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House Approves Harvey Relief Bill Among Debt Ceiling Controversy

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a sweeping deal that will keep the government running and provide much-needed aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Lawmakers approved the legislation 80-17.

WASHINGTON - Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate upped the Hurricane relief package to $15.25 billion Thursday, nearly doubling the $7.85 billion in aid approve a day earlier by the House. The Senate bill also extends a federal flood insurance program to December 8.

"It's unfortunate, they ought to be separate votes", said Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who predicted he would not be the only Texan on Friday to oppose the Harvey aid bill in the House, all because of the deal that President Trump struck with Democrats, and forced on GOP leaders.

The $15 billion-plus aid package is also crafted in such a way to free up another $7 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief funds.

The aid package, almost double Trump's initial request, now goes to the House of Representatives, where a group of more than 150 conservative Republicans have announced their opposition to the plan.

"This is an embarrassing moment for a Republican controlled Congress and a Republican controlled administration", said Sen.

The deal made things hard for Republicans who wanted to support Harvey aid but who opposed raising the debt limit without any spending cuts.

President Trump has signed the bill.

"He wanted to have a bipartisan response and not a food fight on the timing of the debt limit", Mr. Ryan said Thursday in an interview with the New York Times streamed live. All the "no" votes came from Republicans, who balked at the idea of a three-month hike of the debt ceiling. "We said, 'We'll take it back to our caucus'". Ben Sasse, R-Neb. But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday broke rank with those who voiced opposition.



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