While an Obama administration spokesman said Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) breached “protocol” by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress next month about the Iranian threat, Boehner said Congress “can make this decision on its own.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said regarding Boehner’s invitation of Netanyahu, “The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there. … This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”
In a statement on Wednesday morning, Boehner said, “In this time of challenge, I am asking the prime minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life. … America and Israel have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again. Let’s send a clear message to the White House-and the world-about our commitment to Israel and our allies.”
Boehner also said he does not believe he was “poking anyone in the eye” by extending an invitation to Netanyahu without consulting Obama.
“There is a serious threat that exists in the world. And the president last night kind of papered over it,” said Boehner.
Boehner was referring to Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, in which the president vowed to veto “any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo” the “progress” of ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers.
The Obama veto threat comes as Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are moving quickly to bring a new Iran sanctions bill, titled Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, to the Senate floor for a vote.
The new Menendez-Kirk bill expands on existing sanctions on Iran’s financial and energy sections, and would kick in if Iran and world powers fail to reach an agreement by the end of June.