American Vice President Mike Pence has postponed a planned trip to the Middle East until January in case he is needed to cast a tie-breaking vote when the Senate votes on a much-vaunted tax overhaul, the White House announced on Monday.
Pence had planned to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as address Israel’s Knesset.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled his planned meeting with Pence following President Trump’s announcement that he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite widespread international condemnation.
The US vice president has the ability to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, where Republicans currently control 52 of 100 seats. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain – who suffers from brain cancer – is absent and expected to miss the vote.
In a statement, Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said the vice president was currently focused on the tax vote.
“The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans,” she said. “The Vice President is committed to seeing the tax cut through to the finish line. The Vice President looks forward to traveling to Egypt and Israel in January.”
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