Boehner: US Capitol still open for tours

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent a letter to his Ohio constituents on Tuesday saying that while tours of the White House have been canceled because of sequestration, tours of the Capitol will continue.

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The letter, released by Boehner's office on Wednesday, follows a White House announcement that tours after March 9 have been canceled due to the across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect late last week. Immediately after the announcement, Republicans strongly criticized the cancellation.

"The White House announced today that White House tours are being canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration," Boehner writes in the letter.

The unpopular spending cuts commonly referred to as sequestration took effect on March 1. Boehner said House officials had been preparing for sequestration cuts and made sure that Capitol Hill tours would continue.

"While I’m disappointed the White House has chosen to comply with sequestration by cutting public tours, I’m pleased to assure you that public tours of the United States Capitol will continue," Boehner said. "Under the leadership of the House officers and their teams, who oversee daily operations in the Capitol in consultation with the Office of the Speaker, planning for the possibility of sequestration has been underway for some time. Consequently, alternative spending reductions have been implemented within the Capitol complex to ensure public tours and other regular activities can proceed as they normally would.

"I encourage you and your family to visit the U.S. Capitol during your trip to Washington, D.C. If you haven’t already made arrangements through my office for a Capitol tour, I encourage you to do so," Boehner concluded in the letter.