ABC reports tonight: “Republicans accuse the White House of playing politics. But the White House says it is canceling the tours because sequester spending cuts have sliced $84 million out of the Secret Service’s $1.6 billion budget. And they are the ones who secure the tours. They wouldn’t say how much this saves, so we did some math. Tours are open 20 hours a week and use 30 uniformed Secret Service officers at about $30 an hour. Total saved? Approximately $18,000 a week.” (Via The Weekly Standard.)
Assuming ABC’s per-week estimate is correct, if you’re looking over an entire fiscal year, cancelling the tours saves about $1 million — or two-thirds of a thousandth (.0625 percent) of the entire Secret Service’s annual budget, and leaves about 98.5 percent of the cuts to the agency’s budget to fall elsewhere. If those cuts have to occur within FY 2013, though, as the sequester appears to mandate, that’s actually only about $550,000, one-third of thousandth (or about .03 percent) of the Service’s budget, and leaving 99.35 percent of the budget cuts still to be made elsewhere.
As Katrina explained earlier this morning, House speaker John Boehner has made it clear that they’d found enough money in the Capitol’s budget to keep providing tours of America’s legislative chambers.