After the five-week recess, congressional lawmakers have a packed Autumn agenda. They must boost the country’s debt ceiling by the end of the month, overhaul the tax code, and issue new immigration legislation to offset Trump’s actions.
But one of the top priorities is a disaster relief bill that would direct $7.9 billion to Harvey victims. Congress has decided in recent weeks to combine a raised borrowing limit with the said aid. Hardline conservatives, on the other hand, don’t want the country’s $19.9 trillion debt ceiling raised unless they see significant cuts in federal spending.
Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiled that Trump thinks any change to the debt ceiling should be tied to the disaster relief funding. Mnuchin explained that if the U.S. government is not allowed to borrow more, it cannot give the money to the states Harvey hit, even if Congress appropriates the cash.
“So, we need to put politics aside,” Mnuchin said.
Congress Wants to Look Competent in Handling Harvey
Congress is expected to rush the Harvey aid installment through House and Senate in a bid to help Houston and other affected areas with recovery and rebuilding efforts. An extra aid bill will be attached to a spending bill which aims to expand government funding by the end of the month when the budget year ends.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) noted that people just pulled off their roofs and are thinking about where they’re going to sleep the next night. So, the last thing they want to hear about is Congress’ frictions over its spending bills.
If Congress and the Trump administration join forces to quickly unlock the funds, Trump and his Republican colleagues have a chance of looking competent in the eyes of the American public. GOP lawmakers are looking for last-minute accomplishments before next year’s midterm elections.
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