White House rolls back its welcome carpet for tourists
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You are not welcome to tour the White House anymore!
US President Barack Obama's administration announced yesterday that all public tours of the White House will be cancelled after Friday because of budget cuts hitting all areas of the federal government.
The cancellation likely will disappoint thousands of tourists who had planned to take a tour while visiting Washington.
Tickets for the free, self-guided tours are distributed through congressional offices.
The tickets normally are scooped up between three weeks and six months in advance.
People holding tickets affected by the cancellation won't get an automatic rain check, according to an e-mail sent by the White House yesterday.
"Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours," the message was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying.
The tours are being cancelled because the White House took a USD 1 million hit to its budget, under the sweeping spending reductions imposed across government last Friday night.
Those reductions were mandated under a 2011 deal between President Obama and Republicans in Congress.
They were meant to be so painful, that they would force the two sides to reach an agreement on other ways to reduce the deficit.
But that compromise never emerged and on Friday USD 85 billion in spending reductions took effect.
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