The request to Congress comes as lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline to finish annual funding bills for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.
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By Michael D. Shear
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday formally requested $47.1 billion in emergency spending from Congress, including almost $27 billion that officials say is critical to continue fighting the coronavirus pandemic and the monkeypox outbreak.
The administration is also asking for $13.7 billion in additional aid for Ukraine and $6.5 billion to respond to natural disasters.
The request comes as lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline to finish annual funding bills for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. Shalanda D. Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Congress was unlikely to meet that deadline but should consider the emergency requests as part of a temporary, short-term spending measure before government funding expires at the end of the month.
If lawmakers do not reach agreement on either the annual spending bills or a stopgap funding measure, large parts of the federal government will shut down — a politically damaging outcome weeks before midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress.
Ms. Young said in a statement on Friday that the coronavirus money would be used to continue to provide free tests to the public, accelerate vaccine research and support the global pandemic response. “This funding is vital to our ability to protect and build on the progress we’ve made,” she said.
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That request is likely to meet significant resistance in Congress. Republicans have repeatedly blocked previous efforts to pass additional coronavirus funding, arguing that the administration has not used all the money that Congress already provided for pandemic relief.
Budget officials disputed that on Friday, telling reporters that money was running out for key Covid-19 programs. The administration said this week that it would stop providing free coronavirus tests through the U.S. Postal Service because of a lack of funding.
A message on the federal website Covid.gov said that “ordering through the free at-home test program was suspended on Friday, Sept. 2, because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.”
Budget officials said that while new coronavirus booster shots that were approved this week would remain free of charge through the beginning of next year, more cutbacks would be necessary without additional funding.
The monkeypox request would allow the federal government to purchase vaccines and therapies for distribution across the United States, to support testing to determine the spread of the virus and to conduct research on rapid tests and new vaccines, administration officials said.
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