For all the talk of Democrats boycotting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's joint address to Congress on Tuesday, only about 30 wkll be doing so, Politico reports
Between the House and Senate, Democrats have 232 members. So, while symbolic, the boycott won't make a huge dent in attendance.
But some prominent names and groups are involved in the boycott, including Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as president of the Senate and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Biden and Kerry both will be away on overseas trips, citing that as their official reason for not being present. But the White House isn't hiding it's anger over Republican House Speaker John Boehener's issuing the invitation without consulting them.
President Barack Obama also has said he won't meet with Netanyahu since the talk will occur two weeks before Israeli elections and he doesn't want to be seen as interfering.
Many of those planning to boycott are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has said Boehner showed a lack of protocol by not talking to the president first.
Netanyahu will discuss the threat of a nuclear Iran as the United States negotiates with that country over its program. Iran says its intentions are only to build power plants, but Netanyahu and supporters of Israel in Congress from both sides of the aisle believe Iran is trying to build an intercontinental ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear weapon that can reach Israel, Europe and the United States.
Among individuals identified by Politico are Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, of Maine, and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois also plan to sit the speech out.
Rep. Cedric Richmond has a slate of constituent meetings planned while New York Rep. Gregory Meeks will watch the address in his office with local officials visiting Washington to attend the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a spokesperson said.
DeGette’s office said she’ll be giving a speech to the boards of directors of several medical research groups during the address.
Black Caucus members planning not to attend include Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas and Rep. Barbara Lee of California.
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