Senate ups Hurricane Harvey relief package to $15 billion

Senate ups Hurricane Harvey relief package to $15 billion”

The Senate approved legislation Thursday extending both the USA debt limit and government funding through December 8.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had wanted to raise the debt ceiling through the 2018 midterm congressional elections but Democrats knew that would "destroy any negotiations leverage that we would have" over the coming months, Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.

More than dozen Senate Republicans voted no on the package that was agreed to by President Trump at the request of Democratic leaders.

The head of another conservative group, the House Freedom Caucus, also opposes the three-pronged package.

With the federal government's funding expiring October 1, the Treasury Department had urged Congress to raise the debt limit before the end of this month.

The fiscal deal eases the pressure to resolve a thicket of pressing issues this month, but it sets up a high-stakes faceoff later this year when lawmakers will need to agree on another funding measure to keep the government open in the long term.

With Hurricane Irma heading towards Florida and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) running out of funds, President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill. Many conservatives are reluctant to vote increase the debt limit without taking any other steps to curb federal spending. Watt's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund has raised more than $18 million to date to help those affected by the storm.

Their agreement comes as legislators have been occupied with the more immediate threat of Hurricane Irma heading for Florida this week, as well as the hard job of rebuilding after Harvey.

The Senate vote comes a day after Trump shocked GOP leaders by siding with top Democrats Sen. "The advance of another historic storm now makes the need for action even more urgent". Trump also was dining with Ryan Thursday night.

Ryan said that the president didn't want to have "some partisan fight in the middle of the response".

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