WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, leaders of Congress met with President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss a supplemental foreign aid bill and the southern border.
The supplemental bill, which includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, has stalled because Republicans are demanding changes to address the influx of migrants at the border before they agree to send more aid to Ukraine.
After months of meetings and negotiations, Congress still has not delivered the aid, nor has it passed any significant changes addressing the border.
President Biden called the meeting this afternoon to stress the urgent need for Congress to approve the funding, as well as the consequences Ukraine could suffer on the battlefield without additional U.S. aid.
Republicans say the situation at the border is going south. Wednesday morning, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R- LA) said Republicans are steadfast on transformative policy change to secure the border.
“Before we even talk about Ukraine, I’m going to tell the president what I’m telling all of you, and we have told the American people, border, border, border. We have to take care of our own house. We have to secure our own border before we talk about doing anything else,” said Speaker Johnson.
Democrats argue Republicans continue to stall aid for Ukraine by pushing far-right border policies.
Earlier this month, a group of House Republicans visited Eagle Pass, TX as part of a trip led by Speaker Johnson to see the border crisis firsthand.
“I can describe the situation in one word, and it encompasses everything: Sad. There’s sadness on all counts. Some sadness has been created by evil intent, and I’ll say that is the cartels. The other sadness is lack of response, which has been created by the Biden administration,” said Rep. Jack Bergman (R- MI).
Bergman says a lot needs to happen at the border. He believes a good first start is enforcing the laws currently in place.
“It’s largely policy changes at the administration’s level to enforce everything we’ve already gone on the books, policy and law wise. We’re only putting these things out there because the administration has not followed through on its responsibility of truly keeping our citizens safe and secure,” said Bergman.
Following today’s White House meeting, both Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress expressed optimism. Lawmakers in the ongoing border negotiations said they’re closer to a deal than they ever have been.
In 2023, federal agents encountered roughly 2.5 million migrants at the southern border. That includes more than 225,000 migrant encounters in December 2023, alone.