Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘MAGA Mike’ Faces Intense Pressure from Dems to Fund Ukraine

'We couldn’t afford to wait a month or two months or three months, because we would in all likelihood lose the war... and the boldest leaders, the boldest autocrats of the world ... would be emboldened...

(Headline USA) Congressional leaders emerged from an “intense” Oval Office meeting with President Joe Biden on Tuesday speaking optimistically about the prospects for avoiding a partial government shutdown.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., meanwhile, faced a barrage of intense pressure from the gaggle of corrupt leftists, along with RINO Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky—all hoping to launder billions of dollars through Ukraine and back into the coffers of the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2024 election.

“The need is urgent,” Biden said of the Ukraine aid. “The consequences of inaction every day in Ukraine are dire.”

Along with the two Republican legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Vice President Kamala Harris were on hand to pile the pressure onto the newly elected GOP House speaker.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns also joined Tuesday’s meeting, fresh off a recent New York Times report that acknowledged his agency operated 12 secret bases in Ukraine.

After the more than hour-long meeting, Biden pulled Johnson aside for a private conversation.

Democratic leaders, upon exiting the meeting, continued to press their talking points about the dire need for Ukraine aid as, two years into the conflict, no signs of a diplomatic resolution have emerged.

Public support is fast evaporation, and many suspect that the government has been less than forthright in conveying its true purpose in waging the proxy war against Russia as, domestically, problems continue to compound.

“We said to the speaker, ‘get it done,” said Schumer. “I said I’ve been around here a long time, it’s maybe four or five times that history is looking over your shoulder and if you don’t do the right thing, whatever the immediate politics are, you will regret it.”

Referring to Johnson, he said, “Really, it’s in his hands. It’s in his hands.”

Schumer, who was joined by Jeffries in describing how the meeting went, called the session “one of the most intense I’ve ever encountered” in the Oval Office.

Johnson spoke to reporters on his own, without McConnell by his side. McConnell voted for a $95 billion foreign package earlier this month that would aid Ukraine and Israel, as well as provide humanitarian assistance for Gaza and the West Bank. The bill passed the Senate 70-29, but the Republican-led House has not acted on it.

House Republicans already rejected a border security provision that offered the appearance of compromise but would, in fact, have done little to address the dire problem cause by the Biden administration’s flagrant disregard for enforcing U.S. immigration laws. That measure was eventually stripped from the final product.

Johnson said the Senate’s package likewise “does nothing” to secure the U.S.–Mexico border, the GOP’s demand in return for helping Ukraine.

“The first priority of the country is our border, and making it secure,” Johnson said.

“It’s time for action,” he continued. “It is a catastrophe, and it must stop.”

Despite having thus far refused to bring the House’s H.B. 2 border-security bill to a vote for more than a year, Schumer claimed Democrats, too, wanted to tackle the problems at the U.S–Mexico border, but that it would take time and “we have to do Ukraine right now.”

In the meeting, “we made it clear how vital this was to the United States. This was so, so important, and that we couldn’t afford to wait a month or two months or three months, because we would in all likelihood lose the war, NATO would be fractured at best, allies would turn away from the United States, and the boldest leaders, the boldest autocrats of the world … would be emboldened,” he claimed, piling on the same melodramatic hyperbole that many Americans have become jaded to since the war began.

McConnell upon returning from the meeting called on the House to take up the Senate-passed bill.

“We don’t want the Russians to win in Ukraine, and so we have a time problem here,” McConnell said. “And the best way to move quickly and get the bill to the president would be for the House to take up the Senate bill.”

Apart from the national security package, government funding for agriculture, transportation, military construction and some veterans’ services expires Friday. And funding for the rest of the government, including the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, expires a week later, on March 8, the day after Biden is set to deliver his State of the Union address.

“It’s Congress responsibility to fund the government,” Biden said. “A government shutdown would damage the economy significantly. We need a bipartisan solution.”

There is no reason that the Ukraine aid bill would be tied to other government appropriations unless Democrats attempt a maneuver to link them.

The congressional leaders seemed more hopeful that they would be able to prevent any shutdown, though it may require another short-term extension to be passed this week.

“We are making real progress on the appropriations bills that are scheduled to lapse on March 1,” Jeffries said. “And I’m cautiously optimistic that we can do what is necessary within the next day or so to close down these bills and avoid a government shutdown.”

For once, Johnson was in agreement on that point.

“We believe that we can get to agreement on these issues and prevent a government shutdown. And that’s our first responsibility,” Johnson said.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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