Biden willing to personally discuss Ukraine aid with top House Republican

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US President Joe Biden has said that he is willing to meet with House Speaker Mike Johnson to secure the long-awaited passage of a bill that contains funding for the provision of additional arms to Ukraine. “Sure, I’d be happy to meet with him if he has anything to say,” Biden told reporters on Monday as he returned to the White House from Delaware, where he spent the weekend.

The President said House GOP members, led by Johnson, are “making a big mistake by not responding” to the repeated calls from the White House that they should approve the administration’s supplemental budget request and meet Ukraine’s urgent need for resupply of ammunition in its conflict with Russia, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The way they’re walking away from the threat of Russia, the way they’re walking away from NATO, the way they’re walking away from meeting our obligations. It’s just shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Biden added. Johnson, who’s been withholding a vote in his chamber on a Senate-passed national security spending bill to squeeze out Democrats’ compromise allowing significant upgrades to border security, told reporters last week that he had been requesting a meeting with Biden “for weeks.”

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“A month I’ve been asking to sit down with the President to talk about the border and talk about national security, and that meeting has not been granted,” Johnson said. “And I’m going to continue to insist on that, because they’re very serious issues that need to be addressed. And if the Speaker of the House can’t meet with the President of the United States, that’s a problem.”