Three Republicans vote against Harvey aid package

John Cornyn | TheHill

In a rebuke to Republican leaders, Trump backed Democrats' plan to support a deal that would fund Hurricane Harvey aid but only raise the debt ceiling for three months.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY want to retain Democratic influence and trying to ensure the Republican-controlled Congress addresses health care and immigration as the hectic fall agenda kicks off.

The House Appropriations Committee Sunday released the text of the Harvey bill, which would provide $7.4 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund and $450 million to the Small Business Administration without cutting spending elsewhere in the budget.

"We are with you and we will be with you until we are even stronger than before", he added, addressing Texas flood victims.

"I think it's a awful idea", Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus said, but conceded there may be bigger battles to fight. He and Amash are both members of the House Freedom Caucus, though most of the far-right group's members did vote for the Harvey aid on Wednesday. Republicans are looking to extend the debt ceiling until the end of 2018.

"I think that's ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need to respond to these hurricanes so that we do not strand them", Ryan told reporters.

Top Democrats have agreed to tie funding for Harvey relief to a bill for a short-term debt limit increase, which is also a much-needed measure for the USA economy.

The day before, GOP leaders in the Senate announced they would attach a provision addressing the looming debt ceiling deadline onto a Hurricane Harvey relief bill.

"This takes 60 votes in the Senate", Ryan said.

The House is expected to vote on an initial version of the disaster relief package on Wednesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, center, arrives for a meeting with House Republicans, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. They said, however, that they would only support a debt-ceiling increase that amounted to a three-month extension.

Schumer identified two of those priorities as legalizing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump ended Tuesday, and a long-term bill funding insurers to stabilize the individual health insurance market created by Obamacare.

"I'm told if we don't raise the debt ceiling, then we can't appropriate the additional funds for Harvey on an emergency basis, which we absolutely need to do", he added.

"I think that's a mistake", he said.

Democrats also have not signed off on the plan, in part because Ryan and McConnell have not yet committed to how long the debt-limit increase would last. Republicans also want to tackle tax reform.



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