(CNN) – After the White House announced it would stop giving tours due to the forced spending cuts, some Republicans gave an alternative proposal: Cancel the golf trips, instead.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is trying to make it illegal for President Barack Obama to use tax dollars for commuting to golf trips. On Tuesday, he submitted an amendment to the continuing resolution that would prohibit the president from using federal funds to travel to or from a golf course until the White House resumes public tours.
The White House Visitor Center will stop the tours effective Saturday, a move meant to cut costs in the wake of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that hit the entire federal government last Friday.
An automated message at the visitor center's hotline informed callers of the news on Tuesday.
"Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration we regret to inform that White House tours will be canceled effective Saturday March 9, 2013 until further notice," the message said. "Unfortunately we will not be able to reschedule affected tours."
Speaking on the House floor Tuesday, Gohmert read a statement from first lady Michelle Obama–which is also posted on the White House's website–about the White House being the "People's House."
"It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome," she said in the statement. "And that's why my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can."
"I'm sure she was not consulted today," Gohmert said, after reading her quote.
Putting the tours back on schedule will only cost "one or two golf trips less" for the president, Gohmert argued.
Obama has long taken heat for his golf outings, and critics are quick to point out that he's played at least 115 times since taking office.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich echoed Gohmert's line of criticism.
Canceling white house tours is childish and dishonest-the golf weekend in florida cost enough to keep the white house open for months— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 05, 2013
Canceling white house tours is childish and dishonest-the golf weekend in florida cost enough to keep the white house open for months
Gingrich argued that "Obama should be challenged" and called on him to publish the cost of White House tours. "This is silly and demeaning," he wrote.
Max Milien, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said officers normally assigned to tours will be reassigned to other security posts at the White House.
"This staffing measure will reduce overtime costs overall and may ultimately reduce the number of potential furloughs necessary by our agency," Milien said.
The Secret Service has been developing a plan to deal with the cuts and maintains that the agency's protective duties will not be affected, according to a Secret Service official.
Public, self-guided tours of the White House's East Wing are generally offered Tuesday through Saturday. Visitors can get tickets from their representative in Congress, and if they're lucky, they may even run into the president or first lady, who've both been known to personally greet visitors on occasion.
As he returned to the White House Tuesday after visiting wounded veterans at a Washington hospital, President Barack Obama did not respond to shouted questions about the tours being canceled.
House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, confirmed that tours at the Capitol will still continue.
"While I’m disappointed the White House has chosen to comply with sequestration by cutting public tours, I’m pleased to assure you that public tours of the United States Capitol will continue," Boehner said in a statement.
– CNN’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
Louie Gohmert as a normal practice of taking petty isues and blowing them way out of proportion. He likes to hear him self talk. Keeps himself on CNN or cspan Gingrich is another loser. Obama could care less what Gohmert Pyle or Gingrich has to say.
The smallest mind in the US House attacks again. And this from one of the craziest Tea Party members of the Krazy Klown Parade. Personally, I think they should discontinue the House's saniation crews as a cost savings as well as close their cafeteria. And the new budgeting head should determine that the House and Senate members are all part-time workers because of their short work weeks (when they are there at all) and thus should not get any benefits (per the Walmart rules)..
I don't think that this is good to cut White House tours, but it is done to demonstrate how much the cuts hurt when they aren't done properly. If you think that golf costs a lot, then all vacations and trips that are part of any member of Congress' schedule should be either cut immediately or paid out of pocket by each member of Congress and pay double for their steff and family members.
@lac - do you know of any comparrison between the vacations of past and current presidents (factors including Secret Service prep time, cost of transportation and everything else)? That might make some interesting reading.
The Republican Party remains insane in their hatred of President Barack Obama. The media's obligatory coverage of such madness insures their madness will continue to poison our bushwhacked democracy
Please CNN, why are we reporting this garbage.....Stop giving the GOP wack jobs air time!!!!!
This was a childish move on the part of the president to be as public as possible and try to prove that all of his campaigning fear was right. B.S.
This is absolutely ridiculous. Louie Gohmert is a knuckledragging moron.
Good job Texas
Oh, God ... can Americans be so stupid?
@lac: They have no shame.