Johnson says Netanyahu to address joint session of Congress 'soon' 



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House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Thursday announced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will “soon” address a joint session of Congress.

“Tonight, I’m happy to announce something else to you: that we will soon be hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol for a joint session of Congress,” Johnson said Thursday during a speech marking Israel’s independence at an event hosted by the Israeli embassy.

“This will be a timely and I think a very strong show of support to the Israeli government in their time of greatest need,” he continued.

The Hill reached out to Johnson’s office for further details on the exact date, though Johnson told reporters on Wednesday he was working with Netanyahu and would send a formal invitation this week, NBC News reported.

The expected joint session follows days of back-and-forth between Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY.) over whether Netanyahu should be permitted to address a joint session of Congress amid harsh criticism over Israel’s strategy in its war with Hamas in Gaza.

Johnson on Wednesday said he expected Schumer to sign off on Netanyahu’s visit after he informed the Senate leader he needed to sign the joint invitation, or the House would proceed with inviting the Israeli leader just to the House.

Schumer’s office told The Hill earlier this month that the Senate leader “intends to join the invitation, the timing is being worked out.” 

The Hill reached out to Schumer’s office Thursday night for comment.

Some Democrats have already said they plan to skip the speech, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who is Jewish and described Netanyahu as “a menace.”

“I boycotted his last visit. I certainly will not attend this one,” she said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday said he would boycott any speech by Netanyahu, citing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where at least 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since early October.

Netanyahu last traveled to the Capitol and addressed Congress in 2015. Several Democrats skipped his speech at the time as a way to protest the Israeli leader, who criticized then-President Obama over the Iran nuclear deal.

Schumer’s promised support for Netanyahu comes after he called for new elections in the Middle Eastern country and declared Netanyahu had “lost his way” in a speech on the Senate floor in March.



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