Obama’s first presidential trip to South America still set for Friday

President Obama will head to Brazil for Friday for his first trip to South America as president, even as the federal government remains without a long-term funding agreement, unrest continues in the Middle East and Obama is being briefed frequently on the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan.

“The trip is on,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a Tuesday briefing with reporters. “Economic growth in the United States is the president’s top priority and this trip is very focused on economic opportunities for the United States.”

The president repeatedly delayed a trip to India last year to focus on domestic issues, but White House officials said they were very likely to proceed with Obama’s long-planned South America visit.

He will also visit El Salvador and Chile in the week-long trip.

Obama aides said security advisers will join him in South America to brief him on developments around the world, and the president is likely in the next few days to sign a short-term agreement that will keep the government funded for three weeks. The House is expected to take up such a measure today.

“Economic growth in the United States is the president’s top priority and this trip is very focused on economic opportunities for the United States,” Carney said.

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