Congressional Leaders And White House Put Pressure On Johnson

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) was cornered by three top Congressional leaders, along with the Biden Administration in Tuesday’s meeting at the White House, which was described as “intense.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) put pressure on Johnson to urge him to get House Republicans to pass the bill to avoid a government shutdown.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also put the heat on Johnson. Both Schumer and Jeffries described the meeting as “intense.”

“It was a productive and intense meeting,” Schumer said to reporters outside the White House. “We made it so clear that we can’t have the shutdown because it hurts so many people in so many different ways.”

Jeffries also felt positive about the meeting, calling it an “honest meeting.”
“I’m cautiously optimistic that we can do what is necessary within the next day or so to close down these bills and avoid a government shutdown,” Jeffries said.

In the meeting, McConnell urged Johnson to pass military aid to Ukraine, which has heavily depended on the U.S.’s assistance.

With pressure coming from both parties, Johnson has a lot on his plate. If he sides with Democrats and gives $60 billion to Ukraine, he could be ousted like his predecessor, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

According to a Republican senator who wanted to remain anonymous, the meeting was meant to put pressure on Johnson.

“When you can demonstrate it’s kind of three against one, you can kind of pressure or influence someone, and I hope that’s what he senses,” the senator said.

“This is a bipartisan effort to ensure that we’re doing the right thing and keeping the government open, and it’s okay for him to have a bipartisan vote” to pass funding legislation to avoid a shutdown, the senator added.

Nonetheless, Johnson reported after the meeting that he too was optimistic about avoiding a government shutdown.

“We have been working in good faith around the clock every single day for months and weeks, and over the last several days, quite literally around the clock to get that job done.

We’re very optimistic,” he said. “We believe that we can get to agreement on these issues and prevent a government shutdown, that’s our first responsibility.”

He also said that the House is looking at “various options” to provide aid to Ukraine, but protecting the U.S. border is a top priority.