Netanyahu invitation was not issued with bipartisan consultation, Pelosi says

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Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader in the House of Representatives, forcefully denied that Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House speaker, had consulted with her before inviting Netanyahu to speak to a joint meeting of Congress.

“It is out of the ordinary that the speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a joint session without any bipartisan consultation,” Pelosi said Jan. 22 in a meeting with reporters.

In his invitation to Netanyahu, Boehner said it was made “on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.”

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate minority leader, also said he was not consulted before the invitation, but he added that he looks forward to Netanyahu’s speech.

Pelosi said the timing of the March 3 address was inappropriate both because of the proximity to Israel’s March 17 elections and because Boehner cast it as a rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s Iran policy and his threatened veto of any new Iran sanctions.

Pelosi echoed Obama’s view that new sanctions could scuttle talks with Iran, aimed at keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“We cannot have [Iran talks] fail when Congress wants to flex its muscle unnecessarily,” she said. “If that is the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit two weeks before his own election right in the midst of negotiations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful.” — jta

JTA

Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.