Nearly two dozen congressional Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday urging him to delay Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress next month until after Israel's elections and the deadline for nuclear negotiations with Iran had passed.
Netanyahu's speech, scheduled for March 3, would come as President Barack Obama has urged Congress to hold off on passing additional sanctions against Iran while the United States tries to work out a long-term nuclear deal with the country. The lawmakers said that Boehner's invitation seemed to be an attempt to gain support for new sanctions and had the "potential to harm U.S. foreign policy."
"The invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu enlists a foreign leader to influence a Presidential policy initiative," reads the letter. "We should be able to disagree on foreign policy within our American political system and without undermining the presidency."
The lawmakers also said that the speech, scheduled just two weeks before the Israeli elections, seemed to be an effort to give Netanyahu a political tool to boost his fortunes in his home country. Obama has said that he will not meet with Netanyahu because of his visit's proximity to the Israeli elections.
Netanyahu defended the speech earlier this month, saying that he didn't have a personal dispute with Obama, but wanted "to speak up for the very survival of my country."
Even if Boehner declines to postpone the speech, a number of Democrats have already said that they won't attend.
Read the full letter to Boehner below: