By Shalanda Young, Acting OMB Director
Over the last few months, we have been working with members of Congress on government funding bills that would advance the President’s priorities and invest in our country’s future—and that important work continues.
However, with the end of the fiscal year rapidly approaching, it’s clear that Congress will need to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to provide more time for the FY 2022 process to unfold. The window provided by a short-term CR will allow movement toward bipartisan agreement on smart, full-year appropriations bills that reinvest in core priorities, meet the needs of American families, businesses and communities, and lay a strong foundation for the future.
Today, as part of our responsibility to prudently plan for the end of the fiscal year, we are providing technical assistance to Congress on a short-term CR. The purpose of this guidance is to advise lawmakers on how to avoid severe disruptions to public services that could inadvertently arise from extending the previous year’s appropriations legislation without modifications. For example, we recommend that a short-term CR include additional funding, above last year’s levels, to ensure that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has the capacity to meet the additional need stemming from the establishment of the new three-digit number that connects people directly to the NSPL. Similarly, we recommend that the CR extend expiring authorities for the Bureau of Reclamation to be able to effectively carry out drought response.
At the same time, we are also calling on Congress to include additional funding in a CR to help address two other urgent needs: responding to recent and ongoing natural disasters, and meeting our commitments to our Afghan allies and partners.
The Administration is committed to delivering the funding necessary to help impacted states and tribes recover from recent extreme weather events and natural disasters. This includes disasters from the last eighteen months—such as Hurricanes Laura and Delta—for which there are remaining unmet needs, as well as more recent and immediate needs such as those stemming from ongoing wildfires and Hurricane Ida. Specifically, we urge Congress to appropriate over $14 billion as part of a CR to address the natural disasters that occurred prior to Hurricane Ida. We fully expect that Hurricane Ida will significantly increase the need for further disaster response funding, by at least $10 billion, including for programs such as the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery, Federal Highway Emergency Relief, Federal Transit Emergency Relief, Small Business Administration Disaster Loans, and the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund.
In addition, we strongly urge Congress to use the short-term CR to meet our commitments to Afghan allies and partners. The operation to move out of danger and to safety tens of thousands of Afghans at risk, including many who helped us during our two decades in Afghanistan, represents an extraordinary military, diplomatic, security, and humanitarian operation by the U.S. Government. This operation has spanned the globe, beginning with moving evacuees from Afghanistan to third-country transit hubs on military air and charter flights. At transit hubs, evacuees are housed on U.S. bases, where they undergo biometric and biographic security screenings before they are allowed into the United States. In addition to security processing, evacuees receive extensive COVID-19 and other public health precautions and are resettled in the United States with the help of government-funded NGO partners.
We urge Congress to appropriate $6.4 billion to enable the success of this multifaceted, historic mission. The majority of the requested funds are for DOD and State to support processing sites overseas and in the United States and U.S. government transportation for our allies and partners between processing sites and the United States. The funding request also includes support for humanitarian assistance through State and USAID to Afghans at risk in the region and targeted funding to HHS and State to provide Afghans paroled into the United States with public health screenings and vaccinations along with full resettlement resources and a path to enable them to build successful new lives here.
A 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. I’m looking forward to continued engagement with members of both parties and on both sides of the Capitol to get the job done.
Shalanda Young is the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget.