TODAY   |  June 15, 2013

Obama Africa visit could cost $60M

The president's travels are coming under increased scrutiny these days in part because of the deep government spending cuts that went into effect several months ago. Add to that, the first family’s upcoming trip to Africa could be the most expensive this president has ever taken. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> well, presidential troops overseas are always expensive and president obama 's excursion to africa later this month is no exception. but this one could come with an especially high price tag and it's raising some eyebrows. kristen welker is at the white house with more. good morning.

>> reporter: tom, good morning to you. well, all of the president's travels are coming under increased scrutiny right now because of the sequester. those deep across-the-board spending cuts. add to that this trip to africa could be the most expensive this president has ever taken.

>> all righty.

>> reporter: as president obama prepares to make his first extended trip to africa , the washington post is reporting that the diplomatic jaunt could cost between $60 million to $100 million to taxpayers. this is sort of the perfect storm of potential costs and infrastructure needs.

>> reporter: during the eight- day trip the entire first family will make stops in senegal, south africa , and tanzania, and on their security detail according to a planning document obtained by the post hundreds of u.s. secret service agents, 56 support vehicles including 14 limos, mulltiple pieces of bullet proof glass to cover windows of the hotels, fighter jets to protect the president's air space and a floating hospital.

>> they may have to use the aircraft carrier to have a floating hospital just in case something happens to the president.

>> provisions that may sound extreme but u.s. officials say they are necessary given that africa does not have a modernized infrastructure.

>> you don't determine the costs of the president's security. just as president bush didn't, president clinton didn't. the secret service is going to do what they think is necessary to protect the president.

>> reporter: the secret service won't comment on specific costs but said in a statement we always provide the appropriate level of protection to create a secure environment for our protectees and that level is consistent across all trips. it is not unusual for first families to travel to africa . george bush visited the region twice with his entire family as president and clinton went in 1998 costing taxpayers more than $40 million not including expenses incurred by the secret service .

>> it is very costly, but there is no other way for the president to travel especially to countries like the ones he is going to be going to.

>> reporter: now, in some instances the first lady will require her own security detail as she headlines some of her own events including a woman's leadership summit that will be hosted by former first lady laura bush who will be in africa for that event. tom?

>> kristen welker, thank you so