The White House asked Congress for another $47 billion Friday to address what it considers “immediate needs,” including the spread of monkeypox at home and abroad, the never-ending fight against COVID, and the defense of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden’s request to Congress is aimed at keeping the government open beyond the September 30 expiration of the 2022 fiscal year, according to administration officials, Politico reported. The requested $47 billion includes $6.5 billion to address the recent flooding in Kentucky and wildfires in California, but that’s just a little over half of the $11.7 billion Biden wants to send to Ukraine.
“This Administration will continue to work with members of both parties in Congress to meet these critical needs for the American people, and we look forward to reaching a bipartisan funding agreement that advances national priorities in the coming fiscal year,” Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget wrote Friday.
While the administration carved out some funding to address natural disasters at home, there was no mention of Biden wanting Congress to send money to address the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, that has now dragged on for five days. Instead, the president set his short-term priorities on throwing more money toward combatting the already slowing spread of viruses and aiding the war defense of a foreign nation.
Biden’s request for more money to be sent to fund Ukraine’s defense during Russia’s invasion comes on top of $40 billion the country is set to receive from the U.S. from a package approved by Congress in May.
The largest chunk of money in the request, $22.4 billion, would go to the continued fight against COVID, while the administration is asking for $3.9 billion to address monkeypox in the U.S. and another $600 million to be spent around the globe to “fight monkeypox.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the spread of monkeypox is slowing, but the agency warned that it still poses a risk if not contained, Politico reported. The White House reaffirmed its commitment to spending billions of dollars to “fight” the disease that experts say is mostly spread through the sexual intercourse of gay men.
“While we have accelerated the distribution of hundreds of thousands of vaccines, made testing more available, and expanded access to tens of thousands of courses of treatment to reach the highest-risk population, we cannot let up until we end the current outbreak and are prepared for future monkeypox or smallpox outbreaks,” the White House said.
Congress will now have to consider Biden’s request and come to an agreement on a short-term spending bill before discussing the longer-term government funding that will begin with a new fiscal year on October 1.