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Speaker Johnson Holds Firm On 'Transformative' Border Security During Zelenskyy Visit To DC

'The issue is with the White House and the Senate'

Speaker Johnson Holds Firm On 'Transformative' Border Security During Zelenskyy Visit To DC

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson reiterated the House's stance on ensuring "transformative" border security in exchange for future aid to Ukraine during President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Tuesday visit to Washington.

Johnson spoke with reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday after the Ukrainian president met with the Senate and President Joe Biden.

"I've made this very clear ... from the very beginning, when I was handed the gavel, we needed clarity on what we're doing in Ukraine, and how we'll have proper oversight of the spending of precious taxpayer dollars of the American citizens," Johnson said. "And we needed transformative change at the border."

"Thus far, we've got neither," the Speaker said. "The Senate has been MIA on this."

Johnson referenced the House's Secure the Border Act of 2023, which passed in May under former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.

"It's been sitting and collecting dust on Chuck Schumer's desk," Johnson said. "I have told him personally, I have told the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, that these are our conditions because these are the conditions of the American people."

"We are resolute on that," he added. "It is not the House's issue right now. The issue is with the White House and the Senate. I implore them to do their job because time is urgent, and we do want them to do the right thing here."

During Zelenskyy's Tuesday visit with Biden, the President demanded Republicans pass an aid package "before they give Putin the greatest Christmas gift they could possibly give him," per Axios.

"Russian loyalists in Moscow celebrated when Republicans voted to block Ukraine's aid last week," Biden said of efforts to curb Ukrainian aid. "If you're being celebrated by Russian propagandists, it might be time to rethink what you are doing."

Last week, Speaker Johnson sent a letter to the White House demanding an "enactment of transformative change to our nation's border security laws."

The Speaker noted the House had passed the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act on Nov. 2, which reallocated funds set aside by the Biden administration to expand the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide aid to Israel in the wake of the attack on the Jewish state by Islamic militant group Hamas. The bill was unanimously rejected by Senate Democrats.

Johnson also referenced the House Republican position on Ukraine funding, which he previously articulated to Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young along with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and other key leaders on Oct. 26, requiring border security and "critical answers" for future aid to Ukraine.

"The open U.S. border is an unconscionable and unsustainable catastrophe, and we have a moral responsibility to insist this madness stops immediately," he continued. "Rather than engaging with Congressional Republicans to discuss logical reforms, the Biden Administration has ignored realty, choosing instead to engage in political posturing."

"We stand ready and willing to work with the Administration on a robust border security package that protects the interests of the American people," Johnson concluded. "It is well past time for the Administration to meaningfully engage with us."

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