As the U.S. Senate considers President Joe Biden’s supplemental appropriations request for domestic priorities to support public health, energy assistance, economic development, and more, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today attended a key hearing to review the need for additional funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The panel heard testimony on a wide range of issues from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who each discussed their respective departments, and the need for additional funding for priorities like child care and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
To help more working families afford high-quality child care, the Biden Administration is seeking $16 billion in supplemental funding to help child care providers keep their staff paid and their doors open. And as winter approaches, the Biden Administration requested an additional $1.6 billion to help Americans in need lower their energy bills.
Importantly, the President’s request also includes $1.55 billion for the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program, which has provided tens of millions of dollars to Rhode Island to combat the fentanyl epidemic.
In supporting these requests, Senator Reed noted: “Congress must take bipartisan action to help lower costs for families, strengthen our economy, and keep people safe. The President’s supplemental funding request includes critical funding to tackle urgent priorities. Congress should work together to advance this package and help working families afford the necessities of life.”
In addition to bolstering child care and lower energy bills, the Biden Administration’s supplemental appropriations package requests $13.6 billion to strengthen border security and migrant initiatives, including funding to hire 1,600 new asylum officers and processing personnel; 1,300 new border patrol agents; and 375 immigration judges and legal staff to address immigration court backlogs. The request also includes over $23.5 billion for disaster response, including $9 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund under DHS, to help communities recover and rebuild after disasters.
The Biden Administration’s request also includes $1.3 billion for the State Department to respond to regional migration in the Western Hemisphere, including a new effort to encourage would-be migrants to legally apply for asylum outside the U.S. before crossing the deadly Darien gap between South and Central America.
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