House Speaker Mike Johnson to Extend Invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Address Congress

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced Thursday his intention to extend an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, following encouragement from members of his conference.

“We will certainly extend that invitation,” Johnson stated during an appearance on CNBC.

The specifics of the invitation, whether it pertains to addressing both chambers of Congress or solely the House of Representatives, remain unclear. Invitation to speak before a joint session of Congress would necessitate approval from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who recently criticized Netanyahu and advocated for new elections in Israel.

Efforts to clarify Johnson’s intentions with Schumer’s office are currently underway.

Netanyahu responded to Schumer’s criticism and addressed Senate Republicans via a closed-door video conference during their lunch session on Wednesday.

In addition, Johnson disclosed that he has been invited by Netanyahu to speak at the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body, an opportunity he views as a “great honor.” Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, similarly addressed the Knesset during his tenure as speaker.

The consideration of Netanyahu addressing Congress coincides with ongoing deliberations regarding military aid to Israel on Capitol Hill. Although the House passed a standalone military aid bill for Israel in November, the Senate did not advance it due to offsets to the IRS. While the Senate approved a bill in February including aid for Ukraine and Israel, Johnson has yet to schedule a vote on the legislation in the House, as House Republicans explore alternative approaches to providing foreign aid.

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