Biden meets with Congress leaders in attempt to prevent looming shutdown, pass aid for Israel, Ukraine

US President Joe Biden is meeting with the top four leaders of Congress to press them to act quickly to avoid a looming government shutdown early next month and to pass emergency aid for Ukraine and Israel.

Biden is hosting House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. US Vice President Kamala Harris is also in attendance.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says Biden invited the leaders to the Oval Office meeting because he wants to make sure US national security interests are “put first.” She says those interests include continuing to fund the government.

“Look, what the president wants to see is we want to make sure that the national security interests of the American people get put first, right?” she said Monday as Biden flew to New York. “It is not used as a political football, right? We want to make sure that gets done.”

“And we also want to see that, you know, that the government does not get shut down,” Jean-Pierre says, adding that keeping the government open and functioning is a “basic, basic priority” of Congress.

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