Fri Feb 6, 2015 9:36PM
US Vice President Joe Biden has decided not to participate in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech about Iran at Congress.
The vice president’s office said in an email on Friday that Biden would be traveling abroad on March 3, The Hill reported.
“We are not ready to announce details of his trip yet, and normally our office wouldn’t announce this early, but the planning process has been underway for a while,” the office said.
As the president of the Senate, Biden should sit beside House Speaker John Boehner behind the podium for addresses by foreign leaders.
The announcement came while dozens of Democratic lawmakers have planned to boycott Netanyahu’s speech on March 3 to protest Boehner’s decision to invite the Israeli leader without consulting with the White House.
A number of American lawmakers formally said they would not attend the speech. Reps. John Lewis of Georgia, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon are among the lawmakers.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama would not meet with Netanyahu during his trip to Washington, according to the White House.
A State Department official stated US Secretary of State John Kerry also would not meet with the Israeli leader.
Netanyahu, who is against a comprehensive Iran nuclear accord, has been repeatedly trying to persuade congressmen to vote in favor of additional sanctions against Tehran.
President Obama has threatened to veto new Iran sanctions legislation.