January 21, 2015

Bipartisanship! Comity! Not so much.

Speaker John Boehner has unilaterally extended an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. Never mind that the White House or at the very least, the Department of State is generally consulted on these things ahead of such an invitation, because a Republican's got to do what a Republican's got to do.

CNN's Dana Bash seemed incredulous, though I'm not sure why she would be. Defiance is a hallmark of the two-year olds on Capitol Hill.

Boehner told reporters he did not consult with the White House about the invitation to Netanyahu, saying "the Congress can make this decision on its own."

Asked by CNN if this was a deliberate poke at the President, Boehner replied "I don't believe I'm poking anyone in the eye. There is a serious threat that exists in the world and the president last night kind of papered over it."

He added, "the fact is there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is -- from radical Islamic jihadists and from the threat posed by Iran."

Boehner declined to say when the House would vote on another Iran sanctions bill, but said committees are planning hearings on the issue. Multiple House GOP aides say there are plans for a vote, but the timing is still unclear.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez is also angry about Obama's insistence that they not increase sanctions at this time.

Far from holding their fire, Democrats who support a sanctions bill, like Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, have increased their criticism of the White House.

"The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran," railed Menendez at a hearing with administration officials on Capitol Hill.

Since when is Menendez afraid of diplomacy? He's not high on the list of AIPAC-supported politicians -- Cory Booker is the top Democrat there -- so I'm not sure what exactly is spawning this vitriolic disdain for diplomacy, but it's ugly and unnecessary.

As for Boehner, he's right in lockstep with Sheldon Adelson's desire that Israel's priorities be his priorities. It seems our Republican leadership serves two masters.

Update: TPM: It's an unprecedented breach of protocol. Of course it is, which is why every time a pundit assumes things will be what they've been in the past, a little piece of our democracy dies. These lunatics do not care what they do or how they do it as long as they undermine the elected President of the United States.

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