Biden, ‘Big 4’ congressional leaders to meet on stalled aid for Ukraine, Israel

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden will host top lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday to discuss his national security supplemental funding request, which includes urgent aid for Ukraine and Israel.

The $106 billion request made by Biden in October has been stalled amid fierce debate on immigration policy, with Republicans demanding stricter protocols on asylum and parole.

“President Biden will host congressional leaders from the Senate and the House along with key committee leaders and ranking members at the White House to discuss the critical importance of his national security supplemental request,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all received invitations to attend, sources told ABC News.

Biden’s supplemental aid request sets aside $14 billion for border enforcement, including the hiring of more than a 1,000 additional border patrol agents and asylum officers. It also includes $1.2 billion to combat the flow of fentanyl.

But Republicans are demanding more sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy, pointing to the influx of migrants at the southwest border.

Jean-Pierre, speaking to reporters during Tuesday’s press briefing, said they believed ongoing border talks are “headed in the right direction” despite the inability for both sides to come to an agreement.

Negotiations have been going on for months, and were carried on throughout the holiday recess by a bipartisan group of senators, but so far to no avail.

House Speaker Johnson has grown more insistent that the House should not accept the Senate’s work, and should instead continue to insist upon H.R. 2, a House-Republican backed bill filled with border policies the Democratic-controlled Senate wouldn’t support and that the White House would likely veto.

“We’re gonna continue to say Congress should act, they should act quickly,” Jean-Pierre said. “You know, this is about securing our border. This is about our national security and the consequences of congressional inaction would be severe. So, the president is going to have this all-important conversation.”

The debate has resulted in continued delay in aid to Ukraine in it war against Russian invaders. It’s been over a year since Congress approved major funding for the Eastern European nation, and the administration has said it is quickly running out of funds to continue providing aid to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a visit to Washington in mid-December to push for the aid, telling lawmakers he was fighting “our freedom and yours.”

Congress will spend this week working through a short-term funding bill aimed at buying lawmakers more time to keep the government open and avert a shutdown. But neither the short-term funding bill nor the longer-term appropriations bills lawmakers hope to complete by March are slated to include any funding for Ukraine or Israel.

The supplemental aid package would include $61 billion for Ukraine and $14.3 billion for Israel.

Schumer and McConnell, in remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, discussed the need to provide the aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

“At stake is the security of our country the security of our friends abroad including Ukraine and Israel and nothing less than the future of Western Democracy,” Schumer said. “We cannot afford to let these issues go unaddressed.”

McConnell called the package “our chance to expand our capacity to meet the national security challenges we face.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.

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