December 20, 2005

Cheney cuts Mideast/Asia trip

ABOARD AIR FORCE TWO (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick
Cheney cut short his trip to the Middle East and Asia on
Tuesday and will return to Washington in case his vote is
needed on legislation moving through Congress, a White House
official said.

"He's needed for close votes," Cheney adviser Steve Schmidt
told reporters traveling with the vice president. "The vice
president is returning to Washington to be on hand in the
Senate ... to cast tie-breaking votes if necessary."

Cheney was to arrive in Washington early on Wednesday, a
White House official said on board the airplane as Cheney flew
to Oman after visiting Pakistan.

Cheney's vote may be needed to break a possible tie on
budget-cutting legislation backed by the White House. The White
House was told by Republican congressional leaders that the
vote could be close.

Congress is working to wrap up outstanding business before
the holiday break, including the spending bill. The U.S. vice
president casts the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

Cheney arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday to meet with
President Pervez Musharraf, a key ally in Washington's fight
against terrorism. The visit followed stops in Afghanistan and

Cheney, who has a history of heart trouble, will not visit
Saudi Arabia and Egypt as planned.