Republicans Weigh Linking Harvey Funds, Debt Limit

07 September, 2017, 01:38 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • The Latest: House plans Wednesday vote on Harvey aid

However, members also don't want to be vilified for stiffing Harvey flood victims - particularly with Hurricane Irma now taking aim at Florida and after Congress took months after 2012's Superstorm Sandy to approve emergency funding.

The House of Representative will vote on a $7.85 billion Harvey relief bill Wednesday, a package that is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund had just $541 million "immediately available" for Harvey response and recovery efforts, an agency spokeswoman told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

The rest would be put into a loan program for small businesses hit hard by the storm.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the Democratic leaders' push for a short, three-month increase in the debt limit "a ridiculous idea".

Representative Mark Walker, who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters on Wednesday he did not think "there is a single Republican who would have a problem doing some kind of relief package" but cautioned against tying it to a debt ceiling bill.

Passing the debt limit increase along with the Harvey disaster relief would spare him that headache. It will then head to the Senate, where GOP leaders are planning to tie the funding to a controversial must-pass measure to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a USA government default. The debt limit must be raised by September 29.


Some conservatives are also expecting a continuing resolution, also known as the CR, to temporarily extend current levels of government spending to be added to the Harvey aid package as well. "Republican leaders were visibly annoyed by Ivanka's presence".

"I have opposed a debt ceiling increase every time it has come up for a vote, and with the direction this is moving in, I am heavily opposed to lumping these two separate issues together", the Austin Republican added.

Top Democrats have agreed to tie funding for Harvey relief to a bill for a short-term debt limit increase, which is also a much-needed measure for the USA economy.

When the upper chamber receives the bill, lawmakers are expected to attach a measure to lift the debt ceiling, vote on the package and send it back to the House for a final vote by the end of the week.

The House GOP meets next Tuesday morning, and the Senate GOP for weekly lunch Tuesday afternoon, at which point the strategy for Harvey recovery funds and the debt limit will likely be clarified.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said the state may ultimately need more than the $120 billion that the USA spent on Hurricane Katrina recovery.

"There's a good chance that Harvey makes all that a little easier", Yarmuth said. "It's unworkable", Ryan said. "Today in Congress there are no Republicans and no Democrats". "If the Republican Party can't pass health care, can't pass tax reform, can't be fiscally responsible what are we?"

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