President Barack Obama will shorten his planned trip next week to Asian countries because of the current government shutdown, the White House said Wednesday.
Obama is still scheduled to travel to Indonesia and Brunei for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, but will rescheduled planned stops in Malaysia and the Philippines.
"Logistically, it was not possible to go ahead with these trips in the face of a government shutdown," the White House said in a statement, according to The New York Times. "Because they are on the back end of the president's upcoming trip, our personnel was not yet in place and we were not able to go forward with planning.
"Unlike the APEC and East Asia Summits, these trips can also be rescheduled and President Obama looks forward to visiting Malaysia and the Philippines later in his term."
It's likely both politics and logistics are to blame for the amended schedule, as about 800,000 government employees have been told to stay home due to the shutdown – including White House advance staff who help organize and plan such trips. But it's also likely Obama did not want to seem like he was gallivanting around the globe – on the taxpayer dollar – while Americans were suffering at home.
"We will continue to evaluate those trips based on how events develop throughout the course of the week," said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, according to The Washington Post. She added that Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Malaysia and the Philippines in place of Obama.
The president called the leaders of both countries Tuesday night to inform them of the news, according to the White House.
Obama is scheduled to meet with the Financial Services Forum Wednesday to discuss, according to the White House schedule, "the need for Congress to act to pay its bills and raise the debt ceiling and avoid disastrous impacts on our economy."
Later in the day, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to meet with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in the Oval Office.
The federal government has been shut down since Tuesday after House Republicans and Senate Democrats could not come together on a spending bill to temporarily continue funding the government. Republicans are insisting part of the legislation defund the president's signature domestic policy initiative, the Affordable Care Act. Obama reiterated Tuesday afternoon in a Rose Garden statement he would veto any such measure.