House Speaker John Boehner has reportedly denied President Barack Obama’s request to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, the same night as the Republican presidential debate, instead asking Obama reschedule for the following day.
In a written response to the president’s request just hours after the date was announced, the Ohio Republican speaker said there would not be enough time Wednesday evening for Congress to pass a resolution required to receive the president, or for a security check of the House chamber.
A portion of Boehner’s letter is below:
As you know, the House of Representatives and Senate are each required to adopt a Concurrent Resolution to allow for a Joint Session of Congress to receive the President. And as the Majority Leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, September 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening. With the significant amount of time – typically more than three hours – that is required to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber before receiving a President, it is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks. As such, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership and membership of both the House and Senate, I respectfully invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8, 2011 in the House Chamber, at a time that works best for your schedule. We look forward to hearing your ideas and working together to solve America’s jobs crisis.
Thursday, Sept. 8 is the date of the opening game of the National Football League’s regular season.
According to CNN, a Democratic source said the White House provided little advance notice before publicly requesting the Sept. 7 date. One Republican source told the network they were not consulted at all.
“Arranging a joint session of Congress isn’t as simple as snapping our fingers,” a senior GOP aide told CNN.
Administration officials said Boehner’s office was consulted about the date ahead of time and no objection was raised, something Boehner’s spokesman denied.
Media outlets have reported that the speaker’s move to rebuff the president’s request for a joint session of Congress is essentially unprecedented.
This post has been updated since it was first published.