WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, Utah Rep. Chris Stewart introduced the White House Tour Resolution, asking President Obama to refrain from taking more vacations at the expense of taxpayers until he reopens the White Hours for public tours.
The United States Secret Service has estimated that it costs approximately $3.7 million annually to keep the White House open for tours, while each vacation taken by President Obama and his family costs approximately $4 million. An article published in November 2012 in the Hawaii Reporter breaks down the estimated costs of the Obama family’s vacations, including the use of Air Force One, which costs approximately $180,000 an hour to operate.
“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.”
On the White House website, Michelle Obama is quoted as saying that the White House is “the ‘People’s House’ … a place where everyone should feel welcome.” She said that her and President Obama made it “their mission to open up the house to as many people as (they) can.”
“Just as Michelle 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 forgo a few taxpayer-funded vacations, and reopen the White House to the public.”
The complete text of the White House Tour Resolution can be found here.
Submitted by: The Office of Rep. Chris Stewart