The Biden administration is asking Congress to appropriate billions in additional funding for natural disaster relief and for processing and resettling Afghan refugees as a part of a proposed stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded past a critical budget deadline.
Shalanda Young, the acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote a blog post urging Congress to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to provide lawmakers leeway to pass an annual budget after September 30, the last day of the fiscal year.
Young said that in addition to funding critical public services to avoid “severe disruptions,” Congress should appropriate $6.4 billion to help screen and resettle Afghans who assisted U.S. forces and were evacuated from Afghanistan amid the rise of the Taliban.
An administration official said those funds include $2.4 billion to fund the bases where Afghans are being screened, $1.3 billion for resettlement operations, $1.7 billion for refugee benefits and services and $193 million to accelerate the application process for permanent resident status.
Young also called for at least $14 billion in natural disaster assistance covering storms, fires and other disasters over the last 18 months – including Hurricanes Laura and Delta – estimating that damage from Hurricane Ida will require at least an additional $10 billion in relief.
“Climate change is producing more severe natural disasters like storms and wildfires,” an administration official said of the need for additional disaster relief in a press call. Another official added, “Red and blue states are having to respond to more frequent and intense disasters, and more extreme ones more frequently.”
65,000. That’s roughly the number of vulnerable Afghans are expected to arrive in the U.S. by the end of September, with an additional 30,000 expected over the next 12 months, an official said. The official added that those numbers are in addition to refugees that will arrive as part of the U.S. refugee cap.