Biden to host German chancellor amid Ukraine aid standoff in Congress

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Friday for a bilateral meeting that comes at a critical time, with U.S. aid languishing in Congress as Ukraine battles Russia and as Israel continues its military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House press briefing Thursday that he believes both leaders “will reaffirm their strong support for Ukraine” and discuss “finding a way to continue to help Ukraine.”

“I think they’re going to talk about the Middle East as well and what the situation in Gaza looks like — what together we can do as strong allies to continue to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself; that humanitarian assistance gets in to the people that need it,” he said.

Kirby also said the two leaders could talk about Houthi attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea. “A lot of that international shipping affects Europe directly,” he said.