White House tours, victim of sequester, to resume soon

The White House, April 20, 2011.

The White House announced Friday it will soon resume public tours, after having its doors closed to the public for more than seven months.

Limited tours of the East Wing and Executive Residence will resume on Nov. 5, while the White House grounds and gardens will be open to visitors on Oct. 26 and 27. Members of the public interested in touring the White House are advised to contact their representative in Congress.

The U.S. Secret Service decided in March to cancel White House tours in response to the "sequestration" budget cuts.

"Last year's sequestration came midway through the fiscal year, and we were unable to adjust or re-allocate remaining funding to continue tours while still ensuring enough funding remained to meet all operational needs and avoid furloughing our employees," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in a statement.

The government shutdown further stalled the resumption of the White House tours, but now that federal funding is guaranteed through at least Jan. 15, Leary said the tours will resume on a limited basis. Before the sequester, tours were granted five days a week, but the White House will now be open three days a week.

Some members of Congress alerted their constituents of the news via Twitter on Friday.

"My office was notified that the White House is opening back up for limited tours. Closing it was ridiculous," Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said on Twitter.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said on Twitter, "The @WhiteHouse is back open for public tours! Contact my DC office if you're planning a trip and would like a tour "