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White House halts tours for budget cuts

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(CNN) — Visitors to Washington D.C. hoping to take a tour of the White House will soon be out of luck. The White House Visitor Center has canceled all tours effective Saturday March 9, a move meant to cut costs in the wake of forced spending cuts that hit the entire federal government last Friday.

An automated message at the visitor center’s hotline informed callers of the news on Tuesday.

“Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration we regret to inform that White House tours will be canceled effective Saturday March 9, 2013 until further notice,” the message said. “Unfortunately we will not be able to reschedule affected tours.”

Public, self-guided tours of the White House’s East Wing are generally offered Tuesday through Saturday. Visitors can get tickets from their representative in Congress, and if they’re lucky, they may even run into the president or first lady, who’ve both been known to personally greet visitors on occasion.

As he returned to the White House Tuesday after visiting wounded veterans at a Washington hospital, President Barack Obama did not respond to shouted questions about the tours being canceled.

Hoping to reverse the decision, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, submitted an amendment to the continuing resolution that would prohibit the president from using federal funds to transport to or from a golf course until the White House resumes public tours.