President Obama, Asia, trip
President Obama has shortened a trip to Asia because of the government shutdown, telling the leaders of Malaysia and the Philippines he will not be traveling to those countries.
Obama is still scheduled to leave Saturday night for a pair of Asian economic summits in Indonesia and Brunei — at least for now.
"We will continue to evaluate those trips based on how events develop throughout the course of the week," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council. "For the sake of our national security and economic prosperity, we urge Congress to reopen the government."
The White House announced early Wednesday that Obama called Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to discuss the shutdown.
"The president reaffirmed the close partnership that he has forged with Malaysia and respect for Prime Minister Najib's leadership, and committed to travel to Malaysia later in his term," said a White House statement.
Obama delivered a similar message to Aquino.
Secretary of State John Kerry will lead delegations to both countries in place of the president.
Parts of the U.S. government shut down at midnight Monday after the Republican-run House and the Democratic-led Senate failed to agree on a new spending plan.
The GOP House approved a short-term budget that would have delayed parts of Obama's health care law; Obama and the Democrats said that condition is unacceptable.
Hayden said the shutdown affected planning for the Malaysia and Philippines stops, which were supposed to have been at the end of the president's trip.
"The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government," Hayden said. "This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to promote U.S. exports and advance U.S. leadership in the largest emerging region in the world."
She added that "a faction of House Republicans are doing whatever they can to deny America from carrying out our exceptional role in the world."
Obama canceled two trips to Asia in 2010, one because of of votes on the health care law and the other because of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.