WASHINGTON -- House Republicans put out a video Tuesday to remind visitors that, while they may be locked out of the Obama White House because of budget cuts, the doors to the Capitol are still open for tours.
The un-narrated 90-second video posted on YouTube is the latest effort by Republicans to needle the White House for stopping all public tours of that building because of the governmentwide automatic spending cuts that went into effect at the beginning of the month.
The new video, headlined "Welcome to the United States Capitol," shows the Rotunda, Statuary Hall and other sites along the tour route through the Capitol, and ends with the line "this is your House. Tour it."
"It is unfortunate President (Barack) Obama chose to eliminate public tours of the White House" as a result of the budget cuts, said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the House Republican Conference. "But we are proud to keep the doors to the beautiful, historic U.S. Capitol open for all."
Last week House Speaker John Boehner led off a press conference stressing that congressional leaders, through good planning, had managed to avoid furloughs among Capitol workers and ensure that tours would continue. "I think it's disappointing that the Obama administration didn't follow our lead and find savings in other parts of their budget. I think it's silly that they've insisted on locking down the White House, which the American people actually own."
Congress has responded to the automatic budget cuts by closing some doors to House and Senate office buildings and the Capitol and blocking off some side streets around the Capitol.
The White House said the tours were being stopped so uniformed officers normally assigned to the tours could be reassigned to other security posts, saying that would reduce overtime costs and avoid potential furloughs.