Mike Pence again delays Israel trip


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Vice President Mike Pence again has delayed a trip to Israel.

Pence’s spokeswoman, Alyssah Farah, said Monday that the trip would now take place in January. She said the delay was so the Trump administration could preside over a much-anticipated tax overhaul favored by Trump. Pence might be needed to cast the deciding vote in the closely divided Senate.

“The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans,” she said in a statement. “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.”

Pence originally was slated to travel over the weekend, and then delayed the trip until the middle of this week, citing the tax vote. A White House official told JTA that would delay Pence’s travel until Wednesday, which would push meetings in Israel into Shabbat and Christmas. The official said Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s top negotiator, would continue as scheduled to the region this week. Pence would get to the region by mid-January, the official said.

It’s not clear yet when the tax vote will take place, although some reports say it will be scheduled as early as Tuesday.

The trip originally meant to encompass Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian areas was also circumscribed because Palestinian leaders refused to meet with Pence in the wake of President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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