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Biden invites congressional leaders to discuss national security spending

Biden invites congressional leaders to discuss national security spending

President Joe Biden has invited Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to the White House to discuss a proposed supplemental spending bill for national security.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the meeting during a press conference on Tuesday.

“As it relates to the meeting that the President is having tomorrow here at the White House with congressional ranking members and leaders to talk about the very important supplemental requests that this President made a couple months ago at this point,” she told reporters.

A few months ago, Mr Biden requested that Congress pass a $105bn supplemental security package that includes more personnel to process migrants at the US-Mexico border, military aid to Ukraine, military aid to Israel, humanitarian relief to Gaza and resouces to compete with China.

But aid to Ukraine and Israel has been tied up in Congress for the past months. Mr Johnson passed a piece of legislation through the House of Representatives that would provide aid to Israel after the October 7 attack by Hamas that killed some 1,200 people. But Democrats opposed the bill because it strips money from the Internal Revenue Service that Democrats passed in the Inflation Reduction Act meant to ensure that wealthy earners pay their taxes.

Similarly, many Republicans oppose providing additional aid to Ukraine as it seeks to push back Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Capitol twice last year to request additional aid to Ukraine to no avail given that Republicans hold the majority in the House of Representatives.

Instead, Mr Johnson has said that Republicans would not pass any aid to Ukraine that does not also come with additional funding to restrict immigration at the US-Mexico border.

On the Senate side, Republican Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma have engaged in negotiations with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the only senator from a border state.

But House Republicans have vocally criticised the bipartisan negotiations despite the fact that no final agreement exists. Republicans in the House have said that they want their bill known as the Secure the Border Act to be the legislation to go to the Senate.


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