Boehner, McConnell skipping state dinner with Chinese leader

Three top congressional leaders are skipping a state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao in what may be perceived by China as a snub.

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) all said "thanks, but no thanks" to White House invitations for the dinner.

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Reid and BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE are expected to meet with Hu during a separate meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a vocal critic of China on human-rights issues, is attending the state dinner, only the third thrown by President Obama.

An aide to Reid said the majority leader is flying back from Nevada to Washington on Wednesday so he can meet with Hu on Thursday.

An aide to McConnell said the GOP leader could not make the dinner because he has a series of events in Kentucky. The Senate is in recess this week.

The White House on Tuesday indicated it wanted congressional leaders to attend the dinner. “We hope that because of the importance of the relationship that they would attend,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

He said he did not know why Boehner declined the invitation.

Boehner offered a “diplomatic answer” to a question about why he declined the invitation while speaking to reporters on Wednesday, according to a report by ABC News.

“Without accepting most of that question, the president of China is coming to the Hill on Thursday. We’re going to meet with him in a bipartisan fashion and I look forward to seeing him in the future.”