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More to follow. | Daily Mail Online

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Biden began the Big Four meeting with a warning about the 'dire' consequences of not funding Ukraine

President Joe Biden gave a stern warning about the “consequences” of not approving aid to Ukraine and Israel at the start of a White House meeting of “Big Four” leaders in Congress as they hope to reach a deal. to avoid a partial federal agreement. closing in just four days.

The “consequences of daily inaction in Ukraine are dire,” Biden said.

As for government funding, he told congressional leaders: ‘I’m sure you’ve got it all figured out. Jokes aside, it is Congress’s responsibility to fund the government.

‘A shutdown would significantly harm the economy and we all agree with that and need a bipartisan solution. “I want to hear the group and I want to hear all of you here.”

Biden plans to discuss a path forward on spending amid a looming shutdown and make a final appeal for the Senate to approve the $95 billion foreign aid package to faltering President Mike Johnson.

On Israel, Biden said at the meeting: ‘We need to take care of the Israeli part. “This also contains an important part that has to do with humanitarian assistance in the Palestinian area and that I think is important.”

Biden began the Big Four meeting with a warning about the 'dire' consequences of not funding Ukraine

Biden began the Big Four meeting with a warning about the ‘dire’ consequences of not funding Ukraine

On Israel, Biden said at the meeting: ‘We need to take care of the Israeli part. “This also contains an important part that has to do with humanitarian assistance in the Palestinian area and that I think is important.”

Biden, left, pictured with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, right.

Biden, left, pictured with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, right.

Biden, left, pictured with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, right.

‘We have to replenish Israel’s air defenses and we have to work to make sure that they do not face the threat of what is happening in the Middle East, not only from Hamas, but from Iran. ‘

On Seth Myers’ comedy show Monday night, Biden said he has been informed that a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas could come next week. That issue is expected to add even more pressure to the already high-stakes negotiations.

Biden, Johnson (R-La.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Senate minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., must reach a deal on spending legislation. before midnight Friday, when funding for four of the 12 government agencies will expire.

Also participating in the meeting were Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, CIA Director Bill Burns, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and a handful of White House and Congressional aides.

Also attending the meeting were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, President Mike Johnson, second from left, Vice President Kamala Harris, second from right.

Also attending the meeting were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, President Mike Johnson, second from left, Vice President Kamala Harris, second from right.

Also attending the meeting were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, President Mike Johnson, second from left, Vice President Kamala Harris, second from right.

As for government funding, he told congressional leaders: 'I'm sure you've got it all figured out. Jokes aside, it is Congress's responsibility to fund the government.

As for government funding, he told congressional leaders: 'I'm sure you've got it all figured out. Jokes aside, it is Congress's responsibility to fund the government.

As for government funding, he told congressional leaders: ‘I’m sure you’ve got it all figured out. Jokes aside, it is Congress’s responsibility to fund the government.

As he left for the White House, Johnson told reporters asking if there would be a government shutdown: “No. We will work to avoid it.”

Some had speculated that Johnson might allow the government to enter a shutdown as a bargaining chip for spending cuts. Some right-wing conservatives have said in recent days that they do not fear a shutdown.

And weeks ago, the Senate passed a $95 billion bill to provide aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and the Indo-Pacific that Johnson has resisted introducing in the House without border security measures.

Meanwhile, Johnson is currently under pressure from conservatives not to dole out more foreign aid money, putting him at odds with Biden and other congressional leaders, who largely want to approve funding for Israel and Ukraine.

After meeting with Schumer on Monday, McConnell told reporters, “No, we’re not going to shut down the government.”

Johnson orchestrated the so-called “staggered” continuing resolution, or CR, as a means to push back the funding deadline into two different installments. For four agencies, the funds will expire on March 1. For the other eight, they will expire a week later, on March 8.

The House does not return to Washington until Wednesday night, just two days before adjournment.

Weekend negotiations for a spending plan for the first four agencies (Agriculture, Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD) appeared to stall; The text was expected on Sunday night, but was not published.

Schumer wrote a letter to colleagues Sunday night blaming House Republicans for the delay.

‘[I]”It is now clear that House Republicans need more time to get their heads together,” Schumer wrote. “It is my sincere hope that, in the face of a disruptive shutdown that would harm our economy and make American families less safe, President Johnson will step forward to once again confront the extremists in his camp and do the right thing.” .

Johnson responded by calling Schumer’s letter “counterproductive” and said there are “good faith” agreements underway to reach a deal.

He blamed the delay on last-minute Democratic demands “that were not previously included in the Senate bills,” including new spending priorities “that are further to the left of what their chamber agreed to.”

Democrats have been pushing for another $1 billion for the USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

The House farm appropriations bill would fund the program at 2023 levels.

“This is no time for petty politics. House Republicans will continue to work in good faith and hope to reach a result as quickly as possible, even as we continue to insist that our own border security must be addressed immediately.’

Some right-wing conservatives have demanded that border security provisions be included in the spending legislation, which could derail any chance of passing both chambers.

But they have come around to the idea of ​​another CR: The House Freedom Caucus and other fiscal hawks advocate abandoning appropriations talks and pursuing a full-year CR.

‘If Congress passes April 30 with a CR, all discretionary spending will be cut by 1%!’ Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., wrote in X a provision that was named the ‘Massie Rule’ in his honor.

A one percent across-the-board spending cut was included in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the debt limit deal negotiated between former President Kevin McCarthy and Biden.

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