Biden to request $11.7 billion in Ukraine aid, $22.4 billion for COVID relief

·2 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden travel to Philadelphia in Maryland U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden will request $11.7 billion in emergency funding from Congress to provide lethal aid and budget support to Ukraine, and $22.4 billion for COVID-19 relief ahead of a potential fall case surge, the White House said on Friday.

The emergency funding request will also include $2 billion to address the impact of Russia's war in Ukraine on U.S. energy supplies, Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), wrote in blog post.

The $47.1 billion request comes ahead of the conclusion of the 2022 fiscal year on Sept 30. Congress has not yet passed a 2023 funding bill, and Young said lawmakers would likely need to pass a stopgap funding measure allowing them more time to negotiate a more comprehensive fiscal package.

The White House's requests for the stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), will also include $3.9 billion in funding to fight against an outbreak of the monkeypox virus and $6.5 billion for natural disaster relief, Young wrote.

Congress is expected to grapple with CR discussions to keep the government fully operating beyond Sept. 30 when lawmakers return from summer recess next week.

The CR legislation could become an avenue for Congress to include Biden's emergency requests, known as anomalies. It is also an opportunity for Congress to quickly approve such funds while Democrats and Republicans argue about spending priorities for the full fiscal year.

The Biden administration has received bipartisan support in giving Ukraine more than $13.5 billion in security assistance since January 2021. Young said around three-quarters of Congress-approved aid for the country has been committed or disbursed.

"We have rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and we cannot allow that support to Ukraine to run dry," Young said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Rami Ayyub and Richard Cowan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)