The Biden administration is asking Congress to release additional funding to support the relief effort for wildfire and hurricane victims as well as to support the evacuation of Afghan refugees.
The administration is reportedly asking for the release of more than $30 billion worth of additional funds. About $24 billion will be used to support recovery efforts for victims of California wildfires and those displaced and affected by Hurricane Ida and its wake. Then an additional $6.4 billion will be used to help resettle Afghan-Americans and Afghan refugees in the U.S.
The request has received support from politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who called the release of the funds for hurricane and wildfire a necessary move to support vulnerable communities.
Schumer called on lawmakers to work together to get all affected Americans the help they desperately need. Schumer had accompanied U.S. President Joe Biden on his tour of the heavily affected areas from Hurricane Ida on Tuesday.
As for the additional funding for Afghan refugees, White House officials estimate that there could be more than 65,000 Afghans arriving in the country by the end of the month. They also estimate that as much as 30,000 more will arrive over the next 12 months. Since the country withdrew from Afghanistan, more than 124,000 people, including Afghan-Americans, American citizens, and Afghan refugees, have been evacuated.
"This money is certainly critical ... to make sure that we are fulfilling this bipartisan commitment to our Afghan allies and partners," White House officials said.
The director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shalanda Young, said that the proposed budget will come a long way in ensuring the security and safety of all refugees. Part of the funds will be used to enhance security screening, while most will be used as humanitarian assistance for refugees. The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development will be tasked with the distribution of the funds.
Young said having enough resources will be necessary to ensure the continued "military, diplomatic, security, and humanitarian" efforts of the country. She added that it will be vital to bring home the tens of thousands of Afghans who are now at risk for helping the U.S. in Afghanistan over the last two decades.