President Joe Biden will host Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House on Wednesday evening to discuss his supplemental funding impasse bill for aid to Israel and the Ukraine.
Other leaders on the invite list are Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. The president also asked members of relevant congressional committees to participate.
“I’m going to say to the president what I’m saying to all of you and we’ve been saying to the American people: borders, borders, borders,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday.
Congress is already busy this week trying to pass a short-term continuing resolution by Friday to avert a partial government shutdown.
Biden initially requested a $105 billion supplemental funding package from Congress in October to help Israel and Ukraine in their respective wars, along with securing Taiwan’s defense systems and the US’s southern border.
In the months that followed, the bill remained deadlocked in Congress, although Biden tried several times to increase the pressure. Johnson and Biden spoke on the phone last week about border security, which has become a major sticking point in the negotiations.
Congressional Republicans have called for more funding for the southern border and less for Ukraine. Democrats argued for the need to maintain aid to Ukraine, arguing that a Russian victory would pose broader threats to the state of global democracy.
Recent infighting in Congress has led to a near-shutdown of the government, the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and the disruption of congressional recess.
Johnson will have to find a middle ground if he is to avoid a similar fate to McCarthy. Conservative Representative. Chip RoyR-Texas, has already said a proposal to remove Johnson is “on the table” after the speaker announced a bipartisan deal on spending earlier this month.
Biden has used up every last bucket of his executive funding for Ukraine. The latest security assistance package for Ukraine was approved on December 27, according to National Security Spokesman John Kirby. No more US money is left for Ukraine until Congress approves the supplemental package.
“There is no magic pot of money. If we don’t get that money, it’s a real problem. It’s a real problem for Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken said Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
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