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President Biden urges governors, including Gov. Polis, to push Congress hard on immigration, Ukraine

February 24, 2024, 8:10 am

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as members of the National Governors Association meet with her and President Joe Biden at the White House on Feb. 23, 2024. At right are Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, NGA chair, and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, NGA vice chair (screenshot from White House webcast).

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.”

Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, vice chair of the governors association, participated in the event.

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.”

Polis thanked Biden for his “partnership.”

“This annual bipartisan gathering is an exciting opportunity to bring Colorado issues to Washington, D.C., while learning from each other and celebrating the important work being done to deliver real results for the people we serve,” Polis said in a statement.

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.”

The governors who attended 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
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on Colorado Newsline, which is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

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