Published: Thu, September 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Trump, Democrats Reach Deal on Debt Ceiling, Harvey Relief

Trump, Democrats Reach Deal on Debt Ceiling, Harvey Relief

A Democratic aide who was briefed on the meeting told The Washington Examiner that budget discussions between GOP and Democratic leadership came to a screeching halt when the first daughter dropped by like she's the wacky neighbor on a sitcom.

Mr Trump's deal with the Democrats means that the Republican-controlled Congress will have to address partisan issues such as healthcare and immigration later in the year while negotiating with Democrats over a debt vote.

"In the meeting, the President and Congressional leadership agreed to pass aid for Harvey, an extension of the debt limit, and a continuing resolution both to December 15, all together".

Most of the money - about $7.4 billion - will provide short-term support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's efforts to aid those affected by the storm.

The package would set up a tough vote for many Republicans, who want to back relief for Harvey victims but do not want to vote on legislation that raises the debt ceiling or a funding bill that but does nothing to restrict future government spending.

Pelosi and Schumer had advocated for a short-term rise in the debt ceiling, a move that would allow the US government to continue to borrow money.

Taking advantage of the Republican division, Democrats are inserting their own demands, saying they will vote for Harvey aid with a three-month extension of the debt ceiling. "We'll probably know pretty much at the end of this meeting", Mr. Trump said in a pool spray before the private meeting in the Oval Office kicked off.

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The White House insisted that the move would allow Congress and the administration to focus on other important legislative priorities.

According to Politico, McConnell who had originally advocated for an 18-month hike in the debt ceiling were forced on the defensive, retreating to advocating for six months.

At least one Republican senator, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, swiftly lashed out at the news, issuing a terse statement: "The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad".

Sen. Mark Walker, R-N.C., and chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Republican leaders have been pushing for a way to find the easiest way to pass a debt ceiling with no reforms attached.

Following the meeting, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan called the Democratic proposal "unworkable" and "ridiculous", putting the president at odds with his own party. That total would likely be closer if the debt ceiling and a short-term government funding bill are added to the legislation once it reaches the Senate.

The House of Representatives approved almost $8 billion of initial emergency relief funds Wednesday for victims of Hurricane Harvey, a deadly storm that ravaged Houston, Texas, and other areas of the Gulf Coast region last week. But while the Democratic offer could make up for lost conservative votes, it would mean revisiting the debt-ceiling debate in just three months, an option some lawmakers want to avoid.

Ryan on Wednesday said "we will not leave" until the relief package is passed. Chuck Schumer of NY say a three-month increase in the debt limit would help ensure that Congress would tackle health care, immigration and looming budget cuts.

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