Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Statement on Netanyahu Address to Joint Meeting of Congress

Mar 3, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) issued the following statement, today, following his decision not to attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address before a Joint Meeting of Congress:

“My decision not to attend today’s Joint Meeting is not a reflection of the value I place on the US-Israeli partnership, one of the strongest and most valuable relationships to our nation. Rather, it is a condemnation of the decision by the Republican leadership in Congress to bypass established protocol and inject a foreign Head of Government into domestic political debate. This is just the latest example in an ongoing pattern of disrespect to Barack Obama, our President and Commander in Chief.

“The Constitution is clear. While the Congress may provide guidelines, the President conducts diplomacy on behalf of the United States. Moving from a philosophy of ‘politics stops at the water’s edge’ to one where a foreign leader is used to achieve domestic political aims is an action that no party has undertaken in the modern history of the Congress. That this Congress under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would resort to that is unconscionable.

“Beyond this there is one overriding point of concern: When the President of the United States is disrespected the American people are disrespected. Therefore, I must signal my disappointment with this action and cannot participate in this Joint Meeting.”