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House moving swiftly on $7.9B Harvey relief bill

07 September 2017

House leaders have announced plans to vote Wednesday on a bill to deliver disaster relief to Texas as it recovers from Harvey.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats would support the disaster relief bill.

While Democrats and Republicans came together for a moment, both parties argued over the duration of the increase of the country's borrowing limit.

The Senate has until September 29 to raise the debt ceiling and until September 30 to fund the government in the new fiscal year, which McCarthy said would likely be a bill to extend federal funding for another three months. "This bill recklessly increases the national debt because it contains no spending offsets", Massie said in a statement.

The $7.9 billion package is viewed as a first "down payment" to help ensure relief is funded during the first weeks of recovery.

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"FEMA is literally running out of funds at the end of this week, unless we act with dispatch to (authorize the funds) which the House will do tomorrow, and unless we raise the debt ceiling", Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

The first installment in Harvey aid is to handle the immediate emergency needs and replenish Federal Emergency Management Agency reserves in advance of Hurricane Irma, which is barreling through the Caribbean toward Florida.

"I'm not surprised that the White House is trying to use the Harvey relief package to get a debt ceiling increase through", said Romina Boccia, deputy director for economic policy at the Heritage Foundation.

The Senate already had been expected to attach an increase in the debt ceiling.

Linking the two would help Congress finish two items off its checklist for this month, but they still have to fund the government before the end of the month, reauthorize several expiring programs and likely pass additional rounds for Harvey recovery. Senate leaders will only add it if House leaders believe they can pass it.

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Before Hurricane Harvey hit, Trump had threatened to shut down the government if any spending legislation did not include funding for the wall.

So we have got to make sure that we have the authority, the legal authority to go out and be able to put money back into FEMA, so we can respond to these hurricanes.

"Our leadership is looking at different options and discussing them with the Senate so we just had a discussion about what some of those options are", Brady added.

And the clock is ticking on a Republican plan to overhaul the USA tax code. 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. GOP lawmakers warn that failing to pass tax legislation or other Republican priorities could cost the party its congressional majority.

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House moving swiftly on $7.9B Harvey relief bill