Two weeks ago, the president announced he would be cancelling all White House tours to the public. He blamed the cancellations on "sequestration', but as I wrote about two weeks ago, the savings amounted to about 0.65% of the savings required for the Secret Service under sequestration -- or about $550,000 total.
Shortly after the announcement came, I got a phone call from two elementary schools in my district -- Temple Elementary and Providence Elementary in northern Carroll County. The two schools had fundraised for a year in order to send some students to their nation's capitol to see the sights. And after all their hard work and planning, President Obama cancelled their White House tour.
Although I knew there was nothing that could be done to get them their White House tour back, I wanted to do something nice for them to help make up for losing it. The students already had a Capitol tour on the books, but I rearranged my schedule a bit so I could meet the kids and their chaperones on the steps of the US Capitol Building for a photo and some questions and then arranged for them to visit the House Gallery -- an area for visitors to watch the House floor.
I want to thank the parents and teachers from Temple and Providence Elementary Schools, especially Dr. Terie Philips who helped my office arrange this. They braved the cold weather for our photo and I really enjoyed meeting them!
I also want to encourage everyone who is as outraged as I am that these students -- and other people, veterans, and students from across the country -- have had their White House tours cancelled, to contact the White House and complain.