President Barack Obama’s trip to Africa is estimated to cost American taxpayers $100 million – a hefty travel expense that has sparked criticism as the federal government is dealing with its sequester-related budget cuts.
The president is traveling to sub-Sahara Africa with his family from June 26 to July 3. The Obamas will be accompanied by hundreds of Secret Service agents and staff, which stack up transportation and accommodation costs. Military cargo planes will bring 56 vehicles including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the Obamas will stay. Fighter jets will fly in the air space above the first family to provide round the clock protection.
“For the cost of this trip to Africa, you could have 1,350 weeks of White House tours,” Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) said on the House floor last week. “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.”
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“I don’t think it’s in the U.S. interest for the United States to step aside and cede any potential for our country because we don’t want to move forward with presidential travel,” said Ben Rhodes, the president’s deputy national security adviser, in a conference call with reporters on Friday. “There’s nothing that can make an impact more in terms of our foreign policy and our economic and security interests than the president of the United States coming” to Africa.