By Shalanda Young, Acting OMB Director
Over the last few months, the Administration has been working closely with Congress to produce a comprehensive funding bill that will keep the government open and ensure Federal agencies have the resources necessary to advance critical national priorities—from combatting the opioid epidemic and making housing more affordable, to supporting cutting-edge medical research and ensuring military readiness here and abroad. As part of the agreement lawmakers are working to finalize ahead of the March 11th deadline, we’re also urging Congress to include supplemental funding for two urgent and immediate needs: supporting Ukraine, and continuing our ongoing COVID response efforts.
As the President and bipartisan members of Congress have made clear, the United States is committed to supporting the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and democracy. The United States has provided over $1.4 billion in assistance to Ukraine since 2021, and, together with our European allies and partners, we are holding Russia accountable for its unjustified and unprovoked invasion. To continue this important work and further support the Ukrainian people, we are requesting $10 billion to deliver additional humanitarian, security, and economic assistance in Ukraine and the neighboring region in the coming days and weeks. These resources will mean additional defense equipment for Ukraine, lifesaving humanitarian assistance — such as emergency food assistance — for the Ukrainian people, stronger sanctions enforcement, a dedicated task force led by the Department of Justice to go after the ill-gotten gains and other illicit activities of the Russian oligarchs, and additional support for U.S troop deployments to neighboring countries. Resources will also bolster regional efforts to counter Russian cyberattacks and disinformation, and strengthen the stability of Ukraine’s electrical grid by integrating it with the European Network of Transmission System of Operators.
In addition, we are urging Congress to include supplemental resources for the COVID-19 response. Resources from the prior COVID response bills enabled us to get over 215 million Americans fully vaccinated, make 1 billion tests available to Americans for free, order 20 million antiviral treatment pills so that they will be available to people who need them, and commit to donating 1.2 billion vaccines to the world. They also let us respond forcefully to the Delta and Omicron surges – but now, nearly all of these funds have been used. Without additional resources, we won’t be able to secure the treatments, vaccines, and tests Americans need in coming months and fight future variants. And critical COVID response efforts – such as free community testing sites and testing, treatment, and vaccination coverage for uninsured individuals – will end this spring. We are therefore urging Congress to promptly provide $22.5 billion to cover immediate needs for tests, treatments and vaccines, investments in research and development of next-generation vaccines, and responding globally, including getting more shots in arms around the world.
These funding needs are based on our best information at this time, and we will remain in touch with Congress in the coming weeks and months as we assess any additional resource requirements. Given the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine, additional needs may arise over time. Likewise, while the funding in this request will allow us to initiate action on the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan announced yesterday, additional funding will be needed.
Importantly, the resource requirements identified in this request assume that Congress will also act promptly to provide agencies with full-year appropriations. The absence of full-year appropriations would continue to constrain Department of Defense (DOD) resources, readiness, and operations around the globe, and also leave the U.S. more vulnerable to other potential adversaries exploiting the global situation. Absent full-year appropriations, State and USAID also will not have the full range and scope of resources necessary to respond quickly and efficiently to the emerging and evolving needs in Ukraine and across the region. And the success of our COVID-19 response depends on sufficient resources for core capacity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and other public health agencies.
I’m looking forward to continued engagement with members of both parties to secure the funding necessary for the work ahead.
Shalanda Young is the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget.