White House asks Congress for funding for Afghanistan and hurricanes


A general view of the White House in Washington, United States, July 15, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst / File Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (Reuters) – Advisers to President Joe Biden on Tuesday asked Congress for billions in new funds to deal with hurricanes and other natural disasters as well as the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan.

The White House said in a blog post that at least $ 24 billion in new money will be needed for disasters, including Hurricane Ida, and $ 6.4 billion will be needed for the evacuation of Afghans. and the resettlement of refugees.

The demand for Congress to pass a short-term funding bill known as the Continuing Resolution underscored the financial pressure posed by two crises that have occupied Biden in recent days.

He has also organized an upcoming showdown with Congress over whether he will fund all of Biden’s political priorities or even current government functions by raising what is known as the debt ceiling.

About 124,000 people were evacuated last month from Kabul in a US-led airlift of US and foreign citizens as well as vulnerable Afghans as the Taliban took control of the country during the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The evacuation was one of the largest airlifts in history, but thousands of Afghans at risk and around 100 US citizens remained behind.

Meanwhile, Biden was traveling to flood-damaged New Jersey on Tuesday, one of the many states to suffer from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. read more The president sought to highlight the financial toll of more severe storms caused by climate change.

Biden’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acting director Shalanda Young said in a blog post that part of the interim funding would go to unmet hurricane and wildfire needs previous years, even though the government is responding to Hurricane Ida.

She also said most of the funds for the Afghan effort would go to refugee treatment sites in the country recently overtaken by the Taliban, as well as public health screenings and resettlement resources.

The funding measure would give lawmakers more time to negotiate Biden’s proposals to spend billions of dollars on new social safety net programs, infrastructure and other priorities he wants to fund with tax hikes on companies and high net worth individuals.

Biden in May proposed a $ 6 trillion budget plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, reflecting a large increase that includes climate resilience measures. read more Lawmakers are also vying for separate legislation, backed by Biden, that would spend $ 1,000 billion on infrastructure and $ 3.5 trillion in social safety net spending.

Young said the short-term spending bill “will move forward towards a bipartisan agreement on smart, annual appropriation bills that reinvest in core priorities, meet the needs of American families, businesses and communities. and lay a solid foundation for the future “.

Debate in Congress is expected to intensify in the coming weeks over whether lawmakers will raise the debt ceiling, the government’s ability to borrow to pay for programs it has already authorized. The Treasury is expected to run out of money in October.

Biden’s Democratic Party controls the House of Representatives and Senate only by narrow margins, with the balance of power at stake in next year’s election.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt Editing by Chris Reese and Alistair Bell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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