The White House is offering billions of dollars in additional funding for disaster relief and other programs, which it calls on Congress to attach to a continuing, short-term resolution that will be critical to avert a government shutdown to the end of the month.
“With the end of the fiscal year quickly approaching, it is clear that Congress will need to pass a continuing, short-term resolution to give the 2022 tax process more time to unfold,” said Shalanda Young, Acting Director of the Bureau of Management and Budget. Tuesday in a blog post. “The window provided by a short-term RC will allow progress 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 foundation. solid for the future. “
The current fiscal year ends on September 30, and Congress must pass a temporary, short-term resolution to keep federal agencies operating at current funding levels beyond that date.
But an RC will not cover a growing list of needs the White House believes are immediate, and it has submitted a long list of changes, known as budget “anomalies,” to be included in an upcoming interim funding measure.
“The aim is to help avoid serious disruptions to certain utilities that could arise under an RC if it just extended last year’s appropriation bills without amendment,” said Tuesday. an administration official to journalists.
The majority of the additional request includes funding for both disaster relief and the administration’s ongoing resettlement efforts in Afghanistan.
The White House is seeking additional funding of $ 14 billion for disaster relief, which administration officials say would cover the “remaining unmet needs” from hurricanes, ongoing wildfires and storms. other natural disasters that occurred before Hurricane Ida devastated parts of the Gulf Coast and northeast last week. .
Agencies will need even more funding – at least $ 10 billion according to early White House estimates – for Ida’s response efforts.
“We do not yet have precise estimates of the damages and the needs, but what we are saying is that these needs will amount to at least 10 billion dollars,” said the administration official. “We are committed to working closely with Congress to refine these numbers, understand the needs, and include the required funding in the legislative vehicle, so that it can be delivered to states and communities in a timely manner.”
The Biden administration is also seeking an additional $ 6.4 billion for the ministries of health and human services, defense and state to continue resettlement efforts for evacuees from Afghanistan.
These agencies need funds to house and screen Afghan evacuees, and then process and resettle refugees eligible to live in the United States, the administration said.
According to the White House request, the military services need an additional $ 2.4 billion to pay their personnel providing transport services to Afghan evacuees.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also needs $ 342 million to increase the staff and resources needed to process additional refugee claims and address an existing backlog of at least 4 million pending cases, according to the request from the White House.
Administration officials declined to say how long they think a potential continuing resolution should last – or whether Congress should tie an RC to potential legislation raising the debt ceiling.
“We fully expect Congress to act quickly to suspend the debt limit and protect the full confidence and credit of the United States, and we expect them to do so in a bipartisan fashion, as they do. have done three times during the previous administration, “he added. said an official.
Beyond additional requests for additional disaster relief and resettlement support in Afghanistan, the White House has detailed several other programs that require additional funding or re-authorization.
The Census Bureau, for example, needs $ 1.1 billion to cover operational activities associated with the 2020 and 2030 decennial counts, as well as the economic census and other projects.
“The funding adopted for this account in FY2021 was based on significant uncommitted balances, which are now depleted. Without the anomaly, the decennial census operations, the preparations for the 2022 economic census and the development of ingestion and data collection for the enterprise program will be adversely affected, ”the additional demand indicates.
Customs and border protection, immigration and customs enforcement and the Transportation Security Agency need additional funds to maintain their presence at the southern border, facilitate the entry of evacuees from Afghanistan and maintain levels of staff, the White House said.
The additional request would also re-authorize the National Flood Insurance Program, allow the DoD to continue certain military construction projects, and extend the power to members of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to carry over unused vacation leave for another year. .
In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs needs the authority to transfer existing funds to the Veterans Appeal Board to handle an expected increase in disability claims, the administration said.
VA has established three new alleged conditions associated with Agent Orange for veterans who have served in Southwest Asia and other regions. Without the anomaly, the White House said VA would face processing and appeal delays with these new claims.
The administration is also seeking an additional $ 5 million to set up the Assets and Infrastructure Review Commission, which under the MISSION 2018 law is supposed to begin its work next January. The AIR Commission will review and possibly recommend the closure or consolidation of VA healthcare facilities, similar to the process of core realignment and closure that the Pentagon last undertook in the mid-2000s.