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Biden meets with Meloni as her Italian coalition risks rupture over Ukraine

Right-wing premier Giorgia Meloni backs continued aid for Ukraine, while coalition partner Matteo Salvini and his far-right League party have historical and personal ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is hosting Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni on Friday for talks at the White House as the Democratic U.S. leader struggles to persuade House Republicans to pass legislation that would replenish aid to Ukraine and as both leaders face political headwinds at home.

Biden has sought to assure European leaders that the U.S. remains behind Ukraine even as he’s been unable to win passage of a supplemental foreign-aid package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine in addition to $35 billion for Israel and Taiwan. The legislation has passed the Senate, but Republican Speaker Mike Johnson has refused to put it up for a vote in the House.

From the archives (January 2024): Bipartisan deal on border and Ukraine at risk of collapse as Trump presses Senate Republicans to walk away

Ahead of Meloni’s visit, White House officials said they don’t have good answers for allies about finding an end to the impasse with House Republicans and reopening the American spigot of aid to Kyiv that’s badly needed as Ukraine tries to fend off Russia’s invasion.

“It’s obviously having a demonstrable impact not just on our national security but the security of allies and partners around the world,” White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton said.

Biden, along with top Democrats and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, strongly urged Johnson during a White House meeting this week to take up the foreign-aid package, but Johnson responded by saying that Congress “must take care of America’s needs first.”

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Also read: ‘Dramatic transition’ on tap for Republicans as McConnell cedes Senate reins and Trump locks down control of party

Plus: Funds to assist Ukraine are mostly spent in U.S., emphasizes Biden

Friday’s meeting is the second between Biden and Meloni in about seven months. Both leaders are grappling with war in the Middle East and Europe and looking to shore up their public standing.