President Barack Obama is cancelling a trip to Asia to stay in Washington and push for an elusive funding bill to get the federal government back up and running after four days of a shutdown,with no end in sight.
The White House,in a statement late Thursday,blamed Republicans,saying the completely avoidable government shutdown was hurting the presidents efforts to promote trade and US influence in emerging world markets. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Bali,Indonesia,Friday and will head the US delegation to the summits.
Obamas decision to skip the summits in Indonesia and Brunei was an indication of how entrenched the stand-off appeared to be as it entered its fourth day. Funding for much of the government has been cut off since Tuesday,when a Republican effort to thwart President Barack Obamas new health care law stalled a normally routine spending bill that would have kept the government going.
Obama had been set to leave Saturday night for the Pacific island getaway of Bali for a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. It originally was scheduled as one of four Asian stops,and the White House announced earlier in the week that the final legs of Malaysia and the Philippines were being cut because of staffing problems due to the shutdown.
The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government, White House press secretary Jay Carney said. This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to create jobs through promotion of US exports and advance US leadership and interests in the largest emerging region in the world.
On Friday,the Republican-controlled House of Representatives planned a vote to fund a popular programme providing food aid to pregnant women and their children,as well as ongoing disaster relief. The White House and Democratic allies in Congress reject the strategy of passing piecemeal efforts to finance essential and popular programmes and want a vote on a straightforward measure to fund the entire government through mid-November or mid-December.