Wednesday morning, the White House announced that President Obama had cancelled plans to visit Malaysia and the Philippines next week because of the government shutdown. Obama is, for now, still planning to visit to Brunei and Indonesia, where he will attend the APEC summit and and the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Malaysia and the Philippines in Obama's place.
From the White House's statement on the trip:
“Due to the government shut-down, President Obama’s travel to Malaysia and the Philippines has been postponed. Logistically, it was not possible to go ahead with these trips in the face of a government shut-down. Because they are on the back end of the President’s upcoming trip, our personnel was not yet in place and we were not able to go forward with planning. Unlike the APEC and East Asia Summits, these trips can also be rescheduled, and President Obama looks forward to visiting Malaysia and the Philippines later in his term.”
This is the second time Obama has cancelled or delayed trips abroad due to legislative problems at home; in March 2010, in the midst of the battle to pass his health care program, Obama postponed a trip to Indonesia and Australia. The president postponed that trip a second time later that year to deal with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama has been critical of the House-led efforts to derail Obamacare through a government shutdown, telling the House GOP he won't give into “reckless demands” and comparing the shutdown to an attempt to extract ransom. And last night, the White House shot down the Republican's plan to fund only part of the federal government, including national parks, veteran benefits, the D.C. government, and – apparently at Senator Ted Cruz's request — the Border Patrol.
“These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government,” presidential spokeswoman Amy Brundage said. “If House Republicans are legitimately concerned about the impacts of a shutdown — which extend across government from our small businesses to women, children and seniors — they should do their job and pass a clean [spending bill] to reopen the government.”
[Image via AP]