Biden Urges Funding for Ukraine, Israel After Stopgap Government Funding Bill Passed

Biden Urges Funding for Ukraine, Israel After Stopgap Government Funding Bill Passed
US President Joe Biden walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Feb. 29, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds /AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has applauded the passage of the bipartisan funding bill, preventing a looming government shutdown, but urged lawmakers in Congress to act quickly on a national security package granting funding to Israel and Ukraine.

In a statement published by the White House on Feb. 29, President Biden said the short-term stopgap funding measure “prevents a damaging shutdown and allows more time for Congress to work toward full-year funding bills.”

While the short-term measure is beneficial for the American people, President Biden stressed it is only a short-term fix and not a long-term solution.

The bill, which passed the Senate in a bipartisan 77-13 vote, will shift shutdown deadlines set to take place on March 1 and March 8 to March 8 and March 22, respectively.

“In the days ahead, Congress must do its job and pass full-year funding bills that deliver for the American people,” President Biden said.

“House Republicans must act on the bipartisan National Security Supplemental, which already passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and would pass the House if it was brought to a vote,” he added.

While the Senate approved the National Security Supplemental bill earlier this month, it has stalled in the House. Some Republicans are concerned about a lack of U.S. border security provisions, fearing they might lead to increased illegal border crossings. The proposed additional funding for Ukraine remains a divisive issue.

‘Intense’ White House Meeting

President Biden, in his statement, went on to note his meeting with congressional leaders at the White House earlier this week.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) were in attendance, as was Vice President Harris.

The meeting was later described by Mr. Jeffries as “intense,” with those present reportedly pressing Mr. Johnson repeatedly on aid to Ukraine after Russian forces last week captured the strategic eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka following a months-long assault.

Russian troops are now pressing on several other areas along the front line, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Mr. Johnson later told Fox News that reports he had been confronted by congressional leaders during the meeting were “pretty accurate” and that he had been at odds with those present, including President Biden, over the crisis at the southern border, among other issues.

The House speaker described the meeting as “me versus everyone else in the room” and said he had told President Biden that “the number one issue in America is that open border” while urging him to use his executive authority to address the illegal immigration crisis.

NTD Photo
House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks to the press after meeting with President Joe Biden and other congressional leaders at the White House in Washington on Feb. 27, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

However, in the Feb. 29 statement, President Biden, said leaders had “all agreed on the vital importance of supporting Ukraine,” during the meeting.

“That understanding must now be backed with action,” he said. “Every day that House Republicans refuse to hold a vote on the bipartisan National Security Supplemental, the consequences for Ukraine grow more severe

The U.S. leader noted that in addition to arming Ukraine against Russian attacks, the measure will also “help ensure that Israel can defend itself against Hamas and other threats” and provide critical humanitarian aid to “the Palestinian people and those impacted by conflicts around the world.”

“Because the truth is, the aid flowing into Gaza is nowhere near enough, and nowhere fast enough. Innocent lives are on the line,” President Biden said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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