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Speaker of House ready to discuss with Biden funding for Ukraine, Bloomberg

Speaker of House ready to discuss with Biden funding for Ukraine, Bloomberg Photo: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (Getty Images)

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is considering the possibility of direct negotiations with U.S. President Joe Biden on the issue of aid to Ukraine, according to Bloomberg.

It is noted that bipartisan compromise talks are dragging on in the Senate. For several weeks, a bipartisan group of senators has been working on potential changes to U.S. immigration policy, which Republicans have demanded as a condition for approving Biden's request for emergency aid to Ukraine in the amount of $61 billion.

Chris Murphy, the Senate's chief parliamentarian from the Democratic Party, previously stated that this group had not reached an agreement.

What Republicans want

Johnson insists that Biden adopt a series of conservative immigration changes, including new restrictions on the president's ability to exempt migrants from deportation and changes to the criteria for granting asylum.

The Senate negotiations have focused on more limited concessions than those demanded by Republicans in the House of Representatives, so any Senate agreement may not pass through the House of Representatives.

Johnson is ready for negotiations with the White House

Shalanda Young, the White House budget director, has been lukewarm about the idea of direct negotiations with Johnson. Young stated that the Republican leader in the House of Representatives needs to be more actively involved in the Senate negotiations.

“We have got to get to a deal, not start from scratch with new talks,” she said.

Bloomberg reports that Johnson still hopes the Senate will find an acceptable solution. Johnson is also considering the possibility of direct negotiations with the White House.

Democrats and Republicans diverge in opinions

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced this week that his negotiations with Johnson on avoiding a government shutdown on January 20 are progressing well. However, he noted that discussions regarding the border have reached an impasse.

"On government shutdown talks, both sides have been at odds on the overall level of federal spending in the current fiscal year. An agreement on overall spending is needed in order to write and pass funding legislation," the article says.

Democrats attempted to use budgetary changes totaling $70 billion to increase domestic spending. Johnson, participating in the negotiations, aims to make deeper cuts to unspent funds for Covid-19 and expedite the reduction of funding for the Internal Revenue Service, approved by Congress in Biden's signed inflation reduction law.

Situation regarding U.S. aid to Ukraine

Yesterday, on January 4, the White House stated that the United States no longer has funds to provide Ukraine with new packages of military assistance. According to National Security Council coordinator John Kirby, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the latest security assistance package, for which "we have authority over funds."

Recall that at the end of 2023, Congress failed to approve U.S. President Joe Biden's request for over $100 billion for national security needs, including over $60 billion for Ukraine.

The main stumbling block was the Republicans who refused to support the initiative. They insist that the White House incorporate their proposals for strengthening border security into its request.