Senate passes disaster aid, government funding, higher debt ceiling

by Abel Hampton September 12, 2017, 1:19
Senate passes disaster aid, government funding, higher debt ceiling

Republican leaders had wanted a longer-term extension of the debt limit, but were left with little recourse when Trump sided with the top Democrats in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer of NY and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, at a White House meeting Wednesday.

The Senate is almost doubling the initial Harvey aid package.

All told, the package includes about $22 billion for FEMA's disaster relief fund, $15.25 billion of which is new, emergency funds, while another $6.7 billion was already slated to be in the spending measure that funds the government.

The additional Senate money is to jump-start rebuilding efforts.

"It will provide certainty and stability for first responder, state officials and the many others involved in preparing for and recovering from these storms with critically needed emergency funds that will not be interrupted by the prospect of a shutdown or default", he said.

"I'm certainly not voting against helping the people of Texas and Florida and those disasters", said Sen. A vote could come as early as Thursday.

The debt ceiling measure gives Congress a deadline of December 8 to agree upon a new spending plan.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who opposed the short-term debt limit idea, said on Thursday that the deal that Trump cut with Democrats made sense, with one devastating storm and another looming.

Republican leaders on Wednesday insisted on an 18-month extension of the debt ceiling, but Trump sided with the Democrats in a surprise move.

The two versions would need to be reconciled before a final bill is sent to the president for his signature. Trump also was dining with Ryan Thursday night.

"There should be some effort to offset the spending and to reform the way we do budgeting", Barton said, as some GOP lawmakers felt like they had given up a golden opportunity to make a push to rein in spending.

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