The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker:
Earlier this summer, the President and congressional leaders reached a bipartisan budget agreement that allows for the annual appropriations process to proceed through regular order. The Administration looks forward to our continued work with members of both parties in the Congress on Government funding bills for the next fiscal year—bills that would invest in our communities and people, reduce costs for working families, and help grow our economy from the middle out and bottom up. Just as the Congress and the Administration came together to reach a funding agreement for the current fiscal year (FY) that delivers for the American people, I am confident that we can do the same for FY 2024. But with the end of the fiscal year quickly approaching, today, the Administration is transmitting a supplemental funding request to the Congress to address three sets of critical needs for emergency funding as part of a potential short-term continuing resolution for the first quarter of FY 2024.
First, the President has reaffirmed that we will stand with Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty for as long as it takes, a strategy that has successfully united our allies and partners and equipped Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression. Previous supplemental appropriations for direct military aid, economic and humanitarian assistance, and other support have been committed or nearly committed. The Administration is requesting supplemental security, economic, and humanitarian assistance funding that would support Ukraine, as well as countries and vulnerable populations worldwide impacted by Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine.
As the impacts of Russia’s war reverberate around the globe, the United States is committed to maintaining strong global opposition to Russia’s illegal war. At the same time, it is essential that we offer a credible alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) coercive and unsustainable lending and infrastructure projects for developing countries around the world. The Administration is requesting $3.3 billion to materially expand development and infrastructure finance provided by the World Bank and through bilateral tools to the countries hard hit by the spillovers of Russia’s war and provide an alternative to coercive PRC financing. Together we expect the $3.3 billion to leverage over $27 billion in U.S.-backed financing and grants for developing countries. We are also requesting authorization to lend to two International Monetary Fund trust funds, which would unlock up to $21 billion in new transparent lending with no additional appropriations. We anticipate that this historic U.S. action would support the mobilization of $200 billion of new financing for developing countries backed by our partners and allies. Additionally, the Administration is requesting $200 million to counter the destabilizing activities of Vagner and other Russian Malign Actors in African countries, which includes funding to bolster African countries’ democratic institutions and security.
In addition to the Administration’s supplemental request, I urge the Congress to take swift action to approve, authorize, and appropriate funding necessary to carry out agreements related to the Compacts of Free Association between the Government of the United States and the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. These agreements form the bedrock of America’s broader strategic interests and engagements in the Indo-Pacific, are key to the national security of the United States, and underpin our important bilateral relations with these partner nations.
Second, the President has an ironclad commitment to supporting communities across the Nation as they recover from disasters. Over the past two years, a third of Americans have been personally affected by extreme weather conditions. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, catastrophic weather and climate disasters in the United States caused more than $170.5 billion in damages last year alone. Due to ongoing recovery needs in every State, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) projects a significant deficit in the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). We are requesting $12 billion for the DRF to ensure that FEMA can continue to support critical activities in communities that have dealt with or are currently dealing with disasters, while also maintaining sufficient preparedness to respond to future catastrophic events—preparedness that will be especially important as we enter peak hurricane season. Additionally, the Administration is committed to supporting recovery and rebuilding in communities that are currently experiencing the devastating effects of natural disasters including fires, floods, typhoons, drought, and hurricanes.
Throughout the summer, more than 120 million Americans have experienced significant smoke drift from historic wildfire activity. As part of the Administration’s comprehensive response to increased wildfires due to the climate crisis, the Administration is committed to building a more robust and resilient wildland firefighter workforce and fairly compensating wildland firefighters for the difficult and dangerous work they do. The Administration’s request includes $45 million for the Department of Agriculture and $15 million for the Department of the Interior to implement wildland firefighting pay reform through the first quarter of FY 2024, as proposed through the legislative proposal accompanying the President’s Budget for FY 2024 or similar bipartisan legislation. Without congressional action, more than 20,000 heroic firefighters would face a pay cliff starting as soon as October, with salaries being cut to as low as $15 an hour.
Third, to continue the progress made since the President implemented his border enforcement and management plan after the Title 42 public health order lifted, the Administration requests additional resources to continue to manage the Southwest border safely and effectively, including through ongoing efforts to reduce the influx of illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, across our borders and counter the threat these substances pose to our public health. We are operating within a fundamentally broken immigration system—everyone agrees on that point—but only the Congress has the power to update our immigration and asylum laws, and we continue to stand ready to work with the Congress on solutions. Despite the fundamentally broken system, unlawful border crossings are down significantly since the President implemented his border enforcement and management plan after the end of Title 42. The Administration has achieved this in a safe, orderly, and humane manner, in part by pairing increased access to legal pathways with new consequences for those who fail to use them.
The Administration’s plan is working as intended, but to bolster these efforts, we are requesting funding for border enforcement, management, and migrant services at the Department of Homeland Security and to hire immigration judge teams at the Department of Justice. To reduce irregular migration across the Western Hemisphere and expand safe, orderly, and lawful pathways to migration, the request also includes funding for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. To continue the Administration’s efforts to combat fentanyl, the request includes nearly $800 million to reduce the influx of fentanyl across our borders and counter the threat fentanyl poses to our public health. Finally, the request includes funding for the Department of Labor to enforce child labor laws and protect migrant children from dangerous and exploitative labor arrangements.
Because the need for this funding arises from unforeseen and unanticipated events, the Administration requests that the amounts in this supplemental request be designated as emergency requirements pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. I urge the Congress to take swift action to provide the additional funding requested to follow-through on our commitment to the Ukrainian peoples’ defense of their homeland and to democracy around the world; to address the shortfall for disaster response and adequately support our wildland firefighters; and to combat fentanyl smuggling and continue our progress in responding to the humanitarian and border security situation at the United States Southwest border. In addition to the supplemental request, the Administration also believes that the Congress must act quickly to ensure continued funding for programs that lower costs for families, such as expanded access to affordable, high-quality child care and high-speed internet.
I stand ready to work with the Congress to fund these urgent needs.
Shalanda D. Young