‘Intense’ Meeting With Speaker Mike Johnson Over Looming Shutdown

After a meeting between House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and senior Washington officials at the White House on Tuesday to avert a looming shutdown of the United States federal government by Friday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told reporters that the interaction between the lawmakers was “intense.”

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly put pressure on Johnson to shepherd a bill to the House floor that Republicans and Democrats can pass to avoid a partial government shutdown on Friday followed by a more total shutdown the week after.

Jeffries also pushed Johnson to get an appropriations bill to the floor soon so the government can continue running with all of its normal functions funded by an act of Congress.

“It was an intense meeting. It was an honest meeting and ultimately it was a productive meeting,” Jeffries said afterward.

“We discussed three issues: First, the need to avoid a government shutdown and to fund the government so that we can address the needs of the American people in terms of their health, their safety, and their economic wellbeing,” he added.

“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 told reporters.

“At the same time, it may be important to come to an agreement that’s bipartisan and anchored in common sense, to extend the pending expiration of the eight additional bills that are scheduled to lapse on March 8th, so that good faith, tough negotiations can continue in the absence of a government shutdown,” the House minority leader continued.

Speaker Johnson told reporters on Tuesday, “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.”

“When I met with the White House and Congressional leaders today, my purpose was to express what I believe is the obvious truth: that we must take care of America’s needs first,” he wrote in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.