Donald Trump joined the chorus of Republicans complaining about the end of White House tours after the massive budget cuts known as sequestration, and he was inspired by none other than Newt Gingrich.
Donald trump should offer to pay for the white house tours. He can afford it and it would show who cares more for American students
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 8, 2013
“It sounds reasonable to me. Why not?” Trump responded when asked about the idea on Fox & Friends. “It’s always been open and it’s certainly not a lot of money.”
The $74,000 it costs to keep the White House tour program running for a week may not seem like a lot of money to someone like Trump, but it would pay for 2,242 food stamp benefits for one week.
While Republicans like the Donald are busy worrying about who’s visiting the Blue room of the White House, the budget cuts are about to start hitting Americans in significant ways.
For families: As many as 750,000 mothers, infants, and toddlers could lose support from the WIC nutrition program, another 70,000 low-income children may lose access to Head Start, and more than 100,000 families will lose housing assistance.
For the military: The Army and Marines have decided they cannot take new applications for a tuition assistance program that helps active duty service members pay for college.
For government employees: Customs and Border protection has already issued 24,000 furlough notices nationwide.
But Republicans are focused on the White House tours. Before Trump joined the cause, Republican lawmakers like Speaker Boehner were already complaining.
“It’s just another stunning example of the callous indifference of Republicans to the result and impact of these sequester cuts,” Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on Monday’s PoliticsNation, complaining about Republicans “grousing the loudest” about constituents not being able to visit the White House.
She’s far more concerned with the impact in her own district, where air traffic controllers received letters Monday announcing that they’ll be furloughed for 11 days.
Thanks to budget cuts hitting the Border and Customs patrol, Miami International Airport saw its customs wait times triple.
She calls talk of the White House tours at a time like this, “insensitive, insulting, and completely unnecessary.”
The DNC Chairwoman insists Democrats are willing to sit down at the table and “hammer out” a deal. “We know it’s not going to be all our way. We need to take the sequester,” she said. “And replace it with targeted responsible spending cuts, balance it with closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and apply that to deficit reduction.”
“We need to reach past the paralyzed Republican leadership who really are just more beholden to holding onto their own power than they are to actually working with President Obama to get this done,” she said. “Hopefully we’re going to be able to build our relationships and close the trust deficit a little bit more between Republicans and Democrats and try to reach a compromise.”
Can that compromise really be achieved? Wasserman-Schultz says yes. “We can reach compromise. It is still possible,” she added. “We are very polarized but to continue to allow these cuts to hurt people is irresponsible.”