Dalai Lama brings Boehner, Pelosi together

Chris Moody

If there's one person on Earth who can bring John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi together, if only for a moment, it's the Dalai Lama.

The spiritual and political leader of Tibet, who has been exiled from repressive Chinese rule in India since 1959, met with House members from both parties Thursday. The Dalai Lama is in Washington to celebrate his 76th birthday, and was invited to the Capitol by House Speaker John Boehner.

"Here in Congress, our commitment to the Tibetan people has always brought the two parties together. And I expect that it will continue to do so no matter how long it takes," Boehner said before introducing him.

Pelosi echoed Boehner's remarks.

"I'm very proud that we've come together under the dome of the Capitol a number of times to honor his Holiness," she said.

At one point during the press briefing, Boehner tripped on a cord behind the podium and the Dalai Lama grabbed his hand to steady him. The two exited the room arm in arm.

The numerous visits from the Dalai Lama to the United States puts the White House in a tough position, as President Obama juggles the nation's relationship with China, a major trading partner.

President Obama accepted the Dalai Lama into the White House last year, but faced criticism for holding a  brief, closed-door meeting. White House officials have not said if they will receive the Tibetan leader during this trip.

This year, Chinese officials blasted House leaders for receiving the Dalai Lama.

"We are firmly against the Dalai Lama engaging in activities aimed at splitting the motherland through overseas visits," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei, according to Agence France Presse. "We are firmly opposed to foreign governments or any political figures supporting and encouraging such activities."