Johnson ‘unchanged’ on Ukraine, border crisis despite pressure at ‘intense’ White House meeting

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R–La., is holding firm to his demand that foreign aid issues be addressed only after action is taken on the U.S. border crisis.

It comes after a so-called ‘intense’ meeting at the White House on Tuesday, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Johnson was pressured by others in the room – including by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. – to allow an immediate House vote on aid for Ukraine.

Johnson’s office insisted in a statement to Fox News Digital Wednesday that the Louisiana Republican’s position remains ‘unchanged.’

‘The Speaker’s message for the White House and fellow Congressional leaders was straightforward and remains unchanged,’ a Johnson spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.

‘We must secure our border and fund our government before securing another country’s border or funding another country’s priorities.’

President Biden summoned the top four congressional leaders – Johnson, Schumer, McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. – for a meeting to discuss government funding and his request for a supplemental aid package for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and humanitarian aid for Gaza.

Johnson, who met with Biden one-on-one after the initial discussion, called his meetings ‘frank and honest.’ 

Without referencing Ukraine specifically, he said about Biden’s supplemental aid request: ‘I was very clear with the president and all those in the room that the House is actively pursuing and investigating all the various options on that, and we will address that in a timely manner. But again, the first priority of the country is our border and making sure it’s secure.’

But the Wednesday statement to Fox News Digital makes clear that he left the meeting with the same priorities he went in with. 

Schumer told reporters after he left the White House: ‘The meeting on Ukraine was one of the most intense I have ever encountered in my many meetings in the Oval Office. The five of us, the President, the Vice President, Leader McConnell, Leader Jeffries and myself made it so clear how vital this was to the United States.’

‘We said to the speaker, get it done,’ Schumer said.

Johnson’s office did not directly address Schumer’s account in its statement to Fox News Digital, but the speaker has repeatedly called on Biden to take executive action to close the border amid a record flow of migrants into the U.S.

Biden, meanwhile, has insisted publicly that Congress must pass a legislative fix to address the issue.

A $118 billion package that included $60 billion for Ukraine and a host of border security measures was rejected by congressional Republicans earlier this year, many of whom said it did not go far enough in addressing the crisis.

Johnson himself said it would be ‘dead on arrival’ if it got to the House, but that was hours before it failed in the Senate with only four Republicans supporting it.

During their White House meeting Tuesday, the congressional leaders also discussed the upcoming federal spending deadlines on March 1 and March 8 as the clock ticks down to a possible partial government shutdown at the end of this week.

All four affirmed they were committed to finding some kind of deal on government funding by Friday but gave little insight into how they planned to do so.

‘The speaker said unequivocally he wants to avoid a government shutdown,’ Schumer said after the meeting. ‘We made it clear that that means not letting any of the government appropriations bills lapse, which means you need some CRs to get that done. But, we’re making good progress, and we’re hopeful we can get this done really quickly.’

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