President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden may be overseas at the same time next week, the first time both leaders would be out of the country during their administration.
Obama is scheduled to make his first visit to Israel as president on March 20. Biden, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will also travel to the Vatican next week to attend Pope Francis' inauguration mass.
"But the fact remains that President Obama is President of the United States everywhere he goes," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday. If both men do happen to be away at the same time, it would not "in any way impact the day to day running of the country," he added.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) declined an invitation to join Biden next week, citing pressing budget talks in Washington.
"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," he said in a statement. "Unfortunately my duties in the House ... make that impossible. I wish the vice president all the best in his journey, and hope he communicates the prayers and warm regards of every American, especially Catholics, to the first pope from the Americas."