Friday, January 23, 2015
Netanyahu Invited to Speak to Joint Session of Congress
Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. Consulting with The White House and the State Department was not a part of the process. Naturally, the White House felt the sting of the Speaker going rogue and called the invitation a break in protocol.
I know. I chuckled, too. President Obama and his White House take great pleasure in going around Congress at every opportunity yet Boehner is breaking protocol? We have in our democratic republic three separate branches of government. While unusual, the move is not usurping power from the Executive Branch.
Recently, British Prime Minister David Cameron told the White House press corps that he made phone calls to members of Congress to encourage them to not proceed on increasing sanctions against Iran as it could hinder ongoing nuclear power negotiations. Ever heard of that kind of statement from a foreign leader? I suppose a break in protocol is in the eye of the beholder.
The reasoning from the House speaker is that members simply do not trust the president and stories in the press that the White House believes that the president doesn't need approval from Congress to sign a deal with Iran led the House to the invitation to Netanyahu.
The relationship between Netanyahu and Obama has never warmed, to say the least. Obama has already said he will not meet with Netanyahu during his visit. "It's an ongoing soap opera", said Aaron David Miller, Vice President for New Initiatives and a Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, as well as a former advisor to both Republican and Democrat Secretaries of State on Arab-Israeli negotiations.
This White House has a real problem with transparency. This has been called the most secretive, least transparent presidency since Richard M. Nixon. In keeping with this White House's behavior, the promise to keep the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the loop on the decision to end the embargo on Cuba was broken. An apology was made to Senator Marco Rubio, who specifically asked the White House to keep the committee updated and was told they would during a hearing, once the President made his announcement.
Have you seen the video of Rubio in his most recent questioning on the Cuban decision?
Sometimes turnabout is fair play, even if it is between Congress and the president.