White House asks Congress for $40B in additional funding
By The Citizen on August 10, 2023
The White House on Thursday outlined a supplemental funding request for Congress for the start of the coming fiscal year, asking for billions more dollars for assistance to Ukraine amid its war with Russia as well as money for domestic priorities like disaster relief and border management.
The Biden administration is asking Congress for roughly $40 billion total for the first quarter of fiscal 2024, providing short-term funds for key priorities as lawmakers are set to negotiate over larger spending bills.
“With the end of the fiscal year quickly approaching, today, the Administration is transmitting a supplemental funding request to the Congress to address three sets of critical needs for emergency funding as part of a potential short-term continuing resolution for the first quarter of FY 2024,” Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
Here’s a look at what’s in the administration’s supplemental funding request:
The Biden administration is asking Congress for a total of $24 billion in military, financial and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine. The request includes about $13 billion in defense funds to assist Ukraine: $9.5 billion for equipment and replenishment of Pentagon stocks, and $3.6 billion for continued military, intelligence and other defense support.
The request also includes $8.5 billion in funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide economic, humanitarian and security assistance, as well as $2.3 billion through the Treasury Department so Ukraine does not have to rely on financing through China or other “coercive” sources.
“The Administration is requesting supplemental security, economic, and humanitarian assistance funding that would support Ukraine as well as countries and vulnerable populations worldwide impacted by Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine,” Young wrote in her letter to McCarthy.
President Biden has been adamant that the U.S. will stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes” as the Russian invasion extends into another month. And while there is broad bipartisan support for Ukraine aid, some Republicans have voiced concerns about providing additional funds to the Ukrainians for a war with no end in sight.
The question for the White House is whether enough Republicans, particularly in the House, can be won over to back the supplemental funding request to provide another burst of funding for Kyiv.
A senior administration official told reporters that there is enough funding already approved for Ukraine aid to last through the end of the current fiscal year. The official added that the White House “won’t be bashful” about going back to Congress to ask for more funding in the future.
The White House is requesting $12 billion in supplemental funds to ensure the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has enough money to respond to natural disasters, as well as to handle future disasters.
FEMA is projected to have a “significant deficit” in its disaster relief fund, officials said. The $12 billion would help address ongoing disaster response recovery efforts at a time when wildfires have destroyed parts of Hawaii and hurricane season is on the horizon.
A senior administration official said the funding request reflects both current needs and “our best projections” of what is expected to be required.
In addition, the administration is asking for $45 million through the Department of Agriculture and $15 million through the Department of Interior to implement wildland firefighter pay increases for the first quarter of fiscal 2024.
Border and migration
The administration is requesting roughly $4 billion total in supplemental funding for border and migration efforts, an ask that may help to win over some GOP supporters who would otherwise be skeptical of approving more spending.
The White House is specifically asking for $2.65 billion in funding through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Of that, $2.2 billion would be allocated for border management operations and shelter and services for migrants released from DHS custody.
An additional $416 million through DHS would be for nonintrusive inspection system deployment and other measures meant to counter fentanyl trafficking.
The administration is also asking for $59 million for the Executive Office for Immigration Review immigration judge teams and for fentanyl testing, tracing, networking targeting and data systems.
White House officials have argued they inherited a broken immigration system and have been working to streamline it to make it more humane while also getting the flow of migrants under control.
Young, in her letter to McCarthy, wrote that the administration’s plan is “working as intended,” but the additional funds are needed.
“We are operating within a fundamentally broken immigration system–everyone agrees on that point–but only the Congress has the power to update our immigration and asylum laws, and we continue to stand ready to work with the Congress on solutions,” Young wrote.