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January 21, 2015 President Obama warned Congress Tuesday night that he would veto any new sanctions legislation on Iran, saying it would derail U.S. negotiations in the Middle East. But John Boehner isn’t ready to sit out the battle over Iran’s nuclear program.

“[Obama’s] exact message to us was: ‘Hold your fire.’ He expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran. Two words: ‘Hell no!'” the House speaker said during his weekly press briefing on Wednesday. “We’re going to do no such thing.”

Instead, Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress next month. He didn’t consult with the White House before extending the invitation, and administration officials are not happy. Press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday afternoon that Boehner’s invitation is a breach of normal diplomatic protocol. Typically, a nation’s leader would contact the White House before planning a visit to the United States, he said. The White House heard about the invite from Boehner’s office, not from the Israelis.

According to pool reports, Earnest called the invite “interesting,” and when asked if the White House was annoyed because Boehner did not reach out first, he said, “No.”

Earnest said the White House is reserving judgment about the invite until U.S. officials talk to their Israeli counterparts. Boehner’s office confirmed that Netanyahu has accepted, and will give a speech to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 11. The date is significant: It’s the 36th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

The Boehner decision may be unprecedented, especially if the bigger breach of protocol is not that the White House didn’t know, but that the White House wasn’t involved in the invitation.

However, this isn’t the first time a House speaker has reached out to a world leader despite a White House request to stay back. In April 2007, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Syria to meet with President Bashar al-Assad despite the Bush administration’s objections. Pelosi wanted to start a dialogue with Syria, as diplomatic relations had broken down in the 1990s; President George W. Bush rejected such negotiation, saying, “Sending delegations doesn’t work.”

The speaker said in a statement Wednesday that he invited Netanyahu “to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”

A yearlong effort led by Secretary of State John Kerry to reach a deal with Iran to dismantle parts of its nuclear program failed in November, forcing the U.S. and its allies to declare a seven-month extension on negotiations. Republicans say these kinds of concessions—and any future ones—are putting U.S. security at risk, according to a House leadership aide.

Kerry said Wednesday afternoon that Netanyahu is “welcome” to speak in the U.S. any time, but learning of the prime minister’s next visit from Boehner’s office was “unusual,” reports CBS News’ Margaret Brennan.

Boehner’s invite adds fuel to a potential showdown between Congress and the White House over Iran, one that could lead to the first successful veto override of Obama’s tenure as president. Twelve Democrats in the Senate have previously cosponsored legislation to impose sanctions on Iran. If they continue to call for sanctions alongside their Republican colleagues, the Senate may have the two-thirds majority necessary to override an Obama veto.

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  1. TIME FOR POTUS TO ACT AS ‘COMMANDER’ IN CHIEF


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