WASHINGTON – A Republican-led attempt to reopen the White House to tours was defeated largely along party lines Wednesday in the Senate.
Senators voted 45 to 54 on the measure from Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who was seeking to reshuffle the sequester cuts to bring back the White House tours and also prevent closures at Yellowstone and other national parks that have been hit by the budget reductions.
Republicans have criticized the decision to shutter the White House as a political move by the Obama administration designed to give the sequester cuts some bite, particularly after the president’s stark warnings over the consequences of the reductions have not been realized.
Halting the tours will save about $2 million from the Secret Service budget.
The across-the-board cuts began March 1 after Congress was unable to devise an alternative budget-cutting measure, but some are starting to be felt in lawmakers’ home states.