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Biden urges Republicans to keep their word on government funding and Ukraine aid


By Kyle Feldscher and Aileen Graef, CNN

Washington (CNN) — President Joe Biden on Sunday urged House Republicans – particularly Speaker Kevin McCarthy – to keep their word on government funding and aid to Ukraine after he signed a bill that narrowly avoided a shutdown.

Speaking from the White House, Biden lauded the deal that lawmakers reached and he signed into law just minutes before funding was set to expire at midnight on Sunday. The president added that the same drawn-out, down-to-the-wire process was not necessary for the next round of negotiations ahead of the November 17 deadline to keep the government open.

“I’m sick and tired of the brinksmanship. So are the American people,” Biden said.

The president called on House GOP leadership to pass yearlong appropriations bills in line with what McCarthy and Biden agreed to earlier this year during the showdown over raising the US debt ceiling. Biden has frequently chastised the speaker for backtracking on that agreement by proposing spending cuts that go beyond what was agreed to in those talks.

Biden also urged McCarthy and other Republican leaders to follow through on a commitment to hold a standalone vote on funding for Ukraine as it attempts to fight off a Russian invasion.

The president acknowledged the lack of funding for Ukraine in the bill he signed Saturday night but said he couldn’t justify causing pain to millions of Americans by shutting down the government. He sought to assure Ukraine and US allies that American support is unwavering.

“I hope my friends on the other side keep their word about support for Ukraine. They said they’re going to support Ukraine in a separate vote,” Biden said. “We cannot, under any circumstance, allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted.”

McCarthy’s office on Sunday declined to say whether the speaker had given any assurances to the White House on Ukraine aid, maintaining in a statement: “Speaker McCarthy has been clear and consistent: we have an obligation to fix the crisis at the border and to ensure any request for further aid to Ukraine is matched with a sound strategy and accountability.”

“The House will continue to discuss these challenges in the weeks to come,” the statement said.

Following his remarks, Biden refused to comment on the impending drama over McCarthy’s speakership after Rep. Matt Gaetz told CNN earlier in the day that he will move to oust the speaker as soon as this week. Biden also wouldn’t say if he felt that he could trust McCarthy in future negotiations, only saying that he hoped the California Republican had a learning experience during the developments over the last several days.

“We just made (a deal) about Ukraine. So, we’ll find out,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question.

Still, it was clear that Biden was exasperated by the near-miss of a shutdown. He referred to the dealmaking as a “manufactured crisis” that would have caused millions of Americans “needless pain.”

“The truth is we shouldn’t be here in the first place,” Biden said. “We shouldn’t have gotten here in the first place.”

But, the president added, he wasn’t counting on Republicans to work swiftly on keeping the government open past November 17.

“I’m under no illusions that they’ll be back again,” he said.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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