The White House has informed members of Congress that it will resume offering limited tours to their constituents after canceling them earlier this year and blaming the sequester.
“The White House is pleased to announce the resumption of a limited schedule of East Wing and Executive Residence tours, beginning on Nov. 5,” a White House official told CQ Roll Call.
The decision to cancel the tours, blamed on the Secret Service, caused a hue and cry from Republican lawmakers who accused the White House of maximizing the pain of the automatic spending cuts. Lawmakers can procure tickets for the sought-after tours for their visiting constituents and the halt to tours left them with thousands of unhappy constituents.
“My office was notified that the White House is opening back up for limited tours,” tweeted Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md. “Closing it was ridiculous.”
The Secret Service told the Huffington Post that it is confident it can find money in the budget in the new fiscal year to provide tours on a limited schedule. That could change, of course, depending on the level of funding provided after the stopgap funding law expires Jan. 15.
Additionally, the White House will be opening its gardens and grounds to visitors on Oct. 26 and 27 the White House announced.
Members of the public can obtain free, timed tickets for the garden and grounds tours (Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion located at 15th and E Streets on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 7:30 a.m., the White House announced. Tickets will be distributed — one per person (including small children) — on a first-come, first-served basis.
Visitors can see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and South Lawn of the White House, as well as the White House Kitchen Garden.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.