Tags: US | Obama | Asia | Trip

Obama Postpones Asia Trip to Focus on Health Reform

Thursday, 18 Mar 2010 02:38 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
President Barack Obama has postponed his trip to Asia until June so he can stay in Washington for a possible Sunday vote on his healthcare overhaul plan.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday the president is disappointed and regrets having to delay his visits to Indonesia and Australia but has told the leaders of those nations that healthcare is a crucial priority.

"The president believes right now the place for him to be is in Washington seeing this through," Gibbs said.

Obama had already delayed the trip to Indonesia and Australia, pushing back a Thursday departure until Sunday so he could help Democrats on Capitol Hill rally last-minute votes for the plan.

Gibbs said that while White House staff had tried to find a way to push the trip back another few days, the president decided Thursday morning that the best course of action was to reschedule both stops until June.

"We didn't have that kind of padding left," Gibbs said.

House Democrats believe they are on track to vote Sunday on a $940 billion healthcare bill that will expand coverage to millions. If the bill passes, the Senate will begin considering changes to the bill next week.

Democratic lawmakers in both houses of Congress welcomed the president's decision to stay in town.

Said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "He wants to be here for the history."

"He may have to twist some arms," said Senate Finance Committee
Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. "He may have to talk to some people. His personal presence helps."

The president's trip had originally been scheduled to coincide with his daughters' spring break from school.

After the first delay, the White House announced that the president's family would no longer accompany him overseas, and the president's trip would be cut down by a day as aides sought to tamp down criticism that he was taking a family vacation as the healthcare debate reached its crucial final stages.

The trip to Indonesia was to be a homecoming of sorts for the president, who spent four years in the world's largest Muslim country as a boy when his mother married an Indonesian man. A statue of Obama as a 10-year-old boy has been erected at the elementary school he attended.

Obama also had been scheduled to deliver his first address to the Muslim world since his historic speech in Cairo last year, and meet with Indonesian President Susilio Bambang Yudhuyono.

Obama was to address Australia's parliament and meet with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, with whom he shares a close relationship on the issues of climate change and the war in Afghanistan.

Other U.S. officials have dropped plans to visit Australia and Indonesia this year.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled visits to both Australia and Indonesia in January, so that he could remain in Washington for coordination of the U.S. military response to the earthquake in Haiti. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton canceled a trip to Australia at the same time, also because of the earthquake.

Gates and Clinton had planned to attend an annual summit with their Australian counterparts that is a diplomatic priority for Australia, a close ally and a steadfast troop contributor to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time of the cancellations, Gates and Clinton said the Australia summit would be rescheduled.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Mali's Islamists Withdraw Cease-Fire Pledge

Friday, 04 Jan 2013 13:06 PM

Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in the Hamas stronghold of Gaza on Friday for the first time since they we . . .

Fmr. CIA Director Hayden: Iran Nuclear Crisis Gets 'Scarier'

Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012 18:11 PM

 . . .

Join Fmr. CIA Director for Special Iran Briefing, Assess the Danger

Friday, 13 Jul 2012 12:27 PM

 . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved