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President Biden wants Congress to allocate billions of dollars to help deal with two huge issues - natural disasters and resettling Afghan evacuees. The request represents two of the ongoing challenges that the Biden administration is facing right now. NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez reports.
FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: The White House is calling for more than $24 billion to help with ongoing wildfires in California and hurricanes that have hit the United States. President Biden traveled to New York and New Jersey yesterday, where he blamed the devastation caused by the latest storm Ida on climate change.
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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The nation and the world are in peril. And that's not hyperbole. That is a fact. They've been warning us the extreme weather would get more extreme over the decade, and we're living it in real time now.
ORDOÑEZ: Biden officials are also asking for $6.4 billion to help resettle vulnerable Afghans who were evacuated when the United States ended the war. The administration estimates that 65,000 Afghans will be brought to the U.S. by the end of the month, with thousands more over the next year. The money would go to security screenings and public health checks. It would also provide those allowed into the country help with their basic needs.
MATTHEW SOERENS: A week or so ago, we were being told that, well, Afghans are going to be paroled in and it's - we don't know if there's going to be governmental funding to help with that.
ORDOÑEZ: That's Matthew Soerens of the national resettlement agency World Relief. He and others have been critical of the administration's decision to leave so many Afghan allies behind. But he said it was important for the U.S. to contribute funds.
SOERENS: There has been really great private support from churches, individuals, and we're still going to need that. We always do with refugee resettlement. But for the government to basically provide at least the normal funding they do for refugee resettlement is an important step.
ORDOÑEZ: The Biden administration wants Congress to move quickly and include the funding in legislation that would help avert a government shutdown at the end of this month.
Franco Ordoñez, NPR News, Washington.
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