Debt limit hike expected to be added to Harvey relief bill

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.

The House will vote Wednesday on a Hurricane Harvey relief bill that won't contain language aimed at preventing a U.S default on its debt. An additional $450 million would help finance disaster loans through the Small Business Association.

In the Senate, GOP leaders want to link a long-term increase in the debt limit - until 2019 - to the Harvey aid, but that plan faces opposition from conservatives and thus will need Democratic votes.

John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the highest ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said Harvey's devastation has sapped both parties' appetite for a showdown over must-pass bills like the debt limit.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had favored linking the Harvey aid to a measure to raise the debt ceiling, or the federal government's borrowing limit, through the 2018 midterm elections, aides said. We've got another unprecedented hurricane about to hit Florida, and they want to play politics with the debt ceiling?

These numbers, which combined amount to about $15 billion, are just for immediate spending needs after Harvey.

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"They want the debt ceiling done no matter how it gets done, and I think they support this approach", Meadows told reporters.

The 419-3 vote sent the aid package - likely the first of several - to the Senate in hopes of sending the bill to President Donald Trump before dwindling federal disaster reserves run out at the end of this week.

Conservative Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who represents a Dallas-area district, said he is eager to deliver relief for his fellow Texans but he would not say whether he would vote for an aid bill tied to a debt-limit increase. According to her, tying the two is "opportunistic" and allows USA lawmakers to avoid having a hard conversation on cutting spending. The White House has asked for almost $8 billion in emergency aid, which the House is expected to vote on this week. "It is critical, and to do that we need to make sure we raise the debt limit".

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

The plan appears to have the backing of Republican leaders, but rank-and-file members on Tuesday were less supportive. "I continue to be anxious about the debt, but I don't think this is the time to have that debate". Republicans passed spending reforms with Barack Obama as president.

CNN Wire and the CNN Video Affiliate Network is an online syndication service providing text and video versions of CNN's award-winning news coverage.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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