Speaker Mike Johnson considering inviting Netanyahu to address Congress

Speaker Mike Johnson considering inviting Netanyahu to address Congress - Politics - News

House Speaker Mike Johnson Contemplates Inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Address Congress

Amidst ongoing tensions and struggles for Israel, House Speaker Mike Johnson is pondering the possibility of extending an invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a speech before the esteemed legislative body. This prospective move was suggested during a closed-door conference meeting among House members on Wednesday morning.

Expressing Solidarity and Support for Israel

When questioned by reporters about the potential invitation, Johnson expressed his commitment to express solidarity and support for Israel during this critical time. He emphasized that such a move would serve to demonstrate unity and backing for the country, stating: “It’s one of the things that we have in mind, and we may try to arrange for that. I think it’s very important for us to show solidarity and support for Israel right now in their time of great struggle, and we certainly stand for that position. We’ll try to advance that in every way that we can.”

A Lengthy Conversation with Netanyahu

Johnson had an extensive conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday morning, reaffirming the strong Republican support for Israel during their dialogue. Johnson shared his stance with reporters, stating: “I had a lengthy conversation this morning with Prime Minister Netanyahu and reiterated to him the House Republicans’ strong support for Israel.”

Senate Majority Leader’s Role in Invitation

An invitation to address a joint session of Congress would require the approval of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. However, last week, Schumer publicly criticized Netanyahu during a floor speech and called for new Israeli elections. This potential hurdle comes as additional military aid to Israel seems stalled on Capitol Hill.

Military Aid Delays and Political Tensions

In November, the House passed a standalone military aid bill to Israel, but the Senate did not advance this legislation due to cost offsets involving IRS cuts. In February, the Senate passed a bill including aid for Ukraine and Israel. Despite these circumstances, Johnson has not made any moves to bring this legislation up for a vote in the House as Republicans debate various strategies for providing overseas aid.

Senate Republican Conference’s Engagement with Netanyahu

The Senate Republican Conference is scheduled to hold a call with Netanyahu during their weekly policy lunch on Wednesday afternoon. In response to Schumer’s criticism and the US involvement in Israeli politics, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement advocating for America to “stay out of” Israeli domestic affairs.

McConnell’s statement reads: “Israel’s government and unity war cabinet report to the Israeli people, not the US Senate. America rightly rejects foreign interference in our own democratic politics. And we owe it to our friends and allies to stay out of theirs.”