Pence postpones planned Israel trip

Vice President Mike Pence’s scheduled trip to Israel has been postponed for a few days, U.S. and Israeli officials confirmed Thursday.

A central reason for the delay appears to be his possible role in the passage of a comprehensive tax bill in the U.S. Senate.

CNN reported that Pence had prepared to fly out of the U.S. this weekend, arriving in Israel in time to address the nation’s parliament, or Knesset, on Monday.

Instead, he will leave on Tuesday, make a short stop in Egypt, and land in Israel before speaking to government leaders later in the week.

As President Donald Trump and GOP congressional leaders seeking to rush a vote on the tax reform proposal, Pence, who as vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate, could play a pivotal role.

Several Republican senators have expressed concerns about some of the bill’s provisions, and with a slim majority in the chamber, the decision could fall on Pence.

In October, Pence was forced to cast a Senate vote to break a 50-50 vote on a proposal that would repeal an Obama-era policy regarding government contracts with financial firms, as the Washington Examiner reported at the time.

The postponed Israel visit also comes amid continued backlash in the region after Trump last week declared Jerusalem to be the nation’s capital.

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