The Senate has rejected an amendment that would have restored White House tours shuttered by budget cuts, with almost all Republicans voting for the measure and nearly every Democrat voting against.
The 54-45 vote on Wednesday turned down an amendment offered by GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to the continuing resolution needed to fund the government through the fiscal year.
Coburn’s amendment would have shifted $8 million in funding for national heritage areas contained in the National Park Service budget to resume the White House tours and to open federal parks in the West such as Yellowstone, where sequester budget cuts have delayed snow removal.
Democrats said Coburn was staging a sideshow and shifting the funding for heritage areas would have a negative economic impact in the states, The Washington Times reported
Only two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, voted against the measure, while Democrat Max Baucus of Montana and independent Angus King of Maine voted in favor.
The vote came as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a video critical of the White House for canceling the tours.
The video, entitled “No Leadership, No Responsibility, No Tours,” hit President Barack Obama for not being serious about the budget, USA Today reported.
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“It’s telling that the president would rather cancel White House tours during the most popular tourist season than roll up his sleeves and get to work fixing our nation’s spending crisis,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican.
Democrats complained that Republicans were playing politics with the issue and deplored the video as “silly.”
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