Mike Johnson Pressured In ‘Intense’ White House Meeting

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) recently had an intense meeting with other top government officials, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at the White House.

Johnson met with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and McConnell at the White House. The Democratic officials reportedly pressured him to garner support among House Republicans to avoid a partial government shutdown beginning on March 1, 2024.

McConnell joined Democrats in urging Johnson to rally fellow Republicans to pass an appropriations bill on the House floor ahead of a possible government shutdown.
Following the meeting, Jeffries told reporters, “It was an intense meeting, it was an honest meeting.”

Jeffries said the meeting with Johnson was “productive” and revolved around stopgap bills to fund the federal government.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we can do what is necessary within the next day or so to close down these bills and avoid a government shutdown,” Jeffries said.

McConnell joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in urging Johnson to conduct a House floor vote on an appropriations bill, threatening that if the Louisiana Republican fails to do as such, his speakership would be at risk.

Schumer said that during the meeting, Johnson said he “unequivocally” wants to “avoid a government shutdown.”

“[McConnell and I] made it clear that means not letting any [current appropriations bills] lapse, which means you need some [stopgap bills],” Schumer said, adding that the meeting “was one of the most intense I’ve ever encountered in my many meetings in the Oval Office.”

Johnson isn’t just facing pressure to pass appropriations bills, but members of both parties are urging the House speaker to provide Ukraine with $60 billion as the country fights against Russia.

The Louisiana Republican has a choice to make regarding the appropriations bills. His speakership could be put at risk if he sides with Democrats in passing the legislation.

In 2023, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from the speakership after he joined the left in passing an appropriations bill.

Johnson said he is optimistic a compromise can be struck.

“We have been working in good faith around the clock every single day for months and weeks, and over the last several days, quite literally around the clock to get that job done. We’re very optimistic,” he told reporters.