House approves $7.85 billion Harvey relief package

How Harvey Impacts the Debt Ceiling Debate

Lawmakers are feeling the pressure to provide extra funds for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The funds will "allow FEMA to continue response and recovery efforts, including life-saving missions, while also ensuring the agency has resources available should another emergency arise", said Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen, head of the House Appropriations Committee.

Republican and Democratic congressional leaders will meet with Trump at the White House Wednesday to discuss this month's agenda.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved roughly $8 billion in initial emergency aid for relief and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey, which tore into Texas on August 25.

"We speak in one voice", said Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas Democrat.

"I think that's a ridiculous idea", the Wisconsin Republican responded.

"Providing aid in the wake of Harvey and raising the debt ceiling are both important issues, and Democrats want to work to do both", Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement. It is critical. And to do that, we need to make sure we raise the debt limit.

The plan appears to have the backing of Republican leaders, but rank-and-file members on Tuesday were less supportive.

Capitol Hill's top Democrats say they're willing to pair a short-term increase in the government's borrowing cap with the Harvey aid bill.

House Republicans are working to advance emergency funds for Hurricane Harvey this week while Senate GOP leaders may add a debt limit increase to the measure when it reaches their chamber, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

The bill, which passed 419-3, now moves to the Senate, where GOP leadership plans to link it to a separate effort to raise the debt ceiling.

The Senate could add a debt-ceiling increase to the bill once it arrives from the House.

The Trump White House warned that in order to ensure that Texas receives the necessary funds, the Congress needs to tackle one more thing: the USA debt limit. Chuck Schumer of NY say a three-month increase in the debt limit would help ensure that Congress would tackle health care, immigration and looming budget cuts. The GOP hopes to have the bill on President Donald Trump's desk by Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered a very similar statement on the Senate floor Tuesday. Senate Republicans do want a debt ceiling increase tied to Harvey aid.

"I think that's a mistake", he said.

"This is a chance to be your brother's keeper", said Houston Democratic Rep. Al Green. That will strand the aid that we need to bring to the victims of these storms that have occurred or are about to occur and then also want to threaten default on our debt.



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