The Downstream Project
Writer opposes Washington trip
According to The Washington Post, based on a confidential planning document, President Obama’s trip to Africa, with the first family in tow, is projected to cost taxpayers as much as $100 million. The trip, planned for June 26 through July 3, is sparking criticism as the federal government scrimps along during sequester-related budget cuts.
Some of the items on the list include fighter jets; hundreds of Secret Service agents; a Navy ship with a full trauma center; and military cargo planes to bring 56 vehicles including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet-proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay.
The trip comes as agencies across the federal government try to find cost-saving measures to deal with the massive, across-the-board budget cuts known as sequester. The Secret Service, for example, pushed to cancel public White House tours to save thousands in weekly overtime expenses.
Rep. George Holding pointed out that “for the cost of this trip to Africa, you could have 1,350 weeks of White House tours.” The North Carolina Republican went on to say that “it is no secret that we need to rein in government spending, and the Obama administration has regularly and repeatedly shown a lack of judgment for when and where to make cuts. The American people have had enough of the frivolous and careless spending.”
The White House had defended the trip cost saying the Secret Service plan determines the security cost and that first family’s trip will result in long-term goodwill.
Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes also defended the trip telling the Post “when you travel to regions like Africa that don’t get a lot of presidential attention, you tend to have very long-standing and long-running impact from the visit.”