U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14), member of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on President Obama's decision to cancel all White House tours, which are self-guided, starting March 9:
"Rather than do his job and agree to take responsible measures to get our government's finances in order, President Obama continues playing on the emotions and fears of the American people. Canceling all self-guided White House tours is the latest shameless political stunt by the president, who is twisting basic government efficiency into an extreme consequence.
"As the White House doors are slammed in the face of the average American, I want to know if they will still swing wide open for Hollywood and the liberal elite. Will Jay-Z and Beyoncé still get to stop by for a tour, or will they be denied like those who aren't rich and famous? Will someone who donates half a million dollars to Organizing for Action get a tour, or will they be denied just like someone from Summerville, Georgia, who might drive ten hours for a self-guided tour? The American people deserve to know if this also spells the end for wild, 2:00am parties at the White House with celebrities like Katy Perry and Swizz Beatz.
"The facts are these: Secretary Napolitano said the Secret Service will not be impacted by the sequester. Non-defense discretionary spending by the Executive Branch has increased nearly 17 percent since 2008. Meanwhile, our budgets in the U.S. House have been cut by 11 percent over the last two years and cut another 8.2 percent by the sequester. I'm pleased to report that my staff will remain intact, and yes, we will still be happy to provide a tour of the Capitol and a coke for any constituent."