White House officials tell lawmakers they will need $1 billion in emergency funding for Afghan visa effort
The Biden administration has informed lawmakers it will need roughly $1 billion in emergency funds as it moves to quickly evacuate Afghan translators and other personnel who worked with the US military and are trying to leave the country, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.
The administration has not submitted a formal request but did provide briefings in a series of conversations on Friday about securing the additional funds for the State and Defense department efforts to expand and streamline the Afghan special immigrant visa program.
The White House outlined the need for $500 million for the State Department and up to $500 million for the Department of Defense, according to a committee aide.
A senior administration official did not weigh in directly on the likely request but said the White House is "working closely with both sides of the aisle on how we can further support those brave Afghans who have supported our work in Afghanistan."
The push for additional funds comes as lawmakers in both parties have ramped up the pressure on the White House to move quickly to address the thousands of Afghans and their families who face imminent danger amid Taliban advances as the US departs the country. The request has bipartisan support -- and could be included in a security supplemental funding package that is being negotiated on Capitol Hill, the sources said.
There's been an acute rise in civilian casualties in Afghanistan since May, according to data from the UN's Assistance Mission to Afghanistan. The rise coincides with international military forces beginning their withdrawal from the country, following President Joe Biden's April announcement of US troops' drawdown.