House Speaker Mike Johnson Meets Biden for First Time in New Role

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
October 26, 2023Politics
House Speaker Mike Johnson Meets Biden for First Time in New Role
U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) listens during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 26, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.

The meeting followed a bipartisan briefing focusing on the administration’s request to Congress for increased funding for national security.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Mr. Johnson described the meeting, which is the first in his new role as House speaker, as “productive.”

“I enjoyed my visit with the president,” he said.

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed the press that Mr. Johnson had been invited to partake in a “bipartisan briefing with leadership and relevant committee chairs and ranking members.”

Mr. Johnson was elected to the position of House speaker on Wednesday, taking the helm three weeks after the ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the position.

In the wake of his election, President Biden congratulated Mr. Johnson and expressed his commitment to work with the new speaker “in good faith.”

Despite their differences on critical issues, the president stressed the importance of mutual efforts to identify common ground.

The meeting took place in the Situation Room, where President Biden also met with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) ahead of the briefing, according to a White House official.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and White House Legislative Affairs Director Shuwanza Goff led the briefing.

The primary focus of the briefing was the president’s national security supplemental funding package sent to Congress.

The White House has recently submitted two funding requests to Congress.

On Wednesday, one request sought $56 billion in additional domestic funding, including allocations for disaster relief, child care, internet access for low-income households, national security, energy assistance, addressing the opioid epidemic, and food assistance programs.

President Biden has also requested nearly $106 billion in aid for Ukraine and Israel, alongside other national security issues, in a separate request last week.

Mr. Johnson has expressed little enthusiasm for allocating additional funds from Congress to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

The new speaker’s first day in office included convening the House, which has been dormant for three weeks.

Lawmakers must now work to pass essential spending bills ahead of the crucial deadline of Nov. 17 to fund the government and avert a federal shutdown.

Republicans are also eager to resume their impeachment inquiry into President Biden over his son Hunter’s business dealings.

Mr. Jeffries expressed his eagerness for the House to get back to the business of government, saying, “Enough of the chaos, enough of the dysfunction.”

President Biden congratulated Mr. Johnson during a call after his election on Wednesday and said that it was “time for all of us to act responsibly” to fund the government and provide the requested foreign aid.

“We need to move swiftly,” President Biden said in a statement.

Former President Donald Trump backed Mr. Johnson’s speakership bid, calling him “a tremendous leader” on Wednesday.

Mr. Johnson also met with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday.

Mr. Albanese told reporters that he had a “very good” meeting with the new speaker.

Mr. McConnell touted his meeting with Mr. Johnson on social media, calling it “great.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Mr. Johnson on Wednesday in a call that the way to avoid a shutdown is a bipartisan agreement with Democrats.

Mr. Johnson, who has been in the House for less than 10 years, won the speakership by drawing on his faith, conservative background, and the endorsement of President Trump, a feat previous, more experienced leaders couldn’t achieve.

Democrats view Mr. Johnson, a lawyer specializing in constitutional issues, as a hardline conservative.

After Mr. Johnson’s election, lawmakers passed a resolution expressing support for Israel and condemning Hamas. They then addressed a stalled government funding bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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