More US Democratic lawmakers to boycott Netanyahu speech
An increasing number of senior US Democratic lawmakers are planning to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech about Iran before Congress next month, a report says.
The Democrats are angry at Netanyahu over his acceptance of an invitation by House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner to address Congress without coordinating with President Barack Obama.
According to a Washington-based newspaper, The Hill, Representatives James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, and Raúl Grijalva, chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also announced on Friday that they would not attend Netanyahu’s address.
Several other Democrats, including Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Barbara Lee, Gregory Meeks, John Lewis, G.K. Butterfield, and Earl Blumenauer also intend to boycott the speech.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden’s office said in a statement that he would skip the March 3 joint session of Congress.
Last month, Boehner invited Netanyahu to Congress to speak about the “threat” of Iran while Tehran and world powers are still negotiating to reach a final nuclear agreement.
The invitation to address the new Republican-dominated Congress was extended without consultation with the White House or the State Department.
According to the White House, President Barack Obama would not meet with Netanyahu during his trip to Washington, DC.
A State Department official stated that Secretary of State John Kerry would also not meet with the Israeli premier.
Netanyahu, who is against a comprehensive Iran nuclear accord, has been repeatedly trying to persuade congressmen to vote in favor of additional sanctions against Tehran.
Obama has threatened to veto new Iran sanctions legislation.