Ever since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would be speaking to a joint session of Congress today, Democrats and the White House have been panning the address.
And now, the Hill has the full list of the 56 Democrats who “boycotting” Bibi’s speech. Among those not attending is Louisiana’s own Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) who weeks ago said the speech would be political and therefore he would not attend.
Here’s the list:
Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.) — In a statement, Bass said that she would be in Los Angeles for a city council election. “My support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship has been consistent during my entire time in elected office, and that support will only continue in the years to come. Support for Israel has traditionally been a non-partisan issue, and I want it to remain so,” she said. “Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner mishandled inviting Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech is now marred with controversy. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been provided with other options to talk with members of Congress, but he has turned them down to do the public speech. It is truly sad that Speaker Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu have chosen to play partisan and divisive politics.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) — Wrote a Jan. 29 column in The Huffington Post explaining his decision, saying the Constitution “vests the responsibility for foreign affairs in the president.”
Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.) — The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) focused on Boehner undermining Obama in a statement and emphasized he’s not urging a boycott.
Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.) — Told constituent in a letter posted to Facebook that she is skipping the speech.
Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)
Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)
Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)
Rep. Lacy Clay (Mo.) will skip the speech, his office confirmed Monday.
Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) — Clyburn is the highest-ranking Democratic leader to say he’ll skip the speech.
Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.) — “After deliberation, I have decided I cannot in good conscience attend the Prime Minister’s speech. My decision not to attend is not a reflection of my support for Israel and its continued existence as a state and home for the Jewish people. I have always strongly supported Israel and I always will,” said Cohen in a statement.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) — “As a fierce supporter of Israel, I am disappointed in Speaker Boehner’s efforts to drag Prime Minister Netanyahu into the GOP’s endless efforts to undermine President Obama,” she said in a statement.
Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)
Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.) will skip the speech, his office confirmed Monday.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)
Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas) — “A partisan approach with our critical ally, Israel, is a grave mistake,” he said in a statement.
Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)
Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) — He is head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), a member of the CBC and the first Muslim in Congress.
Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) — Grijalva is a co-chairman of the CPC.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.) — A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times that Gutierrez has a “strong” record on Israel but called the speech “a stunt.”
Rep. Denny Heck (Wash.)
Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (Texas)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) — “The Congresswoman has no plans to attend the speech at this time,” a spokeswoman said.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)
Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.)
Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.) — A member of the CBC and former head of the CPC.
Rep. John Lewis (Ga.) — His office confirmed he’s not going but emphasized he’s not organizing a formal boycott
Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa) — Told local press he likely won’t attend.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) — “I am disappointed Speaker Boehner chose to irresponsibly interject politics into what has long been a strong and bipartisan relationship between the United States and Israel. As President Obama has noted, it is inappropriate for a Head of State to address Congress just two weeks ahead of their election. I agree that Congress should not be used as a prop in Israeli election campaigns, so I intend to watch the speech on TV in my office.”
Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.): “In my view Mr. Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is nothing more than a campaign event hosted by Speaker Boehner and paid for by the American people,” McCollum said in a statement.”
Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.) — “I do not intend to attend the speech of Bibi,” he said in an email to a Seattle newspaper.
Reps. Jim McGovern (Mass.) — Told MassLive.com the “timing and circumstances of this speech are deeply troubling.”
Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.) — “Rep. McNerney is not planning to attend the speech. He’s got several previously planned commitments for that day.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) — A CBC member.
Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)
Rep. David Price (N.C.) — “Speaker Boehner should never have extended the invitation, given the proximity of the speech to Israel’s national elections and the fact that delicate international negotiations, which the Prime Minister wishes to upend, are hanging in the balance.”
Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.) — “I’m offended as an American,” he said on MSNBC.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.): Said she won’t attend but is “anguished” that Boehner’s invitation could weaken support for Israel in Congress.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)
Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)
Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.) — “We know what he is going to say,” the Jewish lawmaker said in a statement.
Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) — “This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle, both because of the impending Israeli election and because it was done without consulting the Administration,” said Sen. Franken in a statement. “I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening. I’m confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) — “There is no reason to schedule this speech before Israeli voters go to the polls on March 17 and choose their own leadership,” Kasine said in a statement.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — Leahy called it a “tawdry and high-handed stunt,” according to aVermont newspaper.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, said it’s “wrong” that Obama wasn’t consulted about the speech.
Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) — “The U.S.-Israel relationship is too important to be overshadowed by partisan politics,” said Schatz in a statement. “I am disappointed in the Republican leadership’s invitation of Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress with the apparent purpose of undermining President Obama’s foreign policy prerogatives.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.) — “I intend to watch his speech about Iran from my office, but I have strong objections to using the floor of the United State Congress as a stage for his election campaign — or anyone’s for that matter,” Heinrich said in a statement.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) — Warren is “deeply concerned” about the prospect of a nuclear Iran but said Speaker Boehner’s actions “have made Tuesday’s event more political.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) — “I’m concerned that behind it was a mischievous effort to manipulate domestic politics in both countries, which should not be the terms of engagement between friendly allies,” he said in a statement to local station WPRI.