John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) attends the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 5, 2013. Photo by AFP
Text size
related tags

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is urging Congress to think long and hard about the message U.S. sends the world when "we can't get our own act together."

Kerry vowed that the United States would continue to fulfill its responsibilities during the partial shutdown that has crippled large parts of the federal government and locked thousands of govern employees out of their offices.

"To all of our friends and foes around the world: Do not mistake this momentary episode in American politics for anything less than a moment of politics or anything more than a moment of politics," Kerry said.

But he did note that security assistance to critical allies like Israel may be affected and that the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees sanctions on rogue countries like Iran, had been forced to furlough nearly all of its staff.

He stressed that he believed the shutdown would not be long term.

Kerry, in Bali for an economic summit, called Saturday for Congress to reach an agreement to end the partial shutdown of the federal government, now entering its fifth day.

President Barack Obama had planned to attend the summit but canceled his travel plans to remain in Washington and deal with the shutdown. Kerry is now leading the U.S. delegation in the talks.

Kerry says that America's "friends and foes" shouldn't mistake the government shutdown as anything other than a "moment of politics."

On Wednesday, the State Department said a prolonged U.S. federal government shutdown could delay military assistance to Israel and other American allies.

"The State Department's ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be hindered, depending on the length of the shutdown," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told a news briefing.

Harf gave only the specific example of Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military funding and a country which enjoys strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress.