Post-shutdown, White House to resume public tours

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The Obama administration said Friday it will resume a “limited schedule” of public tours of the White House in November, after shutting out the public for months, ostensibly due to budget cuts.

The White House said it was “pleased” to announce the resumption of tours of the residence starting Nov. 5, and the opening of its gardens the weekend of Oct. 26-27.


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“Members of the public interested in scheduling a tour of the East Wing and Executive Residence should contact their member of Congress,” the statement said.

The administration ended public tours of the White House in March, saying the “sequester” budget cuts forced it to redeploy Secret Service agents for other functions instead of monitoring the tours. Some lawmakers said the move was spiteful, due to the president’s displeasure with Congress over failing to reach a more comprehensive budget agreement.

Tour tickets are a much sought-after item in congressional offices.

With the sequester cuts still in place, White House officials didn’t say why they are reopening the residence for tours. Mr. Obama just reached a deal with Congress on Wednesday to reopen the government after a 16-day shutdown.

For a tour of the gardens and grounds on Oct. 26-27, members of the public can obtain a free, timed tickets at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion at 15th and E Streets on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 7:30 a.m. Tickets will be distributed — one ticket 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. Additionally, first lady Michelle Obama’s White House Kitchen Garden will be accessible to guests.

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