Pence to travel to Middle East despite potential shutdown

AP News
Posted: Jan 19, 2018 1:26 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence was set to travel to the Mideast on Friday night despite a looming federal government shutdown.

Alyssa Farah, a Pence spokeswoman, said the vice president's trip to Egypt, Jordan and Israel was "integral to America's national security and diplomatic objectives."

Congress must act by midnight Friday or the shutdown will take effect, forcing hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job.

President Donald Trump scrapped plans to leave Friday for a weekend at his Florida estate, but Pence's planned trip was set to move forward.

During past government shutdowns, federal employees were exempt from furloughs if their jobs were national security-related or they performed essential activities deemed to "protect life and property."

The vice president was initially scheduled to visit Egypt and Israel in December but postponed the trip so he could preside over a tax overhaul vote in the narrowly divided Senate.