Johnson says he will extend an invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Thursday he will extend an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress after members of his conference encouraged him to do so.

“We will certainly extend that invitation,” Johnson said on CNBC.

It’s unclear whether Johnson intended to invite Netanyahu to address both chambers of Congress or just the House of Representatives specifically. An invitation to address a joint session of Congress would require buy-in from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who sharply criticized Netanyahu in a floor speech last week and called for Israel to hold new elections.

According to a Schumer spokesperson, Johnson hasn’t discussed the possibility of Netanyahu delivering an address to a joint session with the Senate majority leader.

In response to Johnson’s invitation to Netanyahu, Schumer said in a statement: “Israel has no stronger ally than the United States and our relationship transcends any one president or any one Prime Minister. I will always welcome the opportunity for the Prime Minister of Israel to speak to Congress in a bipartisan way.”

Netanyahu has responded with sharp criticism of Schumer of his own following the New York Democrat’s floor speech, and also addressed Senate Republicans via a video conference at their closed-door lunch on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Johnson also revealed he has been invited by Netanyahu to speak at the Knesset and that it would be a “great honor” to do so. Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, addressed the Knesset when he was speaker.

The consideration of having Netanyahu address Congress also comes at a time when additional military aid to Israel appears stalled on Capitol Hill. The House passed a standalone military aid bill to Israel in November that the Senate did not advance because the House bill offset the cost with cuts to the IRS. The Senate passed a bill with aid to Ukraine and Israel in February, but Johnson has made no effort to put that legislation up for a vote in the chamber as House Republicans have mulled several alternatives for sending aid overseas.

House Democrats pointed to the stalled funding at a news conference Thursday.

“That bill needs to come to the floor,” House Minority Whip Katherine Clark said of the Senate-passed foreign aid bill. “So you can invite whomever you like to come and address Congress, but do the work that needs to be done.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.

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