House Overwhelming Passes $7.9 Billion Harvey Aid Package

The Capitol is seen during a heavy rain in Washington in July

The Capitol is seen during a heavy rain in Washington in July

Rep. Roger Williams supports sending billions for Harvey aid, but said in a statement early Wednesday he was "disappointed there has been mention of combining this critical funding with a debt ceiling increase".

The money will go to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which rushed to the rescue as Harvey dumped a record amount of rain on southeastern Texas, in what analysts said is likely to be the costliest storm in US history.

The House-passed measure, which provides $7.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $450 million for the Small Business Administration, will now go to the Senate.

Leaders said they were especially confident that they initial bill would pass the House.

A top House conservative said Monday that he would oppose any effort to use the Harvey aid bill to raise the debt ceiling.

The measure does have support from both parties.

Democratic leaders said they would support tying the debt increase to Harvey aid, but only if the debt increase lasts just three months - which would put Congress right back in another crisis at the end of this year. But including it in the disaster relief bill could avert a public intra-party fight as it will make it hard for critics to vote against aid for those left in the wake of Harvey, especially since some of the biggest fiscal hawks are from storm-devastated Texas.


These numbers, which combined amount to about $15 billion, are just for immediate spending needs after Harvey.

Now some lawmakers are looking to add it to a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

The Senate is expected to attach the money to a debt-limit vote later this week.

"I'm willing to not say that hurricane relief has to have offsets", said Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

"With $20 trillion dollars of debt, and in the absence of a budget to guide spending, I believe that unscheduled spending should be offset by equal cuts elsewhere".

"The truth is that the bulk of the Republican conference do not want to attach Harvey relief to a debt ceiling", Walker told reporters. "I think the deal will be very good", he said. The debt limit must be raised by September 29. "Republican leaders were visibly annoyed by Ivanka's presence". "I continue to be anxious about the debt, but I don't think this is the time to have that debate". That will strand the aid that we need to bring to the victims of these storms that have occurred or are about to occur and then also want to threaten default on our debt. Articles featured include reporting on world news, politics, finance, health, entertainment and technology.

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