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Biden would meet with Johnson 'if he has anything to say'

President Biden said Monday he’d be willing to meet with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) “if he has anything to say,” cracking the door open to a potential sit-down after his aides had rejected the idea last week.

“Sure, I’d be happy to meet with him if he has anything to say,” Biden told reporters as he arrived at the White House after a weekend in Delaware.

In the same gaggle with reporters, Biden again took aim at House Republicans for failing to act on a national security funding bill that would provide assistance to Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“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,” Biden said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The two leaders last met when Biden hosted congressional leaders at the White House in January. Johnson told reporters last week he’s been requesting a meeting with Biden “for weeks.”

“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.”

But White House officials have argued there’s nothing for the two to negotiate and that it’s Johnson who has been inconsistent in his position on what he is willing to bring up for a vote in the House.

Johnson had maintained aid for Ukraine would need to be passed with significant upgrades to border security.

The Senate earlier this month unveiled a bipartisan border security package paired with national security funds for Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific allies. But Johnson declared that bill dead on arrival in the House, instead urging Biden to take executive action.

The Senate last week overwhelmingly passed national security funding without the border provisions, but Johnson again signaled the bill would not receive a vote in the House because it lacked desired border provisions.

Source: The Hill

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