Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi & More May Skip Joint Session of Congress With Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu has no plans to cancel a planned March 3 speech before a joint session of Congress, which has ruffled feathers in the United States weeks before the Israeli prime minister's arrival, Haaretz reported.
House Republicans invited Netanyahu without the involvement or blessing of the White House, a move that "disregards protocol," CNN noted.
President Barack Obama has already decided that he will not meet with Netanyahu while he is in Washington, according to USA Today.
Others, too, are apparently planning to snub the prime minister. Among the big question marks is the presence of Vice President Joe Biden, who in his constitutional role as president of the U.S. Senate, would typically be seated behind a world leader as he addressed a joint session of Congress.
"The vice president's schedule for (the week in question) has not yet been set," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "So as we get some more details worked out of his schedule, we'll be able to let you know whether or not he'll be able to attend that joint session."
Influential Democratic senators, meanwhile, said on Wednesday they too are considering a boycott, according to CNN.
"Colleagues of mine are very concerned about (the speech), and I'm troubled by it," Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said.
Durbin said he has yet to decide whether he will attend the address.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, suggested some of her fellow lawmakers may just be "too busy" to be at the event, the National Journal noted.
Netanyahu is expected to criticize the controversial nuclear negotiations on which the Obama administration has embarked with the Iranian regime. The talks face a critical deadline at the end of March.
Israeli diplomats in the United States, meanwhile, have warned the country's foreign ministry to expect fierce negative reactions to Netanyahu's address.
"The recurrent message in all the consuls' reports is that Israel's friends in the United States think Netanyahu's speech in Congress is a bad mistake and could harm U.S.-Israel relations," an unnamed official said.
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