House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, declined President Obama's invitation to travel with a U.S. delegation to Rome next week for the papal investiture ceremony.
Obama, while meeting with House Republicans in the Capitol on Wednesday, invited Boehner to travel with Vice President Joe Biden, a fellow Catholic, as part of the delegation to the Vatican ceremony for newly chosen Pope Francis.
Boehner said he's too busy with the budget debate and plans to host Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the annual St. Patricks Day luncheon in the Capitol.
"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," Boehner said in a written response to Obama. "Unfortunately, my duties in the House next week...make that impossible."