthy eating initiative.

June’s events included a raucous celebration of LGBT Pride Month, a special movie screening in the White House theater, and visits by the WNBA Champion Indiana Fever and Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens and Division III Women’s Basketball Champion DePauw University Tigers.

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Obamas to Toast Political Backer Carole King in East Room

The White House East Room continues to be a sequester-free zone, as President and Mrs. Obama will be given yet another command performance there Wednesday, this one honoring the music of one of their major political supporters, Carole King.

King campaigned for Obama in 2008 and again in 2012. In October 2012 she was the feature attraction at a fundraiser for the president in Massachusetts, with tickets running from $2,500-$5,000.

Last summer, she starred in this campaign video for the Obama campaign, seeking to woo rural voters.

White House tours are canceled because of the sequester and White House aides are having their pay docked, but the music never stops. Just last month, the Obamas grooved to a concert celebrating the sounds of Memphis Soul.

This time, the show will include performances by King, as well as Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sandé, James Taylor and Trisha Yearwood. Even as scandals rage around them, it’s still party time.

King is being awarded the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. It’s the Obamas’ eleventh “command performance.”

Obamacare Workers Avoid Furloughs

Well, air traffic controllers may be getting furloughed, but the administration wants to make sure Obamacare gets a safe landing, as worker bees implementing the health care law won’t be forced to take unpaid days off.

According to The Hill, while furloughs go into effect throughout the federal workforce, the worst the office doing Obamacare can expect is that it can’t hire new people if someone leaves.

Unless a misguided plane crashes into their office, the Obamacare workers be at their desks making the country safe for socialized medicine.

White House Aides to Begin Furloughs May 1

All White House officials will be subject to furloughs beginning with the May 1st pay period, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today.

“Everyone in the White House office will be affected,” Carney said.

But he suggested that senior officials might have it worse. According to Carney, so-called “commissioned officers,” including him, are not permitted to take leave and will therefore receive a dock in pay while continuing to work. Others will be told to take unpaid leave.

Carney said he was not sure how much of a pay cut or unpaid leave officials would be required to take.

Tonight Marks Tenth “Command Performance” for the Obamas

Tonight’s special White House “celebration” of Memphis soul music marks the tenth time President and Mrs. Obama have been treated to an exclusive East Room “command performance” of American music featuring major stars, past and present. While the performances are televised and celebrate the nation’s culture, some may wonder whether during an era of soaring… Continue Reading

More Sequester-Immune Golf

President Obama today played golf for the second week in a row. It looks like, despite the sequester, this is going to be a banner year – it’s already his seventh time playing and we’re barely into spring. Today’s outing, the 118th of his presidency, included three White House staffers – Marvin Nicholson, Joe Paulsen and Michael Brush. Continue Reading

Carney Accuses Ed Henry of “Editorializing”

The White House habit of attacking the press, which America finally became familiar with after Bob Woodward complained about it a few weeks ago, was on full display in the briefing room Tuesday as Press Secretary Jay Carney incorrectly accused Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry of editorializing. Henry asked Carney a question about… Continue Reading