President Barack Obama will delay his planned trip to southeast Asia to focus on healthcare.
After the White House had set a deadline of March 18th by which they hoped to see House Democrats begin work on healthcare, the administration said that the president is willing to push back departure of a trip to Indonesia.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed the delay on Twitter:
The President will delay leaving for Indonesia and Australia - will now leave Sunday - the First Lady and the girls will not be on the trip
The move reflects a delay in the timeline to passing healthcare that Gibbs set for House Democrats last Friday. The press secretary, during an appearance on MSNBC, said that the White House hoped the House could move to first pass the Senate's healthcare bill before Obama left on his trip, a deadline which Gibbs had reiterated this week.
House Democrats had chafed at that deadline, though, worrying that the administration might have been rushing things and setting too ambitious of a deadline.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are working on getting the votes together to pass that Senate bill, the first move in what's expected to be a series of steps Democrats will take to finish their health reform efforts.
Cross-posted to the Briefing Room.