Biden to hold talks with the Big Four leaders in Congress as the U.S. heads toward a shutdown in just FOUR DAYS with no deal in sight

President Joe Biden is hosting the ‘Big Four’ leaders in Congress as they hope to strike a deal to stave off a partial federal shutdown in just four days.

Biden plans to discuss a path forward on spending amid a looming shutdown and make a last-ditch plea for the Senate-passed $95 billion foreign aid package to a hesitant Speaker Mike Johnson. 

On Seth Myers’ comedy show Monday night, Biden said he is being advised that a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war could come as soon as next week. That issue is anticipated to add even more pressure to the already high-stakes negotiations.

Biden, Johnson, R-La., House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., must come to agreement on spending legislation before Friday at midnight – when funding for four of 12 government agencies will expire.

And weeks ago the Senate passed a $95 billion bill to offer aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and the Indo-Pacific that Johnson has resisted bringing up in the House without border security measures. 

Johnson, meanwhile, is currently under pressure from conservatives to not dole out more money for foreign aid, putting him at odds with Biden and the other congressional leaders, who largely want to pass funding for Israel and Ukraine. 

After meeting with Schumer on Monday, McConnell told reporters: ‘No, we’re not going to shut the government down.’

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Biden is convening a meeting of the Big Four congressional leaders on Tuesday to discuss a path forward on spending amid a looming shutdown and make a last-ditch plea for foreign aid to a hesitant Speaker Mike Johnson

Johnson orchestrated the so-called ‘laddered’ continuing resolution, or CR, as a means to punt the funding deadline down the road on two different deadlines. For four agencies, funding runs out on March 1. For the other eight, it’ll expire one week later on March 8.

The House does not return to Washington until Wednesday evening, just two days before the shutdown. 

‘I think we should just do another resolution until like the 8th of March and do the whole shebang at once,’ Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., told 

Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine suggested ‘at least do a couple of weeks’ extension.’ ‘There is no reason whatsoever that the government should shut down,’ he told

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, predicted Schumer would ‘force’ a government shutdown for political purposes. 

‘We’ll see if Chuck Schumer and the speaker can reach an agreement or not,’ he told ‘I have long thought it was likely that Schumer in the White House will force a shutdown sometime this year, because I think the Democrats believe it is in their political interest to force a shutdown because the press will reliably blamed Republicans.’ 

Weekend negotiations for a spending plan on the first four agencies –  Agriculture, Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD – seemed to stall out – text was expected Sunday evening but was not released. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Congress would ‘ideally’ get appropriations bills negotiated and passed by both chambers this week, but ‘alternatively, we’re going to have to do another continuing resolution.’ 

‘I don’t think we should shut down the government,’ Rubio said. 

Schumer wrote a letter to colleagues Sunday night blaming House Republicans for the holdup. 

‘[I]t is clear now that House Republicans need more time to sort themselves out,’ Schumer wrote. ‘It is my sincere hope that in the face of a disruptive shutdown that would hurt our economy and make American families less safe, Speaker Johnson will step up to once again buck the extremists in his caucus and do the right thing.’ 

Johnson hit back to call Schumer’s letter ‘counterproductive’ and said there are ongoing ‘good faith’ agreements to reach agreement. 

He blamed the holdup on 11th-hour Democratic demands ‘that were not previously included in the Senate bills,’ including new spending ‘priorities that are farther left than what their chamber agreed upon.’ 

Democrats have been pushing for another $1 billion for the  USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). 

The House’s Agriculture appropriations bill would fund the program at 2023 levels. 

‘This is not a time for petty politics. House Republicans will continue to work in good faith and hope to reach an outcome as soon as possible, even as we continue to insist that our own border security must be addressed immediately.’ 

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is facing pressure from conservatives to not approve additional funding for foreign aid

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is facing pressure from conservatives to not approve additional funding for foreign aid 

Some right-wing conservatives have demanded border security provisions be attached to spending legislation, which could thwart any chance of passing both chambers.

But they’ve come around to the idea of another CR – with the House’s Freedom Caucus and other fiscal hawks advocating for giving up on appropriations talks and pursuing a full year CR. 

‘If Congress goes past April 30 on a CR, all discretionary spending is cut 1%!’ Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., noted on X of a provision that was named ‘the Massie Rule’ after him.

A one percent, across the board spending cut was written into the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the debt limit deal negotiated between former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Biden.