Mike Pence is "committed to seeing the tax cut through to the finish line"—so committed, in fact, that he'll delay a trip to the Middle East, his press secretary announced Monday. The vice president was to travel Tuesday to Egypt and Israel but will now depart on Jan. 14, according to White House officials. They say protests in the region regarding President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital had no impact on the decision, reports CNN. Rather, Pence plans to be on hand for the Senate vote on the GOP tax bill late Tuesday or early Wednesday in case he needs to break a tie—a plausible scenario as Republican Sen. John McCain could be absent while undergoing cancer treatment.
An official tells the New York Times that Pence already delayed the trip once in anticipation of the vote. As of last week, he was expected to depart Tuesday and meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Wednesday before traveling to Israel, with a stop at Jerusalem's Western Wall, reports CBS News. If Pence were to depart after the vote, each event—including meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin—would need to be pushed back. It's unclear if the delay will allow Pence to reschedule a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who canceled in the wake of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.