According to a press advisory issued by Majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Leadership will host Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, March 3, at 3:00 p.m.
The meeting and photo opportunity will take place in Majority Leader McConnell’s office.
Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of congress is expected to take place about six hours later.
The timing and fact of Netanyahu’s speech to congress has been the subject of rancorous debate between Israeli and the American governments. Approximately two dozen Democrats have said that they will not attend the Israeli prime minister’s speech in the wake of serious pushback to the speech by the White House and State Department.
A few lone Democrats had extended an invitation to Netanyahu for him to meet separately with them. Netanyahu rejected that offer, one many believed was made so that those Democrats could be “excused” for their absence at Netanyahu’s speech to the full Senate on the evening of March 3.
The announcement issued under McConnell and Reid’s names suggests there was great pressure to avoid turning the speech into a purely partisan issue.