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Why is Obama returning to Washington?
President Obama won't make any major announcements on immigration reform during his secretive mid-vacation trip back to Washington next week, the White House said Wednesday.
The president is expected to return to the White House on Sunday, but officials won't say why Obama is taking the unusual, and costly, trip back to Washington. He's expected to return to Martha's Vineyard, where he's been vacationing, on Tuesday.
Speculation has circled around whether Obama might make an announcement of executive actions he's taking on immigration reform, or a surprise visit from a foreign leader.
But the White House is "not anticipating a major announcement on immigration when the president is in Washington," spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters traveling with Obama in Massachusetts.
Schultz did say that Obama will be meeting with Vice President Biden while he's back in Washington. And Obama will be without both press secretary Josh Earnest, who is out on paternity leave, and Schultz, Earnest's top deputy, while in the nation's capital.
"Eric Schultz is staying," the spokesman quipped, dipping into the third person.
Adding more mystery to the topic, Schultz said the administration did not "anticipate any major significant news developments out of Washington those few days."
But if the president is only coming back to meet with staff face-to-face, it could invite questions about wasting taxpayer dollars.
According to Air Force documents obtained Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, the roundtrip travel expenses for the president's 2013 vacation to Martha's Vineyard totaled $1,164,268.
A return to Washington merely to meet with staff would also seem to undercut assurances offered by the White House that the president is fully operational, even when vacationing away from the capital.
Asked about partisan criticism of the vacation last Friday, Schultz noted Obama "travels with a wide array of communications equipment, and we also travel with a staff that allows us to have robust operational capabilities."