Biden asks Congress for $6.4 billion to relocate Afghan refugees


The Biden administration is calling on Congress to allocate $6.4 billion to assist in the “multifaceted historic mission” of relocating Afghan refugees.

Senior administration officials briefed reporters on the request, presented in the form of a new continuing resolution, Tuesday afternoon and outlined the separate categories where the funds would be applied.
“The majority of our funding request for Afghanistan is really for the [Department of Defense] and State [Department] to support the necessary refugee resettlement operations both overseas and in the United States,” one official said. “What that equals to is $2.4 billion for DoD to promote that resettlement operational support at these bases as well as for military personnel. On the State side, we have $1.3 billion for the resettlement operational support.”

Additionally, the request includes operational resettlement and humanitarian funding, with $816 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development, $193 million for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and $1.7 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services.

“This funding is certainly critical to all together fulfilling this bipartisan commitment to our Afghan allies and partners to both bring them to the United States,” one official added.

The continuing resolution comes less than a month before the end of fiscal year 2021, and while administration officials did not answer questions about the president’s desired length of this funding request, they repeatedly referred to it as “short term.”

The legislation also includes $24 billion in aid for natural disaster relief, including $14 billion for pre-Hurricane Ida storms and wildfires and up to $10 billion to address damage along the Gulf and North Atlantic coasts caused by Ida.

“As you can imagine, when we were putting together this package, the storm was literally ongoing, so of course we don’t yet have precise estimates of the damage and needs,” one administration official said of Ida fallout. “What we’re seeing is that we insist that these events, those needs will account for at least $10 billion. And we’re committed to working closely with Congress to refine those numbers, understand the needs, and include the requisite funding in this legislative vehicle.”
Shalanda Young, the White House’s acting director for the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement that the “short-term CR is necessary not only to provide Congress additional time to pass full-year appropriations bills that make bold, forward-looking investments in our future, but also to address the specific, urgent needs facing our country right now.”