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White House requests Congress pass relief funding for natural disasters, evacuation of Afghan allies
Should Congress add disaster relief funding and Afghanistan evacuation funding to a continuing resolution?
By Eric Revell, Countable News
What’s the story?
- The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Tuesday sent a letter requesting Congress provide emergency funding for disaster relief efforts and the evacuation of Afghan allies in a continuing resolution (CR) that will be considered to avoid a partial government shutdown at the end of September.
- The OMB letter requests that Congress provide over $14 billion in emergency funding to address natural disasters that have occurred over the last 18 months, including Hurricanes Laura and Delta, in addition to ongoing wildfires and Hurricane Ida.
- OMB notes that Hurricane Ida ― which has a death toll of 82 across eight U.S. states as of September 8th― will likely “significantly increase the need for further disaster response funding” by at least $10 billion as more time passes. While the flash flooding that killed at least 22 people in Tennessee was not mentioned in the OMB’s letter, the disaster relief funding would replenish programs that aren’t specific to certain disasters, and could therefore aid recovery there as well.
- Additionally, the OMB letter asks Congress for $6.4 billion to help with the evacuation of Afghan allies from Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover. Most of this funding would go to the Dept. of Defense and State Dept. to support processing sites for Afghans at overseas locations and military bases in the U.S., transportation by the government, along with humanitarian and resettlement assistance.
- Lawmakers haven’t yet released the CR or announced how long it will extend funding for federal agencies into fiscal year 2022, which begins on October 1st, as Congress will need time to consider full-year appropriations for the federal government in FY2022. Senators return to the Capitol on September 13th, while House lawmakers return on September 20th, giving Congress little time to act and avoid a partial government shutdown.
(Photo Credit: Hurricane Ida: Louisiana National Guard via Flickr / Creative Commons | Kabul Evacuation: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brennen Lege / Public Domain)
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