Pence sets out on Mideast trip despite threat of government shutdown

US Vice President Mike Pence's trip to the Middle East was delayed last month because of controversy over plans to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Top Sunni Islam cleric says meeting Pence would 'tear up my iden - WENY News

U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt on Friday met with Yoav Mordechai, Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), with whom he discussed "security and economic issues".

In the hours leading up to his global departure, Pence had been having conversations with members of Congress to avoid a shutdown, one source tells CNN.

An aide to the vice president told The Hill Thursday that Pence is set to travel to Egypt, Jordan and Israel regardless of whether there is a lapse in government funding.

The vice president will then travel to Texas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa to support GOP candidates, and will headline various fundraisers for the National Republican Congressional Committee over the next three months, including hosting events for the House branch in Dallas, Cleveland, Detroit, and Naples, Florida.

The three-country swing is expected to be closely watched, because it comes a little more than a month after Trump announced that the USA would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate its embassy to the city.

Jerusalem and the West Bank
Jerusalem and the West Bank

"The main theme for the vice president is going to be looking forward", the official said.

Trump also announced that the US would move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

In his speech to the Knesset, as well as in his discussions with Israeli leaders, Pence is expected to speak at length about Iran and its influence in the region and around the world.

"We discussed Israeli security and Palestinian economic issues", Greenblatt tweeted shortly after the meeting.

During his stops in Egypt and Jordan, Pence is expected to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II.

Countdown on to avoid US shutdown
Speaking as he returned to Capitol Hill after the 90-minute meeting, the NY senator said: "We had a long and detailed meeting". Earlier in the day budget director Mick Mulvaney blamed democrats for the stand-off described it as the " Schumer Shutdown ".

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