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House rushes to vote first billions for Harvey relief

House rushes to vote first billions for Harvey relief”

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican in the chamber, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will run out of money by the end of the week and that it's "imperative" to get a supplemental spending bill passed for the clean-up in his home state after the massive storm. The Senate has not said when or how it will vote on Harvey aid.

Harvey aid at top of long to-do list as Congress returns The Memo: Trump faces critical fall Week ahead in finance: Lawmakers brace for high-stakes September MORE (R-Ky.) had made the decision to tie the debt-limit hike to the Harvey bill.

Congress could have another chance to use a popular Harvey aid package to raise the debt ceiling later in the month.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, said members were surprised by the idea to attach the aid to the debt ceiling. "That's our priority. We need to help the people in Texas, and we need to get that done". Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a Freedom Caucus member, said Tuesday.

Cornyn said if Paul filibusters a Harvey and debt ceiling bill, GOP leaders would vote to block Paul.

"There's a program, kids are protected by it, they are going to lose that protection if we don't act", Flake said. Such a strategy might make it easier for the debt ceiling bill to pass, since Republicans are divided on raising the debt limit but Harvey aid has wide bipartisan support. Many Republicans simply won't vote to increase the limit without cuts elsewhere in government spending.

The bigger debates could be even more volatile.

The move on a $7.9 billion relief package would replenish a rapidly depleting disaster aid fund even as another storm, Hurricane Irma, churns out in the Atlantic. "We have to deal with Harvey, we have the debt ceiling, we have a continuing resolution, which will be just about a three-month continuing resolution".

"I think that's ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling a this moment when we have fellow citizens in need to respond to these hurricanes". "So, that would make it harder to do the CR but I do think it's fine to do the debt".

GOP leaders have indicated they want to link a $7.9 billion initial installment of disaster aid with a debt limit increase - allowing the government to borrow freely again to cover its bills.

Asked about timing of the Senate's action, he said a vote would take place "soon", adding that "we'll get it done this week".

In his remarks, McConnell did not directly address the issue of tying the debt ceiling to the disaster relief bill, something many conservatives oppose because they oppose increasing the debt ceiling unless under certain conditions and don't want to appear insensitive to hurricane victims by voting against emergency funds.

The initial bill before the House, H.R. 3672, would only include funds for FEMA and additional money for the Small Business Administration - aimed at helping victims of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston and other parts of the Gulf coast - despite a suggestion by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to include a debt-ceiling increase to prevent a USA default.

Despite feuding with Trump over the summer as the president attacked him for the Senate's failure on health care, McConnell earlier praised Trump as "very engaged on this issue".



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