As Democrats have grown increasingly vocal in their opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington next month, Senate Republicans are laying out the welcome mat.
"During this time of such great instability and danger in the Middle East, the United States should be unequivocal about our commitment to one of our closest and most important allies," Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement on Thursday. "I hope all my colleagues will join me in welcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington so we can continue to work together to advance our common security interests."
In one of the chamber's final acts before members recess for a week, Cornyn introduced a resolution welcoming Netanyahu to the United States. It was signed by 51 of the chamber's Republican members and, initially, not a single Democrat. Cornyn said he would circulate a Dear Colleague letter to urge all senators to sign onto the resolution.
The Republicans' gesture comes as Democrats in the House and Senate have grown increasingly critical of Netanyahu's visit, which comes at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and without consultation with the Obama administration. Several Democrats, particularly Congressional Black Caucus members, have talked about boycotting the speech, and the White House announced that Vice President Biden will not be able to attend due to a trip to South America. Netanyahu's trip has also become a huge source of controversy in Israel, as his visit comes just weeks before he is up for reelection.