First lady Michelle Obama and first daughters Sasha and Malia are headed to Honolulu on Friday for a 17-day vacation — without the president.
At least for now.
With the White House and Congress embroiled in a standoff over a spending bill and payroll tax cut proposal that could lead to a government shutdown Saturday, Obama appears ready to make good on his promise to stay in Washington until the issues are resolved.
The White House announced Wednesday that the rest of the first family would leave Washington Friday evening after delivering toys and gifts to the Marines Corps’ Toys for Tots program. As of now, the president will not be on the plane with them, unless an agreement is reached in the next 36 hours.
The Obama administration is pushing Congress to approve a short-term funding bill to keep government in business until a longer-term spending resolution can be worked out.
In both of his first two years in office, Obama briefly delayed his vacation to remain in Washington while Congress completed its business.
In 2009, Obama waited an extra day to be sure Congress approved his landmark health-care legislation. Last year, Obama joined his family five days late as he shepherded two legislative bills through Capitol Hill, extending tax cuts and repealing a military ban on openly gay service members.
In some ways, perhaps it would be good for the president if he doesn’t head West quite as early as planned. As is always the case with presidential vacations, Obama already is being attacked by opponents for planning to take a 17-day holiday.