White House asks Congress for $55B in domestic spending on child care, disaster relief

Politics Biden 102423 AP Jacquelyn Martin

The White House on Wednesday sent a supplemental funding request of roughly $55 billion to Congress for domestic priorities including natural disaster relief and child care providers.

The funding request asks for $23.5 billion in disaster response, including $9 billion to the Disaster Relief Fund for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address ongoing response efforts, $2.8 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address housing and infrastructure needs caused by major disasters and $2.8 billion for the Department of Agriculture to support farmers and ranchers with crop losses from natural disasters.

The request also included $16 billion for child care costs, which would go to the Department of Health and Human Services for an additional year of funding to keep child care providers afloat, the Biden administration said.

The request comes just after House Republicans elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) as Speaker earlier Wednesday following three weeks of struggling to fill the office, which had paralyzed the lower chamber. Congress is facing a Nov. 17 deadline to fund the government.

The White House’s domestic priorities request also includes $6 billion for the Federal Communications Commission to extend free and discounted high-speed interest for low-income households through December 2024 and $6 billion for energy independence programs, such as funding to reimburse communications providers for the ongoing removal of insecure equipment and software.

Additionally, the administration is asking for $1.55 billion to counter fentanyl by funding grants to provide treatment, harm reduction and recovery support services. And it is asking for $1.6 billion for grants to low-income homes to help cover heating costs.

Another $1.05 billion would go to international food assistance programs to support programs such as global maternal and child nutrition projects, and $220 million would go to prevent cuts to the salaries of federal wildland firefighters.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had previewed Tuesday that the request would include funding for child care, which has been one of President Biden’s top domestic priorities.

“It’s going to lay out the … president’s priorities as it relates to disaster relief, as it relates to child care,” she said, adding that child care is “something that’s been part of the president’s platform for some time.”

The White House sent an emergency funding request of roughly $100 billion Friday to Congress that seeks additional money for border security, allies in the Indo-Pacific and for Israel and Ukraine in their respective conflicts against Hamas and Russia.

Roughly $61 billion of that request covered money for Ukraine, while $14 billion is funding for Israel’s defense, nearly $14 billion is for personnel and operations at the US-Mexico border, $10 billion for humanitarian aid and $2 billion for Indo-Pacific security assistance.

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