Pence to delay trip to Mideast over tax bill

US Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his weekend departure for the Middle East as Congress nears the completion of a tax overhaul, AP reports.

Earlier this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not meet with Pence due to President Donald Trump's announcement of USA recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"It has come to our attention that Vice President Pence intends to make an official visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and asked me to receive him officially", Adeeb Joudeh, who is responsible for the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, wrote in a letter on Wednesday, according to Israel's Channel 2 News.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly describe scheduling details.

Trump and Republican lawmakers are hoping for a vote early next week on a package of steep tax cuts for corporations and more modest cuts for families, a top Trump legislative priority. Republicans can afford to lose two votes while counting on Pence to break a tie.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas cancelled a planned sit-down with Pence in Ramallah and warned that the United States no longer had a role to play in the peace process. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had said he would not meet with Pence later this month due to the controversial U.S. decision on Jerusalem.

Political sources in Tel Aviv said that the postponement has nothing to do with the Palestinians' boycott of the trip in protest against Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Cairo with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a close ally of Trump. Richard PencePence allies anxious he'll be called to answer questions from Mueller: "report Trump thought it was "low class" for Pence to bring pets to VP residence: "report Pence told RNC he could replace Trump on ticket after "Access Hollywood" tape came out: "report MORE at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and I will not be physically in church during his visit", he continued.

Pence is set to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in Jerusalem.

White House officials said Pence will end his visit to Israel next Friday by meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

While Israel views Jerusalem as its capital, Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Pence's trip is scheduled to end on December 23 with a pre-Christmas visit with troops stationed at the United States' Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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