Debt limit hike expected to be added to Harvey relief bill

Jerome Frank
September 7, 2017

The House of Representatives Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a $7.85 billion aid package for Hurricane Harvey victims with broad bipartisan support. Ryan said it would be "ridiculous and disgraceful" for Democrats to leverage the debt ceiling for their agenda when Harvey caused historic damage and Hurricane Irma threatens to strike Florida.

The debt limit must be raised by September 29.

"In addition to a recovery package for Houston, we have to pass appropriations to keep the government open, raise the debt ceiling, protect the Dreamers, provide certainty on the cost-sharing programs that keep health care premiums down, and much, much more", he said.

Rep. Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, said members were surprised by the idea to attach the aid to the debt ceiling. Officials also signaled that President Donald Trump won't press his demands to fund a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border this month, a measure opposed by Democrats.

Wednesday's vote showed just how much things have changed since the Sandy fight, which saw many in the GOP, including most Texas Republicans, balk at an aid package, saying it was bloated with non-emergency provisions.

"Given the need for additional spending as a result of disaster response and initial recovery from Hurricane Harvey, the administration continues to urge the Congress to act expeditiously to ensure that the debt ceiling does not affect these critical response and recovery efforts", The White House stated. If Congress appropriates the money, but I don'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.

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A top House conservative said Monday that he would oppose any effort to use the Harvey aid bill to raise the debt ceiling.

If the Senate approves the government spending bill as expected, it will go back to the House for approval before it can go to Trump for sign-off.

Yet again, the Republican establishment controlled leadership is bending over backward to avoid spending cuts.

The House attached the disaster relief to a bill that updates practices for USA assistance to promote basic education in developing countries.

That raised the ire of House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling the proposition " unworkable". "This bill recklessly increases the national debt because it contains no spending offsets", Massie said in a statement.

"They ought to be separate bills", said Arlington Rep. Joe Barton, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Tuesday. It's not immediately clear when the Senate will take up the bill, but it is expected to sometime this week. 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.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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