"We Can't Wait": Speaker Johnson Demands Action On Border During 'Intense' Meeting

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Mar 01, 2024 - 04:05 AM

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has described reports that he was confronted by congressional leaders during an “intense” meeting over government funding and aid to Ukraine at the White House on Feb. 27 as “pretty accurate.”

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) makes a statement to the press as he hosts Israeli Speaker of the Knesset Amir Ohana at the U.S. Capitol, on Feb. 6, 2024. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Speaking to Fox News on Feb. 28, Mr. Johnson was asked by anchor Sean Hannity if there was any truth to the reports. The Republican lawmaker explained that he was definitely at odds with congressional leaders over the crisis at the southern border, among other issues, during the meeting.

Well, their reports are pretty accurate. They said that I was on an island by myself, and it was me versus everyone else in the room,” Mr. Johnson said.

“What the liberal media doesn’t understand Sean, is that if you’re here in Washington and you’re described as a leader that’s on an island by themselves, it probably means you’re standing with the American people,” he continued.

“And that’s what I did yesterday, I reminded the president, and all involved, that the number one issue in America is that open border. The catastrophe that we have, that President Biden himself designed, that he caused and created and I told him, just as I have many times before, he must address it with executive authority. We can’t wait any longer,” Mr. Johnson added.

Mr. Johnson was joined by congressional leaders including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) during the Feb. 27 meeting with President Biden and Vice President Harris at the White House, ahead of a looming government shut down.

Officials also discussed potential funding for Ukraine during the meeting, with the White House having repeatedly urged Congress in recent weeks to pass a $95 billion foreign aid package, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, and around $9.2 billion for humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

While the package was approved by the Senate earlier this month, it has been stalled in the House by Republicans who are at odds over its lack of U.S. border security provisions and the additional funding for Ukraine.

Lawmakers who attended the White House meeting, including Mr. Jeffries, later described it as “intense” while Mr. Schumer told reporters that he and all other attendees, had repeatedly pressed Mr. Johnson on Ukraine aid.

The meeting on Ukraine was one of the most intense I’ve ever encountered in my many meetings in the Oval Office,” Mr. Schumer told reporters.

Ultimately, lawmakers were able to strike a deal in principle and avert a partial government shutdown set to take place at the end of this week, although another continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels will need to be passed under the deal announced on Feb. 28.

Parts of the government would be funded through March 8 while the remaining would be funded through March 22, according to congressional leaders. A final text is widely expected to be available by the weekend.

Congress Must ‘Break the Cycle’

Meanwhile, a deal on extra aid to Ukraine and other nations remains at a stalemate.

Mr. Johnson told Fox News it is essential that Congress “breaks the cycle” in the way Washington works and “reform budgeting and spending” going forward.

U.S. border patrol agents process people entering the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on March 29, 2023. (Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images)

The House Speaker also stressed that Republicans will not give up the fight to ensure President Biden secures America’s borders.

The president has the executive authority to fix it right now, I told him at the White House yesterday one-on-one and in the group, I told him ‘Mr President, if you just issue an executive order that reinstates the Remain in Mexico [policy] ... the agents, your own border patrol agents, told us it would reduce the flow by 70 percent, almost overnight,’” Mr. Johnson said.

The House Speaker stressed the border crisis is a key issue for lawmakers, citing a rise in violent crime and murders, including the recent killing of university nursing student Laken Riley, allegedly at the hands of illegal immigrant Jose Antonio Ibarra.

“There’s no question about it, this is a very dangerous time ... America can’t stand for this any longer,” Mr. Johnson said.

Jackson Richman contributed to this report.