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Joe Biden has asked Congress to fund more than $30 billion in new emergency and relief spending for Afghan refugees as the US president warned the world was in “danger” from extreme weather events.
The request for additional federal money came in a blog post from Shalanda Young, the acting White House budget director on Tuesday. At the same time, Biden toured areas of New York and New Jersey hit by deadly floods last week.
“We have to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts. They all tell us this is code red; the nation and the world are in danger,” the US president said. “They warned us that the extreme weather would get more extreme over the decade, and we’re now living it in real time.”
Biden has said the rise in damaging weather highlights the importance of action to fight climate change in a massive $3.5 trillion spending bill he’s trying to get through Congress in the coming weeks.
“These are well-paying jobs: we can get the economy back on the road to real growth. But in the meantime, we’re going to save a lot of people’s lives, and we’re going to save a lot of money,” Biden said.
More immediately, the White House said it would need more funding to address the impact of the hurricanes, floods and wildfires that have hit the US over the past 18 months. About $10 billion would be needed to pay for the government’s response to Hurricane Ida, which inflicted heavy damage from Louisiana to New York between late August and early September, while $14 billion would be needed for previous extreme weather events, it said. young.
In addition to disaster relief, the White House added that it would also need $6.4 billion in funding to help Afghan refugees.
“The operation to rescue tens of thousands of Afghans, including many who helped us during our two decades in Afghanistan, is an extraordinary military, diplomatic, security and humanitarian operation by the US government,” Young wrote. .
The request for additional funding comes as the White House and Congress approach the September 30 deadline to pass legislation to fund government operations, or face a damaging shutdown.
Young asked lawmakers to pass a stopgap resolution known as a rolling resolution that would keep government at its current level while giving lawmakers more time to negotiate a permanent agreement on the annual budget.
White House demands will further complicate the congressional agenda this month as Democratic leaders who control both chambers of Congress attempt to bypass Biden’s multibillion-dollar economic agenda.
In a series of very heated negotiations, mostly within the Democratic party, lawmakers will try to find compromises that will see both Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan and the $3.5 trillion White House-backed legislation to support social security. safety net, which includes facilities to combat the climate. change.
Resisting the additional spending could be difficult for Republicans, given the human suffering and economic toll caused by the extreme weather, and widespread support for helping Afghan refugees among the American public.
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