WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama decided to stay home from economic summits in Asia as Democrats stepped up pressure on congressional Republicans to rein in their Tea Party faction and reopen the government with no strings attached.
The White House called the partial government shutdown that entered its fourth day Friday "completely avoidable" and complained the shutdown was interfering with the president's efforts to promote trade and U.S. influence in emerging world markets.
Democrats pointed to disagreements within the Republican Party, where reluctant congressional leaders were prodded into a showdown over government funding and Obama's health-care law by rowdier conservatives, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
To get the government up and running again, "it will take some coming together on the Republican side," said the House's lead Democrat, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California.
"It's very hard to negotiate with the Republicans when they can't negotiate with themselves," Pelosi told MSNBC on Friday.
Obama criticized House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for not bringing up a vote to finance the full reopening of the government without conditions.
"Speaker John Boehner won't even let the bill get a yes-or-no vote, because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party. That's all. That's what this whole thing is about," Obama said Thursday at a campaign-style event at a Rockville, Md., construction company.
Boehner and other Republicans put the blame on Obama. They say he should recognize the flaws of "Obamacare" and negotiate solutions as part of a deal to end the shutdown that forced the furlough of some 800,000 workers, more than a third of federal civilian employees.