The list of Democratic lawmakers boycotting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's joint address to Congress on Thursday is growing.
Progressive Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Summer Lee (D-Pa.) on Thursday said they wouldn't attend the event. They join fellow progressive Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
“When it comes to standing up for human rights, actions speak louder than words," Bush and Bowman said in a joint statement with Tlaib and Omar.
The statement blasted the decision to invite the Indian leader adding that "by bestowing Prime Minister Modi with the rare honor of a joint address, Congress undermines its ability to be a credible advocate for the rights of religious minorities and journalists around the world."
The lawmakers added that they "stand in solidarity with the communities that have been harmed by Modi and his policies."
"We must never sacrifice human rights at the altar of political expediency and we urge all Members of Congress who profess to stand for freedom and democracy to join us in boycotting this embarrassing spectacle.”
Lee, in a separate statement, said Modi's government "has targeted journalists, emboldened violent Hindu nationalist groups, and jailed political opponents."
"We are not true allies if we cannot push them to uphold basic human rights and religious freedoms," she added.
The statements come just hours before the Indian prime minister was set to arrive at the Capitol.
Modi's speech to the joint session of Congress comes hours after he met with President Biden and announced a slew of military, tech and health deals between the U.S. and India.
During the joint press conference at the White House, Modi brushed aside a question about human rights abuses and democratic backsliding in his country.
While Democrats in both the House and the Senate have urged Biden to address the issue of human rights in his meetings with Modi, the historic address is set to be a widely attended event.