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Rep. Paul Ryan calls GOP’s invitation to Netanyahu ‘absolutely’ appropriate

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February 01, 2015 | comments

By Josh Hicks, Washington Post

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday rejected the notion that House Republicans stepped out of line by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress without informing the White House.

"Do I think it’s wholly appropriate for the Speaker of the House of a separate but equal branch of government ... to invite a foreign leader to address us? Absolutely," Ryan said on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest last week criticized House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for the invitation, calling it a "departure from protocol."  The White House has also said that President Obama will not meet with Netanyahu, in part because the prime minister faces an upcoming election.

Ryan denied that Netanyahu's visit could sour relations between the Israeli leader and the Obama administration.

"I don’t know if I would say it’s antagonizing," he said. "I think we would like to hear from the leader of Israel on his thoughts on Iran."

"The president’s policies with Iran have bipartisan concern," Ryan continued. "A huge bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate are very worried about the handling of these negotiations."

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have considered legislation that would expand sanctions on Iran if negotiators fail to outline plans for curbing the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions in time for a March 24 deadline.

President Obama has opposed a potential vote on sanctions, saying it would undermine ongoing diplomatic efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.

The United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia have been working for more than a year toward an agreement, with the goal of cementing a deal by June 30.


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