Obama cancels trips to Malaysia, Philippines due to shutdown

President Obama called the leaders of Malaysia and the Philippines Monday night to tell them he would not visit their countries, as planned, due to the government shutdown. 

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Obama told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III he was committed to visiting the Southeast Asian nations later in his term, according to the White House.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement to The Washington Post that it was not possible to go ahead with the trips in the face of a government shutdown, putting the blame on House Republicans.

She said Secretary of State John Kerry would lead delegations to both countries in place of the president. Hayden said the White House had no updates on other planned trips to Indonesia and Brunei, and said they would likely hinge on whether Congress and the president come to an agreement to fund the government.

“For the sake of our national security and economic prosperity, we urge Congress to reopen the government,” she said.

As late as Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney was evasive on whether the president would make the planned trip to Southeast Asia next week.

Carney wouldn't say whether international travel was logistically possible under a shutdown, saying simply the White House was hopeful the impasse would be resolved before then.

"The logistics of that are best addressed to the agencies involved," Carney said.

GOP leadership decided on Tuesday to advance smaller spending resolutions as a way to ease the impact of the government shutdown that started earlier in the day. But Democrats held out against this tactic, and most voted against bills that would have funded the District of Columbia, veterans programs and national parks in order to keep up pressure for a comprehensive spending package.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the piecemeal strategy would allow Republicans to pick and choose which parts of the government to fund, which she compared to a slow release of hostages.

"They took hostages by shutting down the government," Pelosi said. "Now they're releasing one hostage at a time."

— Mario Trujillo, Justin Sink and Pete Kasperowicz contributed to this report, which was updated at 7:22 a.m.