Tuesday, March 3, 2015






Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday he would not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress to protest the lack of consultation with President Barack Obama in scheduling the speech.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress Tuesday in hopes of derailing the White House’s plan to allow Iran to maintain peaceful amounts of nuclear energy. Tensions are high due to the fact House Speaker John Boehner, without the consent or even acknowledgement from the president, invited Netanyahu.
Today, Senators Al Franken of Minnesota and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island announced that they will boycott the address. With their announcements, that brings the total number to 55, almost all Democrats (except Bernie Sanders) and Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina. So far it is forty-eight members of the House and seven members of the Senate. That represents roughly 13% of Congress.
In his statement, Franken called the address a “bipartisan spectacle” and said he would not feel comfortable attending:
“This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle, both because of the impending Israeli election and because it was done without consulting the Administration. I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening. I’m confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel.”
Senator Whitehouse called the address “mischievous” and said it would undermine their two nation’s friendly ally:
“I do not plan to attend the prime minister’s speech. I’m concerned that behind it was a mischievous effort to manipulate domestic politics in both countries, which should not be the terms of engagement between friendly allies.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren also announced she would not be attending the address, saying:
“I strongly support Israel, and I remain deeply concerned about the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon, which I discussed in detail with Prime Minister Netanyahu when we met in Jerusalem last November. It’s unfortunate that Speaker Boehner’s actions on the eve of a national election in Israel have made Tuesday’s event more political and less helpful for addressing the critical issue of nuclear nonproliferation and the safety of our most important ally in the Middle East.”
So far, here is a list of those who plan on skipping:
House of Representatives
Rep. Karen Bass (California)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Oregon)
Rep. Corrine Brown (Florida)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (North Carolina)
Rep. Lois Capps (California)
Rep. Andre Carson (Indiana)
Rep. Katherine Clark (Massachusetts)
Rep. Lacy Clay (Missouri)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Missouri)
Rep. James Clyburn (South Carolina)
Rep. Steve Cohen (Tennessee)
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (New Jersey)
Rep. John Conyers (Michigan)
Rep. Danny Davis (Illinois)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (Oregon)
Rep. Diana DeGette (Colorado)
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)
Rep. Donna Edwards (Maryland)
Rep. Keith Ellison (Minnesota)
Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pennsylvania)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Arizona)
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois)
Rep. Denny Heck (Washington)
Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (Texas)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)
Rep. Walter Jones (North Carolina) [lone Republican boycotting the speech]
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)
Rep. Barbara Lee (California)
Rep. John Lewis (Georgia)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (California)
Rep. Betty McCollum (Minnesota)
Rep. Jim McDermott (Washington)
Reps. Jim McGovern (Massachusetts)
Rep. Jerry McNerney (California)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (New York)
Rep. Gwen Moore (Wisconsin)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)
Rep. David Price (North Carolina)
Rep. Charles Rangel (New York)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (Louisiana)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Illinois)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (Mississippi)
Rep. Mike Thompson (California)
Rep. John Yarmuth (Kentucky)
Sen. Al Franken (Minnesota)
Sen. Tim Kaine (Virginia)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vermont)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)
Is one of your Reps. or Senators on that list?
CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted out that President Obama will not be watching the address due to meetings. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “I doubt that he [President Obama] will spend his whole time watching the speech.”
h/t: Ryan Denson at AlterNet


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