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Tags: biden | kamala harris | chuck schumer | mitch mcconnell | mike johnson. hakeem jeffries

Speaker Johnson 'Very Optimistic' on Avoiding Govt Shutdown

Speaker Johnson 'Very Optimistic' on Avoiding Govt Shutdown
(Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 February 2024 02:01 PM EST

House Speaker Mike Johnson was "very optimistic" after Tuesday's meeting with President Joe Biden and the other three top Congressional leaders that a government shutdown will  be averted before Friday's deadline.

"We have been working in good faith around the clock every single day for months and weeks and over the last several days, quite literally around the clock to get that job done. We’re very optimistic," Republican Johnson told reporters after the meeting with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

"We believe that we can get to agreement on these issues and prevent a government shutdown, and that’s our first responsibility," Johnson added.

In the meeting, Biden warned the leaders of the consequences of failing to move quickly to pass funding to avoid a looming partial government shutdown and send weapons to Ukraine, or face dire consequences.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Biden said in the Oval Office, with Vice President Kamala Harris at his side and the four leaders sitting on couches nearby.

The meeting left the president optimistic  of avoiding a shutdown, Jeffries said, according to Politico.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters at the Capitol that the meeting focused mainly on keeping the government open, “which I think we all can agree on.”

The White House meeting came almost two months after Johnson and Schumer agreed on a $1.59 trillion discretionary spending level for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

Despite that deal, Congress has failed to pass spending bills to fund the government, largely due to in-fighting by Republicans who control the House of Representatives by a thin majority.

Biden said he believed a solution could be reached on funding the government by a Friday deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, which he said would be damaging to the U.S. economy.

Ukraine funding becomes more urgent every day, Biden said.

"I think the consequences of inaction are dire," he said of Ukraine.

The spending bill is being held up by demands from ultra-conservative Republicans in the House who want to see spending cuts and policy positions injected into how dollars are spent. A group of hard-right Republicans has brought the government to the brink of a shutdown or a partial shutdown three times in the past six months.

Schumer and Johnson traded accusations in recent days over who was to blame for the stalemate. On Monday, Schumer told reporters that "Democrats are doing everything we can to avoid a shutdown."

The first batch of government funding, which includes money for agencies that oversee agriculture and transportation, will run out on Friday at midnight, while funding for some agencies including the Pentagon and the State Department will expire on March 8.

The government spending package is separate from the national security aid bill that includes Ukraine and Israel funding.

The House is under pressure to pass the $95 billion national security package that bolsters aid for Ukraine, Israel as well as the Indo-Pacific. That legislation cleared the Senate on a 70-29 vote earlier this month, but Johnson has resisted putting up the aid bill for a vote in the House.

The White House has ramped up public pressure on Johnson in recent weeks as Ukraine marked the second anniversary of the Russian invasion.

"What the president wants to see is we want to make sure that the national security interests of the American people gets put first and is not used as a political football," Jean-Pierre said. "We want to make sure that gets done."

This report contains material from Reuters.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


US
House Speaker Mike Johnson was "very optimistic" after Tuesday's meeting with President Joe Biden and the other three top Congressional leaders that a government shutdown will be averted before Friday's deadline.
biden, kamala harris, chuck schumer, mitch mcconnell, mike johnson. hakeem jeffries
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2024-01-27
Tuesday, 27 February 2024 02:01 PM
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