GOP gives thumbs down to Biden’s $47B emergency request

Sep 7, 2022, 5:00 PM
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol,, Wedn...

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol,, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

(AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s request for more than $47 billion in emergency funding to help Ukraine and tackle COVID-19, monkeypox and natural disasters is encountering deep skepticism from Senate Republicans, signaling a showdown ahead.

The early resistance on the size and scope of the spending request points to the fraught negotiations to come as Congress labors to pass a stopgap spending bill that would keep the federal government running past Oct. 1 or risk a federal shutdown.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that while Ukraine aid “is obviously a priority,” he downplayed the need for other funding — even in his Kentucky home state hit hard by devastating floods.

“It’s a big ask without much explanation,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of GOP leadership.

Lawmakers are eager to avoid another government shutdown just weeks before November’s midterm election when voters will decide which party controls Congress. But their plan to pass a short-term bill to keep government funded could run into trouble unless the parties can strike an agreement on what additional priorities, if any, should be included.

The budget showdown is fast emerging as a showcase for party priorities at home and abroad that will define the lawmakers as they face voters in the fall.

The White House request includes $11.7 billion for security and economic assistance for Ukraine, on top of some $40 billion Congress has already approved to help the country battle’s Russia’s invasion. Closer to home, the Biden administration is seeking $22 billion to respond to COVID-19, and additional funds for monkeypox and natural disasters.

Republicans object to much of it.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., endorsed Biden’s request and said “it’s disgraceful that Republicans are playing political games with this.”

“Ukraine needs more help. We want to give it to them,” Schumer said Wednesday. “And on monkeypox and on COVID relief, we need to be prepared.”

This latest round of proposed funding for Ukraine comes as the country depends on support from the U.S. and allies in battling the Russian invasion.

The White House says more than three-quarters of the money approved for Ukraine has already been dispersed or committed, creating an urgent need for more.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has struck up relationships with members of Congress this year, many of whom have traveled to the region and rallied to his aid. Zelenskyy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke earlier this week.

Republicans said they still support Ukraine and are open to more funding, but want more details about how the earlier money has been spent.

“I would be interested in why they feel this is an emergency, why they need to do it now, but certainly, I would not slow down our support for what Ukraine is doing,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

But few Republicans seemed willing to even entertain Biden’s request for $22.4 billion in emergency funding to deal with COVID-19.

While the administration says the money is needed for additional COVID-19 vaccines, testing programs and research and development, Republicans say the federal spending on the virus needs to wind down, not ramp up.

Blunt said that people can pay for their vaccines like they pay for other aspects of their health care, and “there’s really no reason that the government should be paying for all of that.”

GOP lawmakers are sticking with the view that dedicating more money to the country’s COVID response should be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere.

“The problem is they want to keep spending more money and throw more gasoline on the inflation fire,” Cornyn said. “I think that’s a bad idea.”

The White House is also asking for $4.5 billion to bolster efforts to fight monkeypox. Officials said they have already depleted significant reserves from the national stockpile to provide over 1.1 million vials of vaccine.

On disaster relief, the Biden administration is seeking about $6.5 billion to help states such as Kentucky recover from recent flooding. Aid would also help residents of California, Louisiana and Texas rebuild from major disasters.

Schumer also indicated that he supports adding a measure from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that is designed to speed up the permitting process for energy infrastructure projects. But including it could trigger opposition from House Democrats who see it as rushing projects to approval before the environmental ramifications are clear.

Still, there’s wide agreement on both sides that even a temporary government shutdown before the election is out of the question.

Democrats want to keep the focus on legislative victories designed to bolster the country’s infrastructure, semiconductor production and address climate change and health care costs. Republicans want voters to focus on inflation, gas prices and crime.

“There might be a couple of emergencies we’re going to need to deal with, but my guess is that with an election coming, you won’t see a lot of interesting brinksmanship,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at The Neighborhood Lot on Friday, July 29, 2022, in McDonoug...
Associated Press

Donations jump for Georgia GOP’s Kemp, Warnock stays strong

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sharply accelerated his fundraising over the summer, taking in $28.7 million for his campaign and an associated leadership committee in a three-month period. The Republican on Wednesday announced his fundraising numbers through Sept. 30 as he seeks to keep pace with the big amounts of cash that Democrat […]
5 hours ago
FILE - Residents who rode out the storm arrive at a dock to evacuate by boat in the aftermath of Hu...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian closes some Florida schools indefinitely

The devastation from Hurricane Ian has left schools shuttered indefinitely in parts of Florida, leaving storm-weary families anxious for word on when and how children can get back to classrooms. As rescue and recovery operations continue in the storm’s aftermath, several school systems in hard-hit counties in southwestern Florida can’t say for sure when they’ll […]
5 hours ago
FILE - In this image made from video, Taiwan's Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng speaks in Taipei, Ta...
Associated Press

Taiwan vows to respond to China’s military flight incursions

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s defense minister on Wednesday said the island will respond to incursions into its airspace by Chinese warplanes and drones, but gave no details on specific actions. Responding to questions from legislators, Chiu Kuo-cheng said China’s newly aggressive stance had changed what Taiwan would define as a “first strike” that would […]
5 hours ago
Baquer Namazi, an 85-year-old Iranian-American held by Iran over internationally criticized spying ...
Associated Press

Detained Iranian-American, 85, leaves Iran for major surgery

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An 85-year-old Iranian-American held by Iran over internationally criticized spying charges left the country Wednesday for Oman, officials said, after increasing pressure to free him amid his struggles with poor health. His 50-year-old son, however, remains in Iran. The release of Baquer Namazi marks the first American to be […]
5 hours ago
FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...
Associated Press

OPEC+ weighs large oil cutback to boost sagging prices

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting countries on Wednesday will debate a potentially large cut in the amount of crude it ships to the global economy — a move that could help Russia weather a looming European ban on oil imports and raise gasoline prices for U.S. drivers just ahead of national […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Pakistan’s army chief meets with US defense secretary

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s powerful military chief met Wednesday in Washington with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other security and government officials, the military said. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s trip to the United States comes weeks before he’s expected to retire after an extended six-year tenure. Although Pakistan has been ruled by the elected civilian […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
GOP gives thumbs down to Biden’s $47B emergency request