At the White House, they are discussing avoiding the shutdown and helping Ukraine and Israel

President Biden tried to break the impasse on Capitol Hill over keeping the government open and providing aid to Ukraine and Israel as he convened a four-quarter meeting of congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Biden said before a closed-door meeting in the Oval Office. He added: “A shutdown would significantly damage the economy.”

On his way to the White House, House Speaker Mike Johnson was asked if there would be a partial government shutdown. “No, we will work to prevent that,” he said.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Johnson, Republican from Louisiana; Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and Minority Leader; Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and Majority Leader; Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York and Minority Leader; and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Lawmakers are running out of time to reach a deal to avert another partial government shutdown. The first batch of funds will expire at midnight on Friday, while funding for some agencies, including the Department of Defense, will expire on March 8.

“The basic, basic priority or duty of Congress is to keep the government open,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. “So that’s what the president wants to see. He will lead those conversations.”

Separately, Mr. Biden will ask leaders to bring critical emergency aid to Ukraine. For months, the administration has sought additional funding, arguing that Ukraine is running out of artillery, air defenses and other munitions. The bill also includes $1 billion in security aid for Israel as it tries to wipe out Hamas after the October 7 terrorist attacks.

Keeping the federal government open, however, appears to be the first order of business.

The spending bill is being held up by demands from hard-right House lawmakers, including measures to restrict access to abortion, which many members will not support. Ultraconservatives have brought the government to the brink of a shutdown or partial shutdown three times in the past six months as they try to get more spending cuts and conservative policy terms written into how federal money is spent.

The meeting came after Mr Schumer announced on Sunday that leaders had failed to reach a deal over the weekend because “House Republicans need more time to sort themselves out”. Mr. Johnson accused Senate Democrats of “trying at this late stage to spend on priorities that are beyond what their House has agreed to.”

The White House has stepped up pressure on Mr Johnson in recent weeks as Ukraine marked the second anniversary of the Russian invasion at the weekend. Mr. Biden continues to emphasize that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is a global threat.

Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, said on Sunday that he had spoken with Mr. Johnson. The speaker has indicated he would like to approve funding for Ukraine, Mr. Sullivan said, but is “trying to figure out a way to do that.”

“Well, this is one of those cases where one person can turn the tide of history,” Mr. Sullivan said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that the foreign aid package would largely pass with bipartisan support if accepted vote.

“At this point, it all comes down to his willingness to really step up and fulfill his responsibility at this critical time,” Mr. Sullivan said. “And history is watching.”

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