Most of Colorado delegation attending Netanyahu speech

KUSA— When Israeili Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress Tuesday, all but one member of the delegation from Colorado plan to be there to hear him.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) will miss the event. Her office told 9NEWS her absence will be caused by a scheduling conflict.

"Congresswoman DeGette has a longstanding commitment (to address several medical research groups) that conflicts with the speech," wrote DeGette's spokesman Matt Inzeo. "She is a proud supporter of Israel and its special relationship with the United States."

Despite pushback from the Obama administration, which views the speech at Speaker John Boehner's request as a breach of protocol because the White House wasn't consulted, the rest of the Democrats from Colorado do plan to be there.

"I don't agree with the timing or the way House Republicans handled the invitation to Prime Minster Netanyahu, but I feel it is important for me to attend as a Member of Congress," Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado) wrote to 9NEWS. "Israel is one of America's closest and most important allies in the world, and my support of the Israel and U.S. alliance is strong."

Republicans are casting the speech as a must-attend event.

"Shame on anyone, Republican or Democrat, who wouldn't stand with our great friend and dearest ally," Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) added.

"The United States should maintain a strong relationship with Israel, and whoever occupies the White House next will have to restore our relationship after eight years of President Obama degrading it," wrote Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colorado.)

For his part, Netanyahu sent a less hostile signal to the White House on Monday.

"Never has so much been written about a speech that hasn't been given," Netanyahu said. "My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office he holds. I have great respect for both."

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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