Obama call off Asia trip as shutdown enters 4th day

Washington, October 4: US President Barack Obama has cancelled a trip to Asia this weekend as the ongoing government shutdown entered its fourth day on Friday.

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 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 and then head to Brunei for the East Asia Summit.

The White House announced earlier this week that Obama was cancelling visits to Malaysia and the Philippines that were scheduled to take place after the summits, because of the shutdown.

Instead of Obama, the American delegation would now be represented in multilateral meetings in Indonesia and Brunei by Secretary of State John Kerry, the White House said.

Carney said the cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government.

"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.

"The President looks forward to continuing his work with our allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific and to returning to the region at a later date," Carney said.

Obama also called the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"He expressed his regret that the ongoing government shutdown in the United States will prevent him from attending the Summit," the White House said.

Earlier in the day, Carney told reporters that if the Speaker of the House allows a vote and allows the majority to speak, the government will reopen right away.

Earlier, Obama made a passionate plea for reopening the government, asserting that this would mean a growing economy and new jobs.

"The problem we've got is that there's one faction of one party, in one half of one branch of government that so far has refused to allow that yes-or-no vote unless they get some massive partisan concessions in exchange for doing what theyre supposed to be doing anyway, in exchange for doing what everybody else agrees is necessary," he said. 

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