WASHINGTON » House Speaker John Boehner says he’s turning down President Barack Obama’s invitation to be in the U.S. delegation to the installation of Pope Francis.
The Ohio Republican says in a statement that he’d like to go, but it’s impossible with his duties including the budget debate and hosting the Irish prime minister at the Capitol.
Vice President Joe Biden, the first Roman Catholic to be elected vice president, is leading the delegation. Boehner’s office said that after Obama spoke to House Republicans Wednesday, the president invited Boehner, who is Catholic, to accompany Biden.
Boehner says he is grateful for the invitation. He wished the vice president well and said he hopes Biden will send prayers and warm regards from all Americans, especially Catholics, to the first pope from the Americas.