Mnuchin: Congress Should Tie Harvey Aid to a Federal Debt Limit Increase

Jerome Frank
September 4, 2017

Trump now appears to be hoping that the urgent need for hurricane money can help get the GOP out of this mess - that pairing the debt limit increase with Harvey aid will prove a popular measure that enough Republicans can support.

Republican lawmakers, who control both houses of Congress, have traditionally resisted raising the debt ceiling, but linking the issue to hurricane relief could force their hand with people suffering and much of the fourth-largest US city under water.

President Donald Trump visited storm-ravaged Texas Saturday saying he hopes for a "quick process" getting Congress to approve nearly $8 billion in initial Harvey relief. Mnuchin says he's not confident that Texas would quickly get the aid it needs without raising the debt limit.

"Quite the contrary", Mr. Mnuchin told "Fox News Sunday".

Yet Trump's preference is in conflict with the views of the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives in the House of Representatives that has often proved influential in fights over federal spending. In either case, traders are wary of the political gamesmanship that's become all too familiar around the debt ceiling.

Mnuchin said he thinks if the debt limit isn't raised, that will interfere with the storm relief effort.

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Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., that included grants for housing and other repairs patterned after the Katrina response. Many Republicans opposed the full $51 billion aid package, which included a $34 billion amendment by Rep.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement urging bipartisanship on both issues Sunday afternoon, but did not commit to anything outright.

"Providing aid in the wake of Harvey and raising the debt ceiling are both important issues, and Democrats want to work to do both".

Mnuchin said if Congress appropriates the money, but he doesn't have the ability to borrow more money and pay for it, "we're not going to be able to get that money to the state".

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is putting together new sanctions seeking to cut off trade with North Korea after it detonated a thermonuclear device in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Mnuchin has repeatedly said that it's "critical" that Congress raise the debt ceiling by September 29.

Speaking Sunday on ABC's "This Week, " Cruz said the USA should "use economic leverage to go against not only North Korea but every financial institution, every company that does business with North Korea". China, which Trump said in an earlier tweet has been "embarrassed" by North Korea, is the country's largest trading partner, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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