“This administration will continue to work with members of both parties in Congress to address these critical needs of the American people, and we look forward to reaching a bipartisan funding agreement that will advance national priorities in the coming fiscal year.” , the White House Office of Management said. and budget director Shalanda Young said in a blog post on Friday.
Congress in May passed a $40 billion military and humanitarian assistance package for Ukraine, which has provided a wide range of programs, including weapons and assistance to Kyiv as part of its efforts to repel a Russian invasion. Young said that to date, about three-quarters of the aid Congress has provided to Ukraine has been disbursed or committed, and those resources were only intended to last through September.
“We have brought the world together to support the people of Ukraine as they stand up for their democracy and we cannot allow that support for Ukraine to dry up,” she said.
The Covid-19 funding request comes after months of failed attempts by the White House to get Congress to bolster the administration’s response to Covid-19, from which an average of about 400 people continue to die each day. The administration has already announced that it will stop its program of sending free Covid-19 tests to homes due to a lack of funding, and said it will soon have to stop paying for vaccinations, transferring the cost to consumers and their insurers.
“Without additional funding, we will have to make even more difficult decisions,” an administration official said Friday.
The request for nearly $4 billion to fight the monkeypox virus comes as the administration struggles to contain the ongoing outbreak, which has infected about 20,000 people in the United States. The administration’s response was hampered by hard-to-access testing early in the outbreak and a shortage of the FDA-approved monkeypox vaccine.
In a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency noted that the number of new cases showed signs of slowing, but also warned that, if not contained, “low transmission level could continue indefinitely”.
“While we have accelerated the distribution of hundreds of thousands of vaccines, made testing more available, and expanded access to tens of thousands of treatments to reach the population most at risk, we cannot give up until that we end the current outbreak and are prepared for future outbreaks of monkeypox or smallpox,” Young said in Friday’s blog post.
Administration officials said Friday that passing the short-term funding request would give Congress more time to make a decision on longer-term funding for fiscal year 2023. But bringing Democrats and Republicans in Congress to even agree on a short-term interim spending bill could prove difficult, especially if it includes certain energy permitting provisions. If the two sides can agree on a short-term bill, a second funding dispute for the remainder of fiscal year 2023 could arise in the post-election “lame session” of Congress.