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Biden goes on $56B domestic spending spree, but can GOP just say no?

By Jake Beardslee · October 26, 2023

In brief…

  • $56B domestic spending proposed, including disaster relief, child care, lower-income aid
  • Faces doubts in GOP House after speaker election ended standoff
  • Major items: $23.5B for FEMA, $16B to extend child care aid 1 year
  • Also includes internet access, energy security, opioid treatment, food aid
  • But lacks funding increases for WIC, student aid, Social Security
The White House aims to direct billions toward critical recovery efforts and safety net programs through this emergency package, but its passage remains uncertain given Republican reluctance to boost spending.  Carol M. Highsmith/Wikimedia

The Biden administration proposed a $56 billion domestic spending package this week, just days after requesting $105 billion for national security. The new proposal aims to fund disaster response, child care, aid for lower-income Americans, and other key programs. However, passage of the package faces an uphill battle in the House, now under Republican control, where representatives will restart talks on financing government operations once the prolonged fight over electing a speaker has concluded.

A principal element is the $23.5 billion allotted for disaster response, encompassing FEMA assistance for continuing recovery work, home repairs, agricultural losses, and fixing damaged infrastructure. Particular sums are designated for recent calamities such as the California wildfires. In addition, $16 billion would continue the child care provider support program designed during the pandemic for one more year. Democrats established this stabilization fund in 2021, but it ended last September.

Other major outlays include $6 billion to make internet access more affordable by extending discounted rates through 2024. Another $6 billion would go toward national security and energy independence by protecting communications systems, increasing uranium enrichment capabilities, and improving strategic petroleum reserves.

Smaller amounts go toward pressing issues like the fentanyl epidemic, global food shortages, wildland firefighter salaries, and home heating aid. However, the request notably lacks increases for key programs like WIC, student aid, and Social Security.