The Biden administration is calling on Congress to pass a stopgap spending measure for the upcoming fiscal year as lawmakers continue the appropriations process.
“[W]ith the end of the fiscal year rapidly approaching, it’s clear that Congress will need to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to provide more time for the FY 2022 process to unfold,” Shalanda Young, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote in an online brief posted today. “The window provided by a short-term CR will allow movement toward bipartisan agreement on smart, full-year appropriations bills that reinvest in core priorities, meet the needs of American families, businesses and communities, and lay a strong foundation for the future.”
As part of the continuing resolution, the administration is seeking $6.4 billion for the ongoing effort to resettle Afghans who were evacuated during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“We urge Congress to appropriate $6.4 billion to enable the success of this multifaceted, historic mission. The majority of the requested funds are for DOD and State to support processing sites overseas and in the United States and U.S. government transportation for our allies and partners between processing sites and the United States,” Young wrote. “The funding request also includes support for humanitarian assistance through State and [the U.S. Agency for International Development] to Afghans at risk in the region and targeted funding to [the Department of Health and Human Services] and State to provide Afghans paroled into the United States with public health screenings and vaccinations along with full resettlement resources and a path to enable them to build successful new lives here.”
Under a continuing resolution, the Pentagon’s funding is limited to the prior fiscal year’s levels and the Defense Department cannot spend money on new-start programs. However, the Pentagon can provide a list of anomalies, or waivers, for programs it would like exempted from the budget limitations.
The Biden administration noted the country has been battered by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. The White House is also seeking billions of dollars in relief funds for disasters that took place in the last year-and-a-half, before Hurricane Ida, according to the brief. Hurricane Ida recently caused flooding and widespread damage in Gulf coast states and throughout the Northeast.
“This includes disasters from the last eighteen months—such as Hurricanes Laura and Delta—for which there are remaining unmet needs, as well as more recent and immediate needs such as those stemming from ongoing wildfires and Hurricane Ida. Specifically, we urge Congress to appropriate over $14 billion as part of a CR to address the natural disasters that occurred prior to Hurricane Ida,” Young’s brief reads.
“We fully expect that Hurricane Ida will significantly increase the need for further disaster response funding, by at least $10 billion, including for programs such as the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery, Federal Highway Emergency Relief, Federal Transit Emergency Relief, Small Business Administration Disaster Loans, and the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund.”
The request from the White House comes as the end of the current fiscal year nears. Congress has until Oct. 1 to either pass spending bills for Fiscal Year 2022 or a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a shutdown.
“A short-term CR is necessary not only to provide Congress additional time to pass full-year appropriations bills that make bold, forward-looking investments in our future, but also to address the specific, urgent needs facing our country right now,” Young wrote. “I’m looking forward to continued engagement with members of both parties and on both sides of the Capitol to get the job done.”