Boehner, Cantor Turned Down Chance to Speak at March Anniversary

Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 05:14 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The House's two most senior Republicans, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, declined invitations to speak at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Roll Call reported the Ohio Republican opted to address a separate congressional ceremony on Capitol Hill commemorating delivery of the iconic speech rather than the event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

According to Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel, Boehner "was invited, but spoke at the Congressional ceremony instead, as did [Nevada Democratic] Sens. [Harry] Reid and [Kentucky Republican Mitch] McConnell, and [California Democratic] Rep. [Nancy] Pelosi."

The Virginia Republican, meanwhile, was asked 12 days ago to participate in Wednesday’s event, according to an aide, but is traveling in North Dakota and Ohio, touring energy sites with Republican North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, and participating in "nonofficial events," the aide said.

Earlier this year, Cantor traveled to Selma, Ala., with Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis earlier this year and has stated his commitment to passing a rewrite of the Voting Rights Act in the 113th Congress, the blog noted.

"The Leader hopes it’s an outstanding event fitting of the incredible legacy of Dr. King and is honored to have had the ability to honor that legacy earlier this year" with Lewis, said Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper.

While Cantor and Boehner were among the Republicans who were invited, Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only African-American in the Senate, was not invited, Roll Call reported.


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