Zelenskyy will meet with Biden as White House intensifies efforts to strike a deal on foreign aid

President Joe Biden invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the White House for a meeting on Tuesday and he has accepted, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and another White House official said Sunday.

Biden intends to “underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine” in its war against Russia, Jean-Pierre said.

“As Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the vital importance of the United States’ continued support at this critical moment,” she added.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have also invited Zelenskyy to speak at an all-senators meeting on Tuesday morning, according to a Senate leadership aide.

Biden’s invitation to Zelenskyy comes as the White House is expected to ramp up its outreach to Capitol Hill this week, intensifying its effort to secure further aid to Ukraine after the Senate recently failed to advance the president’s national security package.

Top Biden aides have been in contact with lawmakers directly involved in the negotiations, including Schumer as well as Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., according to a senior administration official.

Republicans came out against moving forward with the aid bill on Wednesday in a 49-51 vote along party lines. They were displeased that it lacked the immigration policy changes that they have called for as a condition for their support.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, voted with Republicans against the bill. He previously said he’d oppose unconditional aid to Israel unless Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government changes “its current offensive military approach.”

Senators last week resumed talks about border provisions, which Republicans have insisted be included in the foreign aid bill, after the measure failed. The lead negotiators — Murphy and Lankford — met Thursday afternoon, Lankford and a Democratic source familiar with the negotiations told NBC News.

Murphy said that the White House will get more involved in negotiations this week in an interview on “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“Of course, when you’re talking about something as complicated as border security, you need the White House engaged, because you need to know whether they’re gonna sign the bill, and you need to understand how the changes you’re making are going to be implemented at the border. So they are, and they will get more engaged,” the Connecticut Democrat said.

Murphy stressed that “we are not going to put Donald Trump’s immigration policies into statute” as he spoke about the battle over the border provisions of the aid bill.

He said there are too many people crossing the southern border, and that a resolution can be reached if Republicans come around to allowing people into the country “who are legitimately fleeing terror and torture and violence.”

Asked by host Kristen Welker if an additional $60 billion in Ukraine aid could change the outcome of its war with Russia, Murphy said he believes it would.

“Russia is going to have a hard time coming up with resources necessary to keep this fight going,” he said. “In the end, will there likely have to be a negotiated solution? Absolutely. But if we cut off Ukraine now, the outcome is certain.”


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