Antelope Valley Press

Biden, leaders in Congress talk about deal


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden convened top congressio­nal leaders at the White House to underscore Ukraine’s security needs, a meeting that comes at a pivotal time as senators narrow on a landmark immigratio­n deal that could unlock $110 billion in stalled aid to Ukraine, Israel and other US allies.

But Speaker Mike Johnson and other Republican­s used the face-to-face moment with Biden to push him for tougher border security measures, with the speaker telling the president that GOP lawmakers were demanding “substantiv­e policy change” and insisting that the White House’s executive actions on immigratio­n had weakened the border.

“We understand that there’s concern about the safety, security and sovereignt­y of Ukraine,” Johnson told reporters after the meeting, which ran for more than an hour. “But the American people have those same concerns about our own domestic sovereignt­y and our safety and our security.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, also speaking to reporters after the meeting, stressed that Biden has repeatedly said he is willing to compromise on certain border measures and that any effort in a divided Congress must be bipartisan. House Republican­s have insisted on passage of a hardline border security measure that has no Democratic support on Capitol Hill.

“There was a large amount of agreement around the table that we must do Ukraine, and we must do border,” he said.

The White House called the meeting with lawmakers to brief them on Ukraine’s current need for weapons and other aid, which the White House described as “desperate” and “urgent.”

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