A shutdown is approaching. Biden and Johnson’s lack of relationship isn’t helping.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and President Joe Biden attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 1, 2024. | Francis Chung/POLITICO
Published February 26, 2024

The Ukraine crisis escalates and a government funding deadline looms. The lack of history between the president and the House speaker could make things worse.

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Mike Johnson have virtually no relationship.

The two men holding the most powerful elected positions in the country have rarely talked. They don’t know each other. They are decades apart in age and miles apart in political philosophy.

Their lack of a meaningful relationship — let alone any relationship at all — has contributed to political friction and standstills over the past few months. But it’s putting an additional strain on the nation’s government this week, as both Biden and Johnson barrel toward another government funding deadline on Friday and into a third year of war in Ukraine as the underfunded country fights off Russia.

The White House has not taken Johnson up on his request for a one-on-one meeting but the two are likely to square off Tuesday when the four congressional leaders meet at the White House where the president plans to discuss both the supplemental and government funding.

In the lead up to the meeting, there have been few signs of affinity developing between the two.

For Ukraine funding, the Biden administration is engaged in a public pressure campaign to effectively shame Johnson into allowing a vote on the floor. For government funding, the White House is working with Democratic allies who control the Senate ahead of a potential standoff with the GOP House.

“It does matter that there’s not a more robust relationship,” said longtime appropriator Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). The administration, he argues, got used to the Democratic-controlled House often quickly approving its priorities in 2021 and 2022. Now, Cole said, “that’s not going to happen. And that’s a mistake and they need to get past that… We’ve gotta get to the point where they can talk to one another.”


SOURCE: www.politico.com

RELATED: Biden, Congressional Leaders to Meet at White House on Tuesday

Published February 25, 2024

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden will meet with top congressional leaders including House Speaker Mike Johnson at the White House on Tuesday in a bid to unlock billions of dollars in emergency aid to allies including Ukraine and avert a US government shutdown.

Biden “will discuss the urgency of passing the bipartisan national security supplemental and keeping the government open,” the White House said in a weekly schedule released Sunday.

Johnson’s office confirmed the speaker plans to attend. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries will also be at the meeting, according to a congressional aide.

Hard-line Republicans have balked at the more than $60 billion request for US emergency aid to Ukraine, the country’s main lifeline against Russia on the battlefield.

“We’ve got to get that money out the door,” Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said earlier on Fox News Sunday.

Sullivan said the administration believes the aid approved in a bipartisan vote in the Senate could be replicated in the House if Johnson were to put it to a vote. But the issue is particularly difficult for Johnson, whose tenuous grasp on the speakership could be at risk if he pushes for Ukraine aid.


SOURCE: www.bloomberg.com



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