Posted by News Express | 2 October 2013 | 2,713 times
President Barack Obama has postponed two stops on his four-nation Asian tour because of the government shutdown.
The White House said it was “logistically... not possible” to go ahead with the trips to Malaysia and the Philippines at the end of his tour.
But he would still be attending regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei, the White House added.
The US government has partially shut down after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a new budget.
More than 700,000 federal employees face unpaid leave, and national parks, museums and many buildings are closed.
Mr Obama on Tuesday vowed not to allow Republicans to undermine his signature healthcare legislation as a condition to restart the US government.
“They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans,” he said at the White House.
“In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.”
The president truncating his Asia trip suggests the shutdown won’t be over soon. All the signs are that neither side is preparing to blink.
But Obama has a strategy – the Republicans have a problem. First they wanted to stop Obamacare, then delay it, then delay part of it. The messy, shifting Republican message won’t get through, except to their hardline base.
But Obama has firmly linked this crisis to a much worse one. The threat not to raise the US debt ceiling is appalling and terrible for the world economy. It is likely Democrats will tie both issues together and insist there is no point reopening the government unless the debt ceiling is sorted.
Being invited to take part in grand negotiations about the whole of the government’s finances could give Republicans a face-saver. For the president, dealing a fatal blow to “government by crisis” would be a big prize.
Mr Obama had been scheduled to begin his four-nation Asian trip on Saturday, heading to Bali for an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit and Brunei for the East Asia summit before travelling on to Malaysia and the Philippines.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden called the cancellation of the trip “another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government.”
“This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to promote US exports and advance U.S. leadership in the largest emerging region in the world,” she said.
The White House said that “logistically, it was not possible to go ahead” with the trips to Malaysia and the Philippines.
“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,” the White House said in a statement.
•Excerpted from a BBC report. Photo shows Obama.
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