Some Democrats Discuss Adding Refugee Funding to Budget Package
(Bloomberg) -- Some congressional Democrats are discussing putting money to help resettle Afghan refugees in the $3.5 trillion tax and spending package currently being drawn up, according to officials familiar with the discussions.
The discussions are in an early phase and no decision has been made about a dollar amount or how it would fit within the process known as reconciliation that Democrats are using to push through Congress the biggest portion of President Joe Biden’s $4.1 trillion economic agenda.
The funds would be in addition to the $1 billion for evacuations, visas and other refugee processing that is part of a supplemental security spending Congress has already passed. The new spending would be focused primarily on resettlement costs, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks haven’t been made public. The discussions were first reported by Axios.
The $3.5 trillion budget package still has a long way to go and numerous obstacles to overcome before it gets through Congress, so any additional money for refugees would not be available quickly.
Separately on Monday, Biden approved spending as much as $500 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to assist those fleeing the situation in Afghanistan.
The security supplemental passed last month by Congress and signed by Biden included $500 million in new money for emergency transportation, housing and other services; $25 million toward assistance in granting special immigration status once refugees arrive and $600 million for State Department and the Special Immigrant Visa program.
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