What's in the White House's $56 Billion Domestic Supplemental Request?

Less than a week after requesting $106 billion for national security needs, the Biden Administration submitted to Congress a domestic emergency supplemental funding request totaling nearly $56 billion. The request includes funding for disaster relief as well as funding for child care, energy, food and nutrition assistance, access to high-speed internet, combating the opioid crisis, and wildland firefighter pay. 

Summary of White House Domestic Supplemental Funding Request 

Category Amount
Disaster Relief Funding $23.5 billion
Child Care Funding $16.0 billion
Affordable Connectivity Program Funding $6.0 billion
American Security and Energy Independence Funding  $6.0 billion
Additional Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Grants Funding $1.6 billion
Additional State Opioid Response Grants Funding $1.6 billion
International Food Assistance Funding  $1.1 billion
Wildland Firefighter Pay Funding  $0.2 billion
Total $55.9 billion

Sources: The White House and Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Numbers may not sum due to rounding. 

The supplemental request includes $23.5 billion for disaster relief. The largest sum includes $9 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund, which was just refilled with $16 billion of funding from September's continuing resolution. The other specific funding highlighted includes $2.8 billion for housing and infrastructure damage, $2.8 billion for agricultural losses caused by disasters, $634 million to repair highways and roads, $405 million to aid schools across the country impacted by disasters, and $127 million for Small Business Administration disaster loans. The remaining funds would be used to fund specific disaster recovery needs, including hurricanes in Florida, wildfires on Maui, and flooding throughout the country. 

The next largest amount $16 billion would be used for child care stabilization to prevent "funding cliffs" for child care providers after the expiration of one-time funding provided by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. Another $6 billion would go to extend access to free or discounted high-speed internet to low-income households through the end of next year through the Federal Communications Commission's Affordable Connectivity Program. Another $6 billion would be appropriated for software security and energy concerns, $1.6 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and $1.6 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's State Opioid Response grant program. Finally, $1.1 billion would fund international food assistance and $220 million would go toward wildland firefighter pay. 

While the White House has classified its request as an emergency supplemental funding request, it's not clear that all of this funding constitutes true emergencies, which are generally urgent, temporary, unforeseen, necessary, and sudden. These important priorities should be offset so as not to add to our already-unsustainable national debt.