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Obama Shortens Asia Trip Because of Shutdown



The U.S. government shutdown is forcing President Barack Obama to cancel two stops on his upcoming trip to Asia.

On the second day of the shutdown, the White House said Mr. Obama is cutting his planned visits to Malaysia and the Philippines. But VOA White House Correspondent Dan Robinson says the president still plans to make his first two stops, in Indonesia and Brunei, to attend the APEC and East Asia Summits.


"There is a lot at stake for President Obama. As you know he did not go to the APEC summit in 2012. He was represented there by Secretary of State, then Secretary of State Clinton. So it is really important for a U.S. leader, given the whole Asia-pivot on economic and military security, the Asia pivot strategy, to show up at these meetings."

The shutdown went into effect early Tuesday after lawmakers missed a deadline to extend federal funding.

Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted to tie funding the government to a delay or defunding of President Obama's signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

Each attempt was turned back by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which must also agree to budget legislation.

Nearly one-million U.S. federal workers have been laid off and the shutdown is keeping national parks and many federal agencies shuttered.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday indicates 72 percent of American voters oppose the shutdown.



Implementation of the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed "Obamacare," went ahead as scheduled Tuesday. It is intended to provide health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who otherwise cannot afford or qualify for coverage.

Republican opponents of Obamacare say it forces people, including small businesses, to buy expensive insurance policies against their will, hurting the economy.

The government shutdown is not affecting Voice of America broadcasts, but it has closed Smithsonian museums, as well as services such as federal tax offices, help for veterans, and some food aid for the poor.

Most civilian employees at the Pentagon must stay home, although the U.S. military remains on duty. The U.S. space agency, NASA, is almost entirely shut down, and U.S. military cemeteries overseas are closed.

Other federal workers are staying on the job with no guarantee when they will be paid.

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