No Congress address, US tells PM Narendra Modi

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 09, 2014 22:43 IST

Making it official, US House of Representatives speaker John Boehner in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that an invitation for addressing the joint session of US Congress can’t be extended to him as lawmakers won’t be around to hear him.

Lawmakers up for re-election, for one, want to be back in their constituencies for the November elections — all of the House of Representatives and a third of the senate. And both parties want to avoid dealing with politically explosive issues such as immigration in the dying days of this Congress, and leave it for the freshly elected/re-elected members.

In short: Congress won’t be in session around Modi’s visit.

“If not for the unpredictability of the House schedule in late September of this year, an invitation for you to address a joint meeting (of congress) during your upcoming trip to the US would have been extended,” said Boehner in the letter on July 30.

The speaker, however, went on to extend an open invitation to the PM: “I would be very interested in exploring with you the possibility of a visit to the US Capitol and an address to a joint meeting of Congress should your travels bring you back to our country in the months and years ahead.”

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