Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’ll be paying no heed to the dozens of Democrats who plan to skip today’s speech by Israel’s prime minister before a joint session of Congress. Some are upset that Benjamin Netanyahu did not go through the White House to give the address.
Grassley, a Republican, was asked if Netanyahu was disrespecting President Obama. “No, not at all,” Grassley says. “We have a separation of power between executive and legislative. We can do whatever we want to as long as it’s constitutional and as long as it doesn’t hurt the interests of the United States and I don’t see a speech hurting the interests of the United States.” Grassley says the speech is generating “more controversy…than is necessary” and he’s looking forward to the speech.
Grassley says, “The joint session gives Congress and the entire American people, maybe even the world, an opportunity to hear directly from the leader of our close ally on the latest security threats from the volatile Middle East and from Iran.” Netanyahu was quoted Monday saying the Israeli-American alliance is stronger now than ever before. Grassley says he welcomes the input from this statesman on the growing number of threats in that region of the globe.
“The threats include the Islamic State terrorists and in regard to Iran, with the possibility of their acquiring nuclear weapons,” Grassley says. “I’m interested to hear the Israeli prime minister’s perspective.”
Iowa’s other senator, Republican Joni Ernst, does plan to attend the speech as well. Ernst released a statement: “As we face ever increasing global challenges, especially in the Middle East, it is crucial we recognize our relationship with Israel and stand behind our longtime friend, trusted ally and important partner for our nation. A nuclear Iran is a threat to Israel – and our nation – and we ought to hear from our best ally in the Middle East on this important issue. The United States must confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions and take the necessary steps to support Israel in their right to defend itself.”