Biden Begging To Avoid Government Shutdown

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – On Tuesday, President Joe Biden is scheduled to hold discussions with leading figures from both the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress. This meeting is crucial as it seeks to prevent a partial government shutdown that looms just four days away. Additionally, President Biden aims to encourage Congress to approve funding assistance for Ukraine and Israel.

This engagement with Congress is particularly significant, coming nearly two months after an agreement was reached by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. They had settled on a discretionary spending budget of $1.59 trillion for the fiscal year that started on October 1st.

However, despite this agreement, Congress has struggled with its fundamental responsibility of ensuring the government is funded, primarily due to internal disagreements among House Republicans, who hold a slim majority.

The White House has emphasized the importance of Congress’s role in keeping the government operational. “Keeping the government open is a basic, basic priority or duty of Congress,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre stated, underlining the President’s expectation for the upcoming discussions.

The progression of the spending bill is currently stalled, largely because of demands from a faction of ultra-conservative House Republicans. They are pushing for reductions in spending and the incorporation of specific policy stances into the allocation of funds. This group has nearly caused the government to shut down or partially shut down three times in the last six months.

The blame for the deadlock has been a point of contention between Schumer and Johnson, with Schumer asserting that Democrats are actively working to avert a shutdown. The deadline for the first segment of government funding, which includes allocations for the departments of agriculture and transportation, is fast approaching, with an expiration date set for this Friday at midnight. Additional funding, including that for the Pentagon and the State Department, is set to expire on March 8th.

While the discussion on government spending continues, the aid package for national security, which encompasses support for Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region, stands as a separate matter. President Biden is expected to advocate for both issues during his meeting. The national security package, valued at $95 billion, has already passed the Senate but faces resistance from Johnson regarding a House vote.

The White House has intensified its public campaign against Johnson, especially as Ukraine commemorates the second anniversary of the Russian invasion. The administration is keen on ensuring that America’s national security interests are prioritized and not diminished to mere political leverage. “We want to make sure that the national security interests of the American people gets put first and is not used as a political football,” Jean-Pierre remarked, highlighting the administration’s stance on the matter.

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