Deficit Hawks Suggest Smithsonian Admission Fees – Again

Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de Tijuana

Leaders of President Barack Obama's deficit reduction commission are recommending the Smithsonian Institution museums get less money from Congress and begin charging admission fees instead.

The proposal Wednesday by the bipartisan commission leaders suggests Smithsonian funding be cut by $225 million. It says the difference could be made up by charging about $7.50 per visitor in admission fees.

The same section suggests $75 million in cuts to the National Park Service and suggests a slight increase in visitor fees.

Smithsonian museums have been free since 1846. Proposals to charge admission come up periodically but don't go far.

In 2008, California Rep. Xavier Becerra, who serves on the Smithsonian board, promised to "fight tooth and nail" against ever charging admission.

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