by Jim Grawe
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
9:38 PM CST, March 7, 2013
A decision to end White House tours has forced some people to change their vacation plans.
The White House announced Wednesday it's ending the tours due to forced budget cuts. The news comes as some Kansans prepare to visit the nation's capital for spring break.
Jameson O'Connor, local student, said his vacation plans are now ruined.
"At first was shocked," he said. "I thought it would be a for sure thing because it's the White House. It's the people's house. I thought we're going to get in."
He is one of the members of the Kansas Federation of Teenage Republicans that was looking forward to an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.
Jessie Schoech, student, said visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was at the top of her list.
"It was very disappointing," she said. "That's the landmark of Washington, D.C., and everyone wants to go inside."
The Obama administration said eliminating public White House tours would save $18,000 on security measures per week. It's blamed on forced spending cuts due to the federal budget impasse.
Pat Roberts, U.S. Senator, agreed the news is disappointing.
"How does telling a Kansas high school group they can't visit their White House, this isn't the president's White House," he said.
"It's just the fact you could walk through the same halls as Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln," O'Connor said.
Dalton Glasscock, student said the president could have eliminated other things in his budget.
"It's just the president trying to be petty," he said.
Critics of the new policy say the White House spends tens of thousands of dollars on parties and Christmas decorations every year.
But the secret service says reassigning officers, who normally conduct White House tours, will reduce over-time costs and may reduce furloughs.
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