US shutdown enters 4th day, Obama cancels Asia trip
Washington: President Barack Obama on Friday cancelled his trip to Asia to attend two key summits due to the US government shutdown that entered its fourth day even as efforts to break the political standoff between Republicans and Democrats over the budget failed to make any headway.
Obama had already shortened the trip from four countries to two after the US government partially shut down as the two houses of Congress failed to agree on a new budget.
"Due to the government shut-down, President Obama's travel to Indonesia and Brunei has been cancelled. The President made this decision based on the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown, and his determination to continue pressing his case that Republicans should immediately allow a vote to reopen the government," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
Obama was scheduled to depart for Indonesia for Asia Pacific Economic Conference tomorrow and then head to Brunei for the East Asia Summit.
"The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government," 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," he said.
Republican efforts to resolve the fiscal standoff that has closed much of the federal government heated up on the fourth day of the shutdown, with new talks over a broad budget deal and an effort by more moderate House members to break the logjam.
Tempers have flared and pressure appears to be mounting to resolve a stalemate that has shut large parts of the government, sidelined 800,000 federal workers and forced more than one million more to work without pay.
Republicans supported by Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Marco Rubio, refused to fund the federal government unless accompanied with a delay in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as "Obamacare", resulting in a government shutdown.
Senator Cruz and other Republicans believe Obama's signature domestic policy achievement is so bad for America that it is worth disrupting government funding to undercut it.