The White House announced Tuesday that all tours of the building have been canceled because of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, which took effect on Friday.
“Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice,” The White House visitor’s office announced in an email Tuesday afternoon. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours.”
“We very much regret having to take this action, particularly during the popular Spring touring season,” the email added. (RELATED: Bob Woodward claims President Barack Obama lied repeatedly about sequester trigger)
Federal agencies facing budget cuts have a long-standing habit of suspending their most visible and popular activities in an effort to gin up public outrage, a strategy that Washington journalist Charles Peters nicknamed the “Firemen First Principle” in 1976.
In one famous example of the strategy, the National Parks Service director closed all the nation’s national parks, including the Grand Canyon and the Washington Monument, for two days a week after President Nixon cut the agency’s budget. The ploy worked, and Congress quickly restored funding amid public outcry.