This year’s fireworks display for Marines at Camp Lejeune has fizzled because of the cost, but the federal government managed to dig up between $60 million and $100 million for President Barack Obama’s weeklong Africa trip, reported the Washington Times
Fireworks at the North Carolina base cost about $100,000, including $25,000 for the fireworks, Fox News reported. Much of the money is spent on overtime pay for support personnel.
Because a 2011 agreement on spending cuts was not achieved, $85 million had to be cut from a wide swath of programs starting this March, the Washington Post reported
. The military, as well as other branches of government, tightened their budgets and were required to have furloughs and pay cuts.
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Fireworks displays were also cancelled at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina and the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga.
Reaction to the Fourth of July celebration cancellations was muted on social media. But the president’s Africa trip produced controversy.
The cost of the African trip was mainly due to security, the Washington Times reported. The trip included visits to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania.
The White House defended the trip, saying it was an important foreign policy step.
“I don’t think it’s in the U.S. interest for the United States to step aside and cede any potential for our country because we don’t want to move forward with presidential travel,” said Ben Rhodes, the president’s deputy national security adviser, according to the Washington Times. “There’s nothing that can make an impact more in terms of our foreign policy and our economic and security interests than the president of the United States coming” to Africa
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Some members of Congress criticized the trip as being too expensive in a time of national cutbacks. Rep. George Holding, a North Carolina Republican, said the cost of the trip was equal to 1,350 weeks of White House tours, the Washington Times reported.
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