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Biden warns elected officials of Congress of the “terrible” cost of not helping Ukraine

Photo: Roberto Schmidt Getty Images via Agence France-Presse Joe Biden received the leaders of both chambers of Congress, the conservative President of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, and the Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, and, for the Senate, Chuck Schumer on the Democratic side, and Mitch McConnell on the Republican opposition side.

Julie Chabanas – Agence France-Presse and Danny Kemp – Agence France-Presse

4:13 p.m.

  • United States

Joe Biden warned US Congressional officials on Tuesday of the “terrible” cost of not passing $60 billion in new financial aid for Ukraine, but talks at the White House did not make it possible to resolve the situation.

The Democratic president organized a meeting in the Oval Office to try to convince Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, to release a vital package for Kiev and avoid a paralysis of the American government.

Congressional leaders have been relatively optimistic that a shutdown can be avoided, that is to say the shutdown of the federal administration when no agreement on the budget is reached in time. But nothing changed on Ukraine, with Mike Johnson declaring that the priority remained the wave of immigration to the southern border of the United States.

“The country’s priority is our border” with Mexico, and “we have to take care of America’s needs first,” he told reporters.< /p>

Despite the Ukrainian government's increasingly pressing appeals to the West for continued support, the United States has failed to release $60 billion in additional aid.

It is stuck in the House of Representatives, where the shadow of Donald Trump, the ultra favorite of the Republicans for the November election, looms large. He first calls for a tightening of immigration legislation.

Mike Johnson refuses to put the text in question on the agenda, which also provides for a new envelope for Israel, humanitarian aid for Gaza, as well as a reform of the American migration system.

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“History is watching”

“We told [Mike Johnson]: […] History is looking over your shoulder. And if you don't do the right thing, regardless of the immediate policy, you will regret it,” stressed Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

“It’s in his hands,” commented the elected official, just back from a trip to Ukraine.

In a letter, he said that Mike Johnson “cannot let politics or blind obedience to Donald Trump get in the way.”

Joe Biden hammered home “the urgency for Congress to continue to stand with Ukraine.”

The US president also “explained how Ukraine has lost battlefield ground in recent weeks and is being forced to ration its munitions and supplies due to Congressional inaction,” according to a statement released by the House -White at the end of the meeting.

Ukrainian leaders on Sunday called on Western countries to maintain military aid, two years after the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, 2022.

The White House, on the other hand, announced on Tuesday that “the United States will not send soldiers to fight in Ukraine”, while French President Emmanuel Macron did not rule out idea of ​​sending ground troops.

“Real progress”

The president, who hopes to be re-elected to the White House next November, must also face, just two months after the last agreement, a new threat of “ shutdown“, the shutdown of the federal administration when no agreement on the budget could be reached in time.

Part of the budget expires on Friday, the other a week later, the day after Joe Biden's State of the Union address.

The right wing of the Republican Party has made no secret of the fact that it would be happy if this ax fell.

Unpaid air traffic controllers, shut down administrations, frozen food aid, unmaintained national parks… The list of potential consequences is long.

On this point, Mike Johnson said he was “optimistic”, specifying that elected officials from both sides believe they can “reach an agreement […] and prevent a shutdown“.

Chuck Schumer hailed “real progress” and was “cautiously optimistic”.

The deep disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, mainly among the most right wing, are forcing Congress to function in the short term, illustrating the dysfunctions within the American institutional apparatus.

Congress has not approved any of the 12 spending bills making up the 2024 federal budget, which began nearly five months ago, on October 1.

The solution could again be short-term: maintain spending at current levels and extend the deadline, for the fourth time since the start of the budget year.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116