(WASHINGTON) — An annual tradition that has helped bolster comity between both ends of Pennsylvania Ave won’t be happening this year.
The White House has cancelled the 2013 summer picnic for members of Congress, after postponing it once already because of President Obama’s hectic schedule.
“Decisions had to be made about holding it when we thought that there was going to be an enormous amount of activity on Syria,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. “What we are doing is offering a change in the way that the holiday parties are constructed so that members of Congress can bring their families to those parties.”
Formal notice went out to members last week. The picnic was to be held this month after the original date in June was scrapped.
The full cancellation of the event is, at the least, a symbol of strained ties between the Obama White House and Congress.
“We have sometimes contentious, sometimes very effective relations with Congress,” Carney said Thursday.
“We work with Congress to get the business of the American people done, and whether it’s shutting down the government or, you know, engaging in ideological battles like threatening to default over defunding ‘Obamacare,’ you know, these are not constructive approaches to getting the business of the American people done, but we keep at it,” he said.
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