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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

For a handful of hours next week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be the top-ranked government official on U.S. soil.

Driving the news: In a rare event on Monday, both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will be overseas at the same time — Pence in Colombia, and Trump en route to his summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to three administration sources.

Why it matters: Two of these sources told Axios that there is internal concern that sloppy scheduling would allow this rare event to happen, though it's not unprecedented.

  • "It's rare and unusual, and usually they [the White House] try to avoid it," presidential historian Michael Beschloss told Axios.
  • According to an administration official, Pence and Trump were both out of the country for a short period of time on Dec. 1, 2018, when Trump was in Argentina for the G20 summit and Pence was in Mexico for the inauguration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
  • They also were both overseas on Nov. 11, 2018, when Trump was returning from France and Pence was headed to Asia for meetings and regional summits.
  • And in March 2013, former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were both out of the country for roughly a 20-minute window while Obama was traveling to Israel and Biden was returning from Italy.

Worth noting: While it's bad practice for both the president and VP to be overseas at the same time, it's also true that Colombia is roughly a five-hour flight back to the U.S., so if needed for a domestic crisis, Pence could be back on U.S. soil quite quickly. 

  • And Trump remains president wherever he goes; the only reason line succession of government would be invoked is if he or the VP were incapacitated — for example in the event of medical surgery. Both leaders travel with secure communications and nuclear codes. 
  • Pelosi will be in New York Monday morning and D.C. in the afternoon, according to a spokesperson. And while it's a rare quirk that she'll be the top-ranked official on U.S. soil, in no way will her normal duties change.

The White House did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

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Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate continued to work through votes on a series of amendments overnight into early Saturday morning.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

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