By Al Kamen
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The sequester seems to be taking its toll.
As we noted Monday, the Air Force has announced that it’s halting flyovers at football games and air shows, at least through the end of the fiscal year in September. The Thunderbirds, the aerial demonstration team known for its dizzying tricks, will be grounded, too.
Now we find that the country’s great military bands are taking a hit.
The famed U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” canceled its anniversary concert last weekend at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda, Md. and is preparing to cancel other concerts as a result of federal budget uncertainties.
Strathmore, with 2,000 seats, “was going to cost $35,000 in rental and related costs,” said Col. Thomas Palmatier, the band’s leader and commander. So the band canceled, citing “limitations on government funds” on its website, and instead scheduled four concerts at the 350-seat hall at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. (All the band’s concerts are free to the public.)
Most other performances in the Washington area, either outdoors at the Capitol or on the National Mall or wherever the venue is free, will continue, Palmatier said, and additional concerts — at places such as the World War II Memorial — will be added.
All the military bands in the country and around the world are “in the same boat,” Palmatier said. “We are all looking at reality” and “trying to make lemonade out of lemons,” cutting travel costs and such, he said. “They are all doing the same thing.”
“We’re doing everything we can to find every possible way to continue to provide service to Americans,” he added, including webcasting concerts. Cutting hall rentals, some travel and other expenses would yield about $100,000 in savings, he said.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, along with many National Guard units, maintain 148 bands, with an estimated total cost of about $388 million a year.
With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.
Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries
BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.
In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites
WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.
Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.
Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.
Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship
These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.
If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.
Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation
WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.
Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax
WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.
Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay
WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.
- More Politics Headlines
- With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks