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Biden to meet with congressional leaders on national security package

Ukraine seeks more military aid
Ukraine struggles to defend against Russian invasion as aid dries up 02:15

Washington — The White House announced that President Biden will meet Wednesday with congressional leaders to urge them to pass a national security supplemental package that includes funding for Ukraine, Israel, border security and more.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president will host the leaders, along with key committee chairs and ranking members, "to discuss the critical importance" of Mr. Biden's $106 billion funding request. Jean-Pierre did not specify which lawmakers were invited.

The spending package has been in flux for months after congressional Republicans demanded that the Ukraine aid be tied to enhanced border security measures and immigration policy changes. Senate negotiators have been seeking middle ground on immigration issues, looking to attract a group of moderates from both parties to back the aid package. They've touted progress in recent weeks, circling a deal that would be a major breakthrough for one of the most intractable issues in Congress.

Still, the funding package's prospects in the GOP-controlled House appear shaky. Many House conservatives oppose additional funding for Ukraine and have made clear that they won't accept anything less than a House-passed border security bill known as H.R. 2, a demand that is dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Over the weekend, House Speaker Mike Johnson added to the apparent disjointedness between the two chambers, writing "absolutely not" on social media in a response to a graphic outlining potential provisions of a Senate immigration agreement.

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who's been leading the talks for Senate Republicans, later said in a social media post that he encourages people "to read the border security bill before they judge the border security bill."

"I also advise people not to believe everything you read on the internet," he wrote on X.

The supplemental package has taken a backseat amid broader spending talks as lawmakers look to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week. But with the White House meeting, the president may be seeking to inject new energy into the effort.

Jean-Pierre said the supplemental funding package continues to be a "top priority" for the White House, noting that the negotiations on border security are ongoing and will continue at the Senate level and are headed in "the right direction."

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