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Biden calls on governors to press Congress on immigration overhaul, Ukraine aid

Jennifer Shutt, Ohio Capital Journal,

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden used a meeting with the National Governors Association at the White House on Friday to press for assistance to Ukraine and bipartisan immigration policy changes, both of which are stalled in Congress.

“You deal with this every day, some of you deal with it every single day,” Biden told governors representing both political parties, referring to border security and immigration policy. “You have real skin in the game.”

Biden said the bipartisan changes to immigration policy and border security negotiated by a group of U.S. senators, which were blocked from advancing in that chamber, include “the most fair and humane reforms for legal immigration in a long time.”

“So if this matters to you, it matters to your state, tell your members of Congress, who are standing in the way, to show a little spine,” Biden said.

U.S. immigration law, Biden said, hasn’t kept up with the current state of immigration and is “broken.”

“And our politics has failed to fix it,” he said.

In a statement released following the meeting, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, chair of the National Governors Association, said the governors are calling on Congress and the Biden administration to work together on major issues in the country.

“Governors agree that overcoming our nation’s challenges requires working together — across party lines and across state lines,” Cox said. “We can’t let political division get in the way of good policy. We welcome the opportunity to work with the White House and with Congress on finding bipartisan solutions to border security, economic stability and other challenges.”

Help for Ukraine

Biden also called on the bipartisan group of governors to speak with lawmakers in the U.S. House and encouraged them to advocate for bringing the Senate-passed $95 billion emergency spending package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to the floor.

“Failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten in history,” Biden said. “It will be measured, and it will have impact for decades to come.”

Biden said the United States cannot “walk away” from providing military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine.

Such a decision would give Russian leader Vladimir Putin exactly what he wants, he said.

“America stands up for freedom,” Biden said. “We never bow to anyone, particularly Putin.”

Governors attending the meeting included Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox, chair of the National Governors Association; Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, vice chair of the group; Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little; Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear; Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills; Maryland Democratic Gov. Wes Moore; Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz; Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte; New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu; New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy; New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham; North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper; North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum; Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine; Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt; Oregon Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek; Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro; Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee; Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee; Washington state Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee; and Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Jennifer Shutt covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.

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