Speaker of the House Mike Johnson Moves Toward Inviting Netanyahu to Address Congress

The Republican leader of the United States House of Representatives said Tuesday he was close to inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address legislators even if the Democratic leader of the Senate didn’t agree.

Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives, informed reporters at the Capitol he had given Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer until Tuesday to sign a letter inviting PM Netanyahu to address a joint assembly.

“If not, we’re going to proceed and invite Netanyahu just to the House,” said Johnson.

Senator Schumer confirmed he was talking to Johnson. “I’m discussing that now with the speaker of the House, and, as I’ve always said, our relationship with Israel is ironclad. It transcends any one prime minister or president,” Schumer told reporters during his weekly news conference. 

This possible division between the two parties over the issue emphasized the politicization of policy regarding Israel months before a presidential election in which incumbent Democrat President Joe Biden is facing off against GOP former President Donald Trump.

Republicans have criticized President Biden for delaying a shipment of weapons to Israel, although other U.S. arms shipments to the country remain in the pipeline. 

Israel commenced an assault on Gaza after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, murdering 1,200 people and taking over 250 hostages, according to tallies by Israel.

Over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to the health ministry of Gaza. Malnutrition is broad, and much of the enclave’s population is now homeless, with a significant part of its infrastructure having been destroyed.

Biden’s handling of the war has sparked protests 

President Joe Biden’s handling of the war has kicked off protests from many of his fellow Dems and at university campuses across America. Biden has urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to minimize casualties of civilians in Gaza and has argued against a large-scale attack on Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city.

The Israeli Prime Minister has long aligned himself with American members of the GOP, addressed party members in the Senate via video link in March, almost a week after Senator Schumer gave a speech on the Senate floor branding the prime minister an obstacle to peace and arguing for new elections in Israel.

Foreign leaders rarely give addresses to joint Congressional meetings, and this honor is reserved for the closest allies or significant international figures. PM Netanyahu has already given addresses three times, the most recent in 2015.

That year, GOP congressional leaders invited Netanyahu to speak to a joint meeting without consulting with then-President Barack Obama, as Netanyahu joined with Republicans who were opposed to Obama’s global nuclear deal with Iran.

The Israeli Prime Minister would be the first foreign leader ever to address joint Congressional meetings four times. He is tied at three with Great Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.