Speaker Johnson floats meeting with Biden on border crisis

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is weighing the possibility of directly negotiating with the White House on border security, a source familiar told Fox News Digital.

The idea was raised on a private call between Johnson and first-term House Republican lawmakers on Thursday evening. 

Johnson said he was considering it, the source said, emphasizing that the main discussions right now were still between the Senate and the White House.

A second source familiar with the call said Johnson discussed several potential courses of action regarding the border. “He is good at explaining what he thinks his options are,” the second source said, adding that such an ability is “helpful.”

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Johnson kicked off the new year with an emphasis on the crisis, leading what the House GOP says is the largest Congressional delegation to the southern border in U.S. history. 

More than 60 Republicans joined Johnson for a tour of the border section near Eagle Pass, Texas, and meetings with officials on the ground, as bipartisan Senate negotiators try to hash out a deal on border policy and immigration reform with the Biden administration. Republican leaders have made clear that such measures would be necessary to win GOP support for Democrats’ $110 billion supplemental funding request for Ukraine, Israel and other causes.

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While in Texas, Johnson reiterated that the House would not consider anything less than the GOP’s H.R. 2 border security bill. He called H.R.2, which the White House and Senate Democrats have already panned as a nonstarter, the “necessary ingredient.”

As those talks continue, the worsening crisis has prompted growing calls among Republicans to also leverage the upcoming government shutdown deadlines in a bid to force Democrats to act.

Meanwhile, President Biden is facing bipartisan pressure to do something about the worsening situation. December saw more than 300,000 migrants encountered at the U.S. border with Mexico, the highest number ever recorded for a single month.

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Johnson spokesman Raj Shah took aim at the White House on Friday morning for accusing the House GOP of blocking border funding. In a three-page memo, he argued that funding for border and immigration operations has gone up while average monthly encounters at the southern border have also risen.

“From the start of President Biden’s term, House Republicans have voted for significant year over year funding increases for Border Patrol and ICE beyond what his administration has requested. And from the start of President Biden’s term, his Administration has implemented policies that have undermined security and created a humanitarian crisis at the Southern border,” Shah wrote. “Now, in a desperate attempt to shift blame for a crisis their policies have induced, they have argued it’s a funding problem.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House to ask whether Biden would meet with Johnson but did not immediately hear back.

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