Zelenskyy kicked off his visit on Tuesday by meeting with members of the Senate as well as Speaker of the House Mike Johnson to urge lawmakers to pass the president’s requested emergency aid package. Republicans are demanding changes to immigration and asylum policies in exchange for allocating further funding to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy told senators that he expected the U.S. to continue supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia. He also assured the senators that no U.S. funding would be corruptly used in his country. The Ukrainian president later described his meeting with senators as “friendly and candid,” CNN reported.
After he met with Zelenskyy, House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed support for Ukraine but reiterated that a deal on the aid package remained unlikely without “transformational change” at the border.
Following his meetings on Capitol Hill, Zelenskyy met with President Biden in the White House where the two leaders joined forces to urge lawmakers to pass the supplemental funding bill before the end of the year.
Biden said he approved an additional $200 million in drawdown funds for Ukraine but warned that the funds would quickly dry out. He urged Congress to pass the supplemental funding bill before the holiday recess, suggesting that if Congress failed to act, lawmakers would be giving Putin “the greatest Christmas gift they could possibly give him.”
In a joint press conference following their Oval Office meeting, President Biden insisted that there is “strong” bipartisan support for Ukraine in Congress. Biden said there was only a “small number” of Republicans who opposed Ukraine funding and insisted that those lawmakers “don’t speak for the majority of their party.”
Biden said while he couldn’t make any promises, the White House was negotiating with Congress to get Ukraine the funding it needed and he was “hopeful we can get there.”
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