US House votes for Hurricane Harvey relief package

After meeting with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday morning, President Trump announced that he had cut a deal with the Democrats that would provide a first tranche of aid to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as keep the government funded and solvent past the end of the month. "I will be adding that as an amendment to the flood relief bill that's come over from the House, on the floor", McConnell said.

"We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good", Trump said.

"The president can speak for himself, but his feeling was that we needed to come together to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis, and that was the rationale".

For Democrats, a three-month debt-limit hike would allow them to maintain pressure on Republicans in debates over government spending and protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as "dreamers". The discussion arrived at a standstill, the source said, until Trump unexpectedly agreed with Democrats on the need for a three-month extension.

While rates on Treasury bills maturing around the previous late-September debt-limit deadline outlined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plunged, they surged on securities coming due around mid-December, suggesting Wall Street sees more legislative strife ahead.

Republicans have always been anxious that Trump, who at times was a registered Democrat, would look to cut deals with the opposition party to secure victories - which he has had trouble achieving even with a Republican-led Congress.

In a joint statement after the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer signaled that Trump agreed to punt everything to December.

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Other people familiar with the meeting said Trump and congressional leaders had a prolonged discussion on how long to extend the debt limit, and after Democrats rejected GOP leaders' proposed 18-month and six-month extensions, eventually the president said he agreed with Democrats on a three-month plan.

Granting just a three-month debt limit increase is a hardball tactic that preserves Democrats' ability to force another poisonous fight on Republicans at the end of the year.

Instead the immediate threat of a government shutdown or debt default is averted, but the hard negotiations are only delayed.

But the bill - under the new deal forged with the White House - now heads to the Senate, which is expected to act quickly but also make changes, including raising the debt ceiling.

"Nothing can really capture just how big and wide this devastation is", Ryan said prior to the vote on the need for immediate relief funding. But if the group decides to vote against the bill, it could exacerbate tensions among House Republicans and raise the specter that the bill could pass without a majority of the majority party - violating an informal rule that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) had pledged to adhere to when he became speaker in 2015. That may help Ryan gain votes of conservative lawmakers when the legislation comes back from the Senate.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are left fuming.

He also accused the Democrats of attempting to "play politics with the debt ceiling".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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