A statement released by Biden\’s office indicated that the vice president will be abroad on the day that Netanyahu is scheduled to address Congress.
Vice President Joe Biden will not be attending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu\’s speech before a joint session of Congress next month.
A statement released by aides to Biden, who is usually in his seat whenever a foreign leader addresses the legislature by dint of his position as president of the Senate, indicated that the vice president will be traveling abroad during the speech.
"We are not ready to announce details of his trip yet, and normally our office wouldn\’t announce this early, but the planning process has been underway for a while," an official in the vice president\’s office told The Jerusalem Post, suggesting planning for the trip began before Netanyahu\’s visit was announced.
"We will announce additional information as soon as we are able," the official said.
The possibility that Biden would skip the premier\’s speech was first reported earlier in the week by the American online newsmagazine Politico.
The speech has created a rift amongst Democrats, Politco reported. The lawmakers are torn between supporting Israel and supporting their president whose absence from Netanyahu\’s speech has been long confirmed.
The leading Democrat in the House of Representatives blames Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for “politicizing” the US-Israel relationship with his invitation to Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress next month, but voiced the hope that “the event will not take place.”
Netanyahu has accepted the invitation, and is scheduled to speak there two weeks before the Israeli election on March 17, but several Democrats have indicated that they might not attend.