Lawmakers Skipping Netanyahu's Speech
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress for the third time – tying him with Winston Churchill for the most such appearances by a foreign head of state. But House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to invite the Israeli leader without first informing President Obama hung a cloud of controversy over the speech. Adding to the controversy is the fact that Netanyahu is up for re-election in two weeks, thus drawing complaints that his appearance involves the U.S. in another nation’s internal politics. Vice President Biden, whose roles include serving as president of Senate, will not attend the speech, and neither he nor Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Netanyahu while the prime minister is in Washington. More than 50 Democrats and one independent have said they will miss the speech for various reasons. Here is a sampling of that group and their rationales for doing so.