Corker: Obama 'irresponsible' with Congress

Washington (CNN)Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the foreign relations committee, suggested that President Barack Obama's "irresponsible" manner of dealing with Congress might have prompted the Republican leadership to sidestep the White House in inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak in Congress.

House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli prime minister to address Congress next month without either side consulting the White House before Netanyahu accepted the invitation, setting off sparks in an Obama administration that felt snubbed. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the planning for the visit a "departure" from protocol and comes amid tensions between the White House and Senators of both parties who want to pass a bill authorizing new sanctions on Iran -- a harder line Netanyahu has publicly supported.
But Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, also suggested Tuesday that Netanyahu's visit would be less divisive by the time he arrives for his joint address to Congress.
Corker wouldn't take a firm position on whether the unilateral invitation -- orchestrated by aides in Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's offices -- was the right thing to do.
    "At the end of the day, that's not my call," he told CNN's "New Day". "There's a lot of water that will go under the bridge between now and the time that he arrives and my guess is we may be in a place where thing are aligned in a very good way."
    Corker is currently leading the push for a bill in the foreign affairs committee that would require Congressional oversight over an eventual deal with Iran while Sens. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) will push another bill through the banking committee next week that would hang a new set of sanctions on Iran's head if a deal isn't reached by the July deadline. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Barbara Boxer (D-California) also announced Wednesday that they are crafting a more moderate sanctions bill to counter the Kirk-Menendez bill.
    But by the time Netanyahu comes to visit, Corker suggested that Congress, the White House and Israel's conservative leader would likely be more in sync over how to strengthen the U.S.'s negotiating position with Iran ahead of an initial March 1 and final July 1 deadline for Iran to deal with the U.S. and five other world powers regarding its nuclear program.
    "He's incredibly concerned about a bad deal with Iran, very concerned about where these negotiations are going," Corker said. "I don't know that he'll be necessarily going against the President."
    That may be even more likely as Boehner's office announced Thursday morning that Netanyahu asked to push his visit back a month, now set to speak on March , giving him a chance to also address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's high-profile annual conference. His speech to Congress will now come just 12 days before Netanyahu appears on ballots in Israeli elections -- a visit that will bolster his status as a strong leader with firm backing in the United States for his policies.
    Netanyahu may also have to come to terms with information from his own intelligence service, which told a group of U.S. senators visiting Israel last week, including Corker, that a sanctions bill would threaten negotiations, according to a Bloomberg report and similar remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry.