Stewart to President Obama: ‘Forgo a Taxpayer Funded Vacation to Resume White House Tours’
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) introduced The White House Tour Resolution, asking President Obama to refrain from taking more vacations at the taxpayers’ expense until he reopens the White House for tours.
The Secret Service has estimated that it costs approximately $3.7 million annually to keep the White House open for tours, while each Hawaiian vacation taken by President Obama and his family costs approximately $4 million.
“Our request is simple. The President is asking the people to sacrifice, but never himself,” Stewart said. “We don’t have a problem with him taking vacations, but it seems petty to close the White House to tours, when forgoing one or two out-of-town vacations would easily pay for the cost of keeping it open. It’s unfortunate that instead of choosing to eliminate wasteful or duplicative government spending as a result of the President’s sequester, he has chosen to close the White House to the public. The President is again showing his dedication to politics and not to pursuing sound public policy.”
An article published in the Hawaii Reporter, in November 2012, breaks down the estimated costs of the President’s vacations, including the use of Air force One, which costs approximately $180,000 an hour to operate.
On the White House website, Michelle Obama is quoted as saying the White House is, “the ‘People’s House’… a place where everyone should feel welcome.” She said that her and the President made it “their mission to open up the house to as many people as [they] can”.
“Just as Mrs. Obama stated, the White House should be open to the public. It should be a place where everyone feels welcome.” Stewart said. “Through this resolution, I am urging the President to forego a few taxpayer funded vacations, and reopen the White House to the public.”
The full text of The White House Tour Resolution is below, and the PDF version can be found here.
The White House Tour Resolution
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should refrain from any further taxpayer- funded vacations until the White House can be re-opened for public tours.
Whereas the Obama Administration announced on Tuesday March 5, 2013 that it would cancel all White House tours due to sequestration;
Whereas the annual cost to the Secret Service of maintaining the White House open for public tours is approximately $3.7 million;
Whereas the President has taken four trips to Hawaii in the past four years, at an estimated cost to the taxpayers of $4 million each, as well as numerous other vacations at enormous taxpayer expense;
Whereas the President has plans for additional vacations in the coming months;
Whereas the President has the complete discretion to transfer funds in such a way as to keep the White House open for tours;
Whereas, Congress—under similar budgetary pressures—has maintained the Capitol open for public tours.
Resolved, that the President should refrain from any further vacations at the taxpayers’ expense until such sums have been saved that the people’s White House can be re-opened for public tours.