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Mike Pence delays Egypt, Israel trip 'over tax reform vote'

Mike Pence delays Egypt, Israel trip 'over tax reform vote'

US Vice President Mike Pence has delayed a visit to the Middle East for a second time, the White House said Monday, to focus on the tax vote on Capitol Hill.

"The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans", said Alyssa Farah, Pence's press secretary.

The vice president has attracted such a negative response to the embassy move, which was announced December 6, that Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that Pence would no longer be meeting with Christian leadership of any kind while in Israel or Egypt.

Pence originally planned to also pay a visit to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, but the latter has since announced Pence was not welcome, because of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump said he had chose to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital to keep a campaign promise, noting that several of his predecessors had vowed to do so, but never did.

Gareth Bale's victor saves Real Madrid from humiliation against Al Jazira
Substitutes: Khaled Al Senaani (for Khaseif, 51) 7, Eissa Mohamed (for Khalifa, 60) 6, Ahmed Rabia (for Al Hosani, 72) 6. The match began in a dramatic style as the hosts Al Jazira managed to keep a clean slate till the 31st minute.

A senior White House official said on Wednesday that Abbas' comments on the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the kind of rhetoric "that has prevented peace for decades". John McCain, R-Ariz., was returning to his home state for cancer treatment, leaving Republicans with only 51 votes for the tax bill. In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, which was originally a scheduled stop on Pence's tour, religious leaders turned off the city's Christmas tree lights earlier to protest the White House announcement.

The vice president had been scheduled to be in Cairo on Wednesday for a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and was expected to arrive in Israel later Wednesday for a visit to the Western Wall.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had originally meant to meet with Pence but pulled out of the meeting after denouncing Trump's decision.

The leader of Egypt's Coptic Church had already cancelled his meeting with Pence to protest the United States move.

But after Trump's decision earlier this month on Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority declined the meeting. The vice president wanted to make sure that he was in place to break a tie if it were necessary, the official said.

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