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White House Seeks $47 Billion in Emergency Funding as Part of Stopgap Spending Bill

·3 min read
Reuters

Current funding for the federal government will run out at the end of the month. While Congress and the Biden administration are still working to reach a budget deal for the new fiscal year that starts October 1, lawmakers will first need to pass a short-term spending bill known as a continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown when September ends.

“The CR under discussion in the House would extend spending at roughly fiscal 2022 levels to Dec. 16, two and half months into the new fiscal year, with exceptions for a number of ‘anomalies’ enabling higher funding rates for various programs,” Roll Call’s Paul M. Krawzak reports, noting that the length of the stopgap funding could still change. “The current plan is for the House to consider the stopgap bill the week of Sept. 12, leaving plenty of time, in theory, to get it through the Senate and to Biden's desk.”

Biden admin asks for $47B in supplemental spending: Neither party wants a shutdown ahead of the November midterm elections, but there may still be a few bumps on the path to a stopgap funding bill.

The White House might have added a hurdle or two by calling for the short-term funding bill to also include just over $47 billion in emergency spending for what it said were four critical needs: support for Ukraine, Covid-19 pandemic funding, monkeypox response and natural disaster recovery.

The White House is seeking:

* $13.7 billion in aid for Ukraine, including $7.2 billion in additional defense funding, $4.5 billion for budgetary support for the Ukrainian government and $2 billion to address the impact of the war on the U.S. energy supply.

* $22.4 billion for Covid-19 response, including additional testing, the development of new vaccines and treatments and support for international pandemic efforts. (See more on this below.)

* $4.5 billion to combat the spread of monkeypox

* $6.5 billion to help states recover from natural disasters and extreme weather events.

The administration is reportedly seeking the supplemental funding without offsetting cuts, disappointing budget hawks. “If these truly are priorities for the White House, they should suggest accompanying spending cuts or revenues to pay for them,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Republicans have objected to providing additional pandemic funding and reportedly could push for a “clean” funding extension or one with fewer new spending provisions.

Other potential issues: Democrats reportedly also face some difficulties in finding enough support for attaching energy permitting legislation pushed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to the must-pass funding measure. And Punchbowl News reports that Democratic leaders are considering attaching a provision codifying same-sex marriage rights to the spending bill. “This would dramatically raise the political stakes surrounding the vote on the continuing resolution,” Punchbowl notes.

Other looming deadlines: A number of other expiring programs could be addressed by adding them to the spending bill. “A key Food and Drug Administration user fee program, which makes up nearly half of the agency’s annual budget, is set to expire at the end of the fiscal year,” Politico notes. “Congressional action is needed to prevent huge layoffs at the agency.”

The bottom line: Congress will have to fund the government via a stopgap spending measure that sets up yet another fiscal fight in the lame-duck session after the midterm elections.

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