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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Delivers Remarks After Meeting With Congressional Leaders And President Biden At The White House To Discuss Avoiding A Government Shutdown And Providing Support For Ukraine

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke with reporters outside the White House after his meeting with President Biden and other Congressional leaders on the need to avoid a government shutdown and for the House to pass Ukraine aid. You can view Leader Schumer’s remarks here:

Leader Schumer: It was both a productive and intense meeting, productive on the government shutdown.

We are making good progress. We made it very clear – the Speaker said unequivocally he wants to avoid a government shutdown. We made it clear that that means not letting any of the government appropriations bills lapse, which means you need some CRs to get that done, but, we're making good progress and we're hopeful we can get this done really quickly. There are little back and forths on different issues, that different people want. But, I don't think those are insurmountable.

The fact that we made so clear – that we can’t have the shutdown, because it hurts so many different people in so many different ways even for a very short period of time, was very apparent in the room. And the Speaker did not reject that, he said he wants to avoid a government shutdown. So, that was very heartening.

The meeting, on Ukraine, was one of the most intense I have ever encountered in my many meetings in the Oval Office. The five of us, the President, the Vice President, Leader McConnell, Leader Jeffries and myself made it so clear how vital this was to the United States. This was so, so important, and that we couldn’t afford to wait a month, or two months, or three months because we would in all likelihood lose the war, NATO would be fractured at best, allies would turn away from the United States. And the boldest leaders, the boldest autocrats of the world, the Putins, the Xis, the Presidents of North Korea and Iran would be emboldened thinking the United States was this soft, fat country that lost its way and will take advantage.

And so we said to the Speaker, get it done. I told him this is one of the moments – I said, I've been around here a long time. It's maybe four or five times that history is looking over your shoulder, and if you don't do the right thing, whatever the immediate politics are, you will regret it, I told him, two years from now and every year after that. Because, really it's in his hands. It's in his hands. We told him how important it was. It was passionate. I talked about my trip to Ukraine where I met soldiers who had Russian artillery in range with the drones they have, but had no ammunition to fire at them. We talked about four brigades who are ready to go in Ukraine, no arms, and how serious the lack of arms was. And it was the consensus in that room: Zelenskyy and Ukraine will lose the war if we don't get them the arms and we don’t get them quickly.

The Speaker brought up the border. We made it very clear to him that we want to do something real on border, and in fact we Democrats in the Senate supported a border bill that very conservative groups, including the Border Patrol Agents [Union], the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and the Chamber of Commerce were for. But [they] said to hold up Ukraine, which he admitted was a national imperative because you can't do something else which we all should work on was a non sequitur. There was no logic. There's a logic to solving the border, we want to solve it, but we have to do Ukraine right now because there’s a way that can get done quickly because that has broad, bipartisan consensus and the border will take some more work, which we’ll be happy to work on to get it done – but not hold up the Ukraine bill for it.