White House Seeks $47.1 Billion to Fight Covid and Monkeypox, Aid Ukraine
The request comes as Congress needs to pass a stopgap spending bill by the end of September
WASHINGTON—The White House is asking Congress for $47.1 billion in emergency funding for Covid-19 and monkeypox and to back Ukraine in its war with Russia, as well as spending for natural disasters, according to administration officials.
Congress must vote on a spending bill by the end of September to avoid a partial government shutdown. Lawmakers are expected to use a stopgap funding measure that will maintain funding levels for the short term.
The White House is asking Congress to add the emergency funding on top of that, with about $22.4 billion for Covid-19 vaccines, testing programs, clinical trials and research; $4.5 billion to bolster efforts to fight monkeypox; and $6.5 billion to help areas of the country prepare for and recover from natural disasters.
The administration is also asking for $13.7 billion to continue supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia. The money would go to military and intelligence support, to help Kyiv continue operating its government, and to supply uranium to fuel U.S. nuclear reactors in the chance of a potential decrease in Russian supplies.
The emergency funds wouldn’t be paid for with new or shifted revenue, and would be new money that hasn’t been previously appropriated.
Senate Republican leadership didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the White House’s request for emergency funding. Spending bills require 60 votes, and in the 50-50 Senate at least 10 Republicans would need to back any bill that contained the administration’s request.
In May, Congress passed a nearly $40 billion military and economic aid package to help Ukraine, and lawmakers said they would expect further funding needs as the war continued.
Lawmakers have been unable to agree on a coronavirus funding package for months, with Republicans saying any additional funding must be paid for, after the country spent heavily since 2020 to fight the virus and provide economic aid.
Earlier this year, the administration asked for $30 billion for Covid-19, which was winnowed to $22.5 billion and then again down to $15.6 billion. Republicans have said no new money should be allocated until current funds to states and others are exhausted. An agreement to reappropriate $10 billion in funds fell apart in April, and lawmakers have made no progress since then.
Administration officials said the lack of new Covid aid is why the White House this week announced it was pausing its program to send at-home Covid tests. The White House is asking Congress for $2 billion to continue the program.
“We currently have some tests available, but we do not have enough if there was a surge this fall,” an official said. “We do not have enough funding to get through a surge in the fall.”
The White House is asking for $4.5 billion to help people recover from floods in Kentucky, as well as disasters in California, Texas and Louisiana. The agency is also looking to use the funds to address anticipated wildfires, droughts, floods and extreme heat.
Corrections & Amplifications
The White House is asking Congress for $47.1 billion in emergency funding, which includes $4.5 billion to bolster efforts to fight monkeypox and $6.5 billion for natural disasters. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said those figures were $44.5 billion, $3.9 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively. (Corrected on Sept. 2, 2022)