US President Barack Obama has cancelled his trip to Asia next week because of the government shutdown.
Mr Obama had already shortened the trip from four countries to two. The White House announced earlier in the week that Mr Obama would be unable to visit Malaysia and the Philippines because the partial shutdown of the federal government was impacting personnel needed to set up the stops.
The White House had held out hope that the president could attend to economic summits in Indonesia and Brunei. But he decided to skip the entire trip to stay in Washington to continue pressing for a budget bill that would reopen the government.
The statement was sharply critical of Republicans, blaming them for the trip’s cancellation.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Mr Obama had been due to depart Washington late on Saturday night.
Instead, the White House said he looks forward to working with Asian allies and returning to the region at a later date. It is the third time domestic issues have forced Mr Obama to cancel trips to Asia.
Secretary of State John Kerry, already on a trip to Asia, is visiting all four countries in place of the president.
The White House said Mr Obama phoned the Sultan of Brunei and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday night to express his regret.
Cancelling the trip was a direct result of the budget feud that has enveloped Washington. Republicans who control the House of Representatives have blocked a vote on legislation to fund the government because they want to gut Mr Obama’s signature healthcare law, which came into effect on Oct. 1!!