Pence leaving for Middle East Friday regardless of shutdown

- Januari 19, 2018

The government is heading for a shutdown, but Vice President Mike Pence is getting out of town.

Pence will depart Friday evening for a planned trip to the Middle East, taking off from Joint Base Andrews about four and a half hours before the government is set to run out of money.

“The Vice President’s meetings with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel are integral to America’s national security and diplomatic objectives, therefore the Vice President will travel to the Middle East as scheduled,” Alyssa Farah, the vice president’s press secretary, said in a statement on Friday.

Pence is slated to meet with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is also slated to address the Israeli legislature, the Knesset. The tightly packed schedule would make postponing all but impossible, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

Pence was originally slated to visit in December, but delayed the trip as GOP leaders scrambled to find the votes to pass a major tax cut package.

The House is also slated to leave town on Friday night. The House passed a continuing resolution to keep the government open on Thursday, but the bill appears likely to fail in the Senate, where it would require 60 votes to pass. Many Democrats have voiced opposition to a spending bill that does not include protections for young immigrants known as Dreamers.

Trump was originally slated to leave Washington for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Friday, but the White House announced Trump will remain in Washington until Congress passes a spending bill.


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