Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address Congress on March 3, House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday -- though President Obama does not plan to meet with him.
The House speaker had invited Netanyahu to speak to lawmakers about the threat from Iran. The announcement caught the president off-guard, as the invitation was not cleared first with the Obama administration; such invitations typically are coordinated with the White House and State Department.
Asked Thursday about the visit, the White House said Obama would not meet with him, citing the country's upcoming elections. Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said that in keeping with "long-standing practice and principle," the president does not meet with heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meanwhile, said it was inappropriate for Boehner to invite Netanyahu to address Congress in the shadow of that election and give the appearance of endorsing the prime minister. "If that's the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit two weeks before his own election, right in the midst of our negotiations, I just don't think it's appropriate and helpful," Pelosi said.
But Boehner cast the invitation as part of Congress' effort to stay tough on Iran, as the Obama administration forges a possible nuclear deal with the country. Boehner on Wednesday denied any suggestion he was "poking [the White House] in the eye," though White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted the invitation was a breach in protocol.
Boehner originally asked Netanyahu to speak in February. His office now says the prime minister will address a joint session of Congress on March 3. A source told Fox News the Israeli leader requested the date be changed so he only would have to make one trip to the U.S. before Israeli elections; he also plans to attend an AIPAC conference in Washington at the time.
Boehner had announced the invitation a day after Obama delivered his State of the Union address, in which he threatened to veto a bill -- backed by Republicans and some Democrats -- to tee up more sanctions against Iran in case negotiations fail to curtail the country's nuclear enrichment program.
Obama warned the legislation would "all but guarantee that diplomacy fails."
But Boehner told members of the GOP House Conference on Wednesday morning they would not sit on the legislation. "Let's send a clear message to the White House -- and the world -- about our commitment to Israel and our allies," he said.
Boehner signaled he wants Netanyahu to explain the stakes of the debate to Congress.
The address would mark his third appearance before a joint session of Congress and his second during Boehner's speakership. His previous addresses were in July 1996 and May 2011.
Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.