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House advances Harvey relief bill

by Evan Wilt
Posted 9/06/17, 01:22 pm

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved almost $8 billion in Harvey storm recovery funds, setting up a possible showdown with the U.S. Senate. The bill overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 419-3. If signed into law, it would provide $7.4 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund and $450 million to the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program to help affected businesses and homeowners. But the package’s fate gets more complicated going forward because Senate leaders plan to couple the Harvey relief bill with legislation to raise the federal debt limit. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urged Congress this week to combine the issues and raise the debt ceiling before Sept. 29. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said in a joint statement Wednesday that they supported the idea. The Democratic leaders proposed increasing the government’s borrowing capacity for three months and providing immediate Harvey relief. Many conservative lawmakers want to stay away from raising the debt ceiling but could face a dilemma if a no vote means delaying Harvey funds. “I think that’s a ridiculous idea,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday. “We’ve got all this devastation in Texas; we’ve got another unprecedented hurricane about to hit Florida. And they want to play politics with the debt ceiling?” 

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Evan Wilt

Evan is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD reporter.

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