WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama invited House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to join Vice President Joe Biden in traveling to Rome to be at the Inaugural Mass for Pope Francis.
The invite came after Obama talked to GOP House members on Wednesday. Boehner cannot attend because of the press of congressional business. His statement below.
From Boehner: "I am grateful for the invitation to attend the papal investiture in Rome with Vice President Biden, and would like to be able to join the trip. Unfortunately, my duties in the House next week - including hosting President Obama and the Prime Minister of Ireland at the Capitol on Tuesday, and the debate on the budget - make that impossible. I wish the Vice President all the best in his journey, and hope he communicates the prayers and warm regards of every American, especially Catholics, to the first pope from the Americas."