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House speaker Ryan among leaders expected at AIPAC

Minority whip Steny Hoyer is first Iran deal-supporting lawmaker tapped to speak at annual policy conference

US House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) speaks during his weekly briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, November 19, 2015. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)
US House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) speaks during his weekly briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, November 19, 2015. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

WASHINGTON — House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan will be among the top House leaders from the Republican and Democratic parties to address the AIPAC conference.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also said Thursday that Reps. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, the majority leader, and Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, the minority whip, will join Ryan, R-Wisconsin, as speakers at its annual event being held March 20-22 in Washington, DC.

Hoyer becomes the first Democratic lawmaker who supported last year’s Iran nuclear deal to be tapped as a speaker by the prominent pro-Israel group. The bitter debate over the deal pitted Israel’s government and AIPAC against the White House and much of the Democratic Party.

Until Thursday, all the congressional Democrats listed as speaking at the conference had been among the minority who opposed the sanctions-relief-for-nuclear-rollback agreement.

Hoyer is a stalwart of pro-Israel lawmakers, leading trips of freshmen Democrats every two years to Israel under the auspices of AIPAC’s educational affiliate, the American Israel Educational Foundation. He is often joined on the AIPAC conference stage with an equally senior Republican to proclaim that while they differ on almost everything else, they agree about support for Israel.

Also speaking is Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, the lead Democratic lawmaker opposed to last year’s Iran nuclear deal.

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and leading Democratic presidential contender, is so far the only candidate listed as speaking. She also supported the Iran deal.

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