White House seeks $10 billion for COVID, $37.7 billion for Ukraine from Congress

White House seeks $10 billion for COVID, $37.7 billion for Ukraine from Congress

Washington— The White House on Tuesday asked Congress to provide an additional $10 billion to fight COVID-19 and other infectious diseases amid the emergence of new subvariants and an expected spike in winter infections, as well only an additional $37.7 billion to support Ukraine to defend against continued Russian aggression.

Shalanda Young, head of the White House Budget Office, made the request for additional emergency funding from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and called for priorities to be addressed through bipartisan agreement in the coming weeks.

The White House will also seek more money for disaster response and reconstruction in Florida, Puerto Rico and other communities affected by extreme weather events. Officials are working “to refine estimates of funding needs” to deal with recent natural disasters, Young wrote in a letter to Pelosi.

“Staying ahead of COVID-19. Supporting Ukraine’s fight to defend its sovereignty. Helping Americans who have borne the brunt of natural disasters,” she said. “The American people rightly expect their leaders to come together and deliver on these priorities.”

According to a breakdown of the request provided by the White House, the $10 billion in funding to fight COVID-19 and other diseases includes $2.5 billion to ensure continued access to vaccines and treatments; $5 billion to support the development of next-generation vaccines and therapies; and $750 million to support research and treatment of long COVID, the term referring to cases in which symptoms persist for months or even years. The Biden administration is seeking $750 million of the $10 billion requested to restore smallpox vaccines used for the monkeypox response and to begin purchasing and distributing hepatitis C treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis to help prevent HIV.

“While COVID-19 is no longer the disruptive force it was when the President took office, we face the emergence of new sub-variants in the United States and around the world that have the potential to cause a wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, especially as we approach the winter months – a time when viruses like COVID-19 spread faster,” Young wrote.

The White House has tent on various opportunities to get more money from Congress to bolster the resources it says are needed to deal with the pandemic, and renews its efforts in the lame session between the midterm elections and the establishment of a new Congress.

“Failure to provide more funding would lead to unnecessary infections and deaths across the country and around the world,” Young told Pelosi.

For Ukraine, the White House’s breakdown of the $37.7 billion request – which would last through September 2023 – includes $21.7 billion for equipment for Ukraine, to replenish stocks of the Department of Defense and continued military, intelligence and defense support. It also includes $14.5 billion in direct budget support to Ukraine, security assistance, humanitarian assistance and to strengthen global food security, as well as funds for the Ministries of Energy and of Health and Social Services.

“Since Putin’s war began, the United States has rallied the world in support of Ukraine,” Young said in his letter. “Together, with strong, bipartisan support in Congress, we have provided significant assistance that has been critical to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield – and we cannot let that support dry up.”

Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said about three-quarters of the money previously provided by Congress to Ukraine has been disbursed or committed, and more are expected to follow by the way. the end of the year.

“That is why we urge Congress to provide additional appropriations to ensure that Ukraine has the funding, weapons and support it needs to defend itself, and that vulnerable people continue to receive lifesaving assistance,” she said.

While efforts to provide Ukraine with billions of dollars in aid since the Russian war began in February have won significant bipartisan support, some Republicans in Congress, as well as at least one incoming GOP senator , began to question the need for additional funding.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy favorite to become a speaker with Republicans poised to regain control of the House, told Punchbowl News in October that he thought “people are going to be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to the Ukraine”.

JD Vance, who won his race for the Ohio Senate, said during the campaign trail that the United States should “stop the flow of money to Ukraine eventually,” and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene suggested earlier this month during of a rally in Iowa that “under the Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine.”

Kristin Brown and Gillian Morley contributed to this report.

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