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Should President Obama give up golf during 'sequester'? (+video)

The (failed) GOP bid to strip funds for presidential golf trips was just one move in an escalating struggle over Obama's 'sequester' strategy, such as axing popular White House tours.

By Staff writer / March 6, 2013

The White House is seen through a chain-link fence where the inaugural reviewing stand once stood in Washington. The Obama administration is canceling tours of the White House beginning March 9, citing staffing reductions prompted by automatic budget cuts that began to take effect last Friday.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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Should President Obama give up golf for the duration of the "sequester"? That’s what some irritated conservative GOP lawmakers believe. They’re not mad at presidential sports per se as much as annoyed at what they consider to be Mr. Obama’s grandstanding on spending cuts mandated by sequestration. In particular, they’re peeved that the administration, with blaring trumpets, has announced that public tours of the White House have been cancelled pending further notice.

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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So on Tuesday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) of Texas offered an amendment to the omnibus spending bill that the House is currently considering. None of the money authorized by this continuing resolution “may be used to transport the President to or from a golf course until public tours of the White House resume,” read Representative Gohmert’s amendment.

In a Tuesday floor speech, Gohmert said he hoped this prodding would make the White House rethink tour cancellations. The Texas lawmaker noted that spring break is coming up and tourists of all political persuasions have already made plans for tours of D.C.

“They’ll get their tour of the White House, and all it will cost is one or two golf trips less,” said Gohmert.

Nope. This isn’t happening. House Republican leaders ruled the amendment not relevant to the spending bill, and blocked it from getting a vote on the chamber floor.

But we think Gohmert’s effort was nevertheless indicative. For one thing, it shows that the conservative wing of the GOP remains unhappy with their leadership’s approach to the sequester standoff.

They want more confrontation with the White House, not less. In particular, they want to use the continuing resolution as a club to try to force through even deeper spending reductions, such as cutting money for implementation of some aspects of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare."

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