President Obama said in an interview with ABC News that he will ask the Secret Service to consider whether “there are ways” to restart White House tours on a limited basis.
“Well, what I’m asking them is are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups – you know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales,” said Obama, who spoke with George Stephanopoulos of Good Morning America. “Can we make sure that – kids, potentially, can – can still come to tour?”
The tours were suspended last week as part of what the administration has said are efforts to comply with the sequester. Obama claimed the decision to cancel the tours was not made by the White House, blaming the Secret Service instead.
“You know, I have to say this was not – a decision that went up to the White House,” Obama said.
“But th– what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re gonna have to furlough some folks,” he continued. “What furloughs mean is– is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay. And, you know, the question for them is, you know, how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we’ve got White House tours that means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seein’ . . . ”
Obama also appeared to blame House Republicans for the suspension of the tours, saying “there are consequences to Congress not having come up with a more sensible way to reduce the deficit.”