It’s a joint meeting, not a joint session


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (or perhaps a translator) today describes his address to Congress next month as a "joint session," in a statement on funding for Iron Dome.

From his office’s summary of today’s Cabinet meeting:

A second item that I would like to note today is that before the onset of the Sabbath this past Friday, we were informed of the American decision to approve the $205 million necessary for additional development of the Iron Dome system.  I think that this is a very welcome decision in and of itself.  Iron Dome is one of the components in our active defense and it is clear that we welcome this.  But we also welcome the deep commitment of the American people, the Congress and the administration to the State of Israel.  I will give expression to this friendship in my speech next month to a joint session of Congress.  I think I will then have the opportunity to express our diplomatic and security principles in light of the dramatic changes that are happening in our region, our security needs and our national demands and interests in ensuring our future in peace and security.

It’s not — it’s a "joint meeting," which is what Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) calls it in his announcement:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced his intention to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to address a joint meeting of Congress during his official visit to the United States next month.

It’s an important distinction, laid out in this explanatory from the Senate (pdf):

The parliamentary difference between a joint session and a joint meeting has evolved over time. In recent years the distinctions have become clearer: a joint session is more formal, and occurs upon the adoption of a concurrent resolution; a joint meeting occurs  when each body adopts a unanimous consent agreement to recess to meet with the other  legislative body. Joint sessions typically are held to hear an address from the President  of the United States or to count electoral votes. Joint meetings typically are held to hear  an address from a foreign dignitary or visitors other than the President.

It’s still quite an event — as one can see from this list of "sessions" and "meetings," there are only a handful of both every year.

H/t: Rebecca Abou-Chedid, who brought the difference to my attention five years ago, when Ehud Olmert addressed a "meeting" that was described erroneously at the time as a "session."

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