Standing with Israel
On March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress. I was proud Speaker Boehner invited Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress, and I look forward to hearing his remarks, particularly with regard to the ongoing situation with Iran. Unfortunately, President Obama has refused to meet with Netanyahu while he’s in the United States.
The Obama administration and other world leaders have been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program without much success. Last year, when an agreement could not be reached, negotiators extended the deadline for a framework agreement to March 1, with the goal of finalizing the agreement by July 1. I have grave concerns that, by continuing to extend these negotiations, we are only giving Iran more time to further plan and build its nuclear capabilities. The president himself has acknowledged the seriousness of this issue time and time again, and I think it’s time for the president to stand firm. A nuclear Iran isn’t just a threat to Israel—it’s a serious threat to the United States and the rest of the world.
This is why I’ve supported stronger sanctions on Iran. Last Congress I cosponsored and voted in support of H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act. This bill would have broadened economic sanctions in Iran, targeted human rights violators and increased oversight and implementation of the current sanctions on Iran. The bill would have also made it clear that the United States is committed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. The president spoke out against increased sanctions in his State of the Union address, warning it could ruin the ongoing negotiations. Additionally, solidifying the White House’s hard stance against more sanctions on Iran, the president threatened to veto a bipartisan, widely-supported sanctions bill that was negotiated in the Senate earlier this year.
The United States has a strong ally in Israel, and it’s imperative we do everything we can to stand with them to against a nuclear Iran. While it is no secret that President Obama has a different approach to these negotiations, I was extremely disappointed to see the president has refused to meet with Mr. Netanyahu while he’s in Washington. The president cited concerns about influencing the upcoming Israeli elections and asked to push back the joint session, but the prime minister was already scheduled to be in Washington to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. I believe refusing a meeting is a mistake on the president’s part, and I strongly support Speaker Boehner’s invitation to host the prime minister. This is why this month I joined several of my colleagues to write the speaker to reaffirm our support for Israel and thank him for inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to address both the House and Senate.
The United States has a long tradition of standing with Israel, and I will continue to support this relationship. I also have serious concerns about a nuclear Iran, and I am confident Prime Minister Netanyahu’s timely address will provide Congress with additional information and insight regarding the ongoing negotiations and the best steps forward. We must carefully consider all sides of this issue, and I think it would be foolish to ignore the input of one of our strongest allies.Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family.