The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

March 7, 2013

Rep. Kelly calls canceling of tours ‘Obama drama’

By Herald staff

WESTERN PA — The White House announced Tuesday it was canceling tours of the executive mansion because of budget cuts, a move that Mercer County’s congressman called more “Obama drama.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly on Wednesday highlighted the move, saying that his D.C. office is “more than happy” to offer public tours of the Capitol.

Tickets to the free White House tours are available through Congressional offices. Kelly spokesman Tom Qualtre said Wednesday that the Butler Republican’s office arranges about 200 a year for groups as small as 5 and as large as 100.

One tour planned for next week by 62 people from the Mars Area School District has been canceled, Qualtere said.

He didn’t know what the impact would be on the other 62 tours organized by Kelly’s office that were pending before the sequester took effect last week.

The White House said the move will allow the Secret Service to reassign the Uniformed Division Officers assigned to the public tours to other security posts and reduce overtime and potential furloughs.

During an interview Tuesday on Fox News, Kelly said the $85 billion across-the-board cuts that went into effect last week are the result of a failure of presidential leadership and criticized Obama for highlighting the potential impact of the cuts.

“This is the Obama drama. Every day, every week, there’s something new,” Kelly told the Fox & Friends hosts.

Kelly voted for the legislation authorizing the cuts in 2011. Last year he voted twice for bills that would have reduced the cuts to defense spending but that legislation was never taken up by the Senate.