Trump administration wants to tie Harvey relief money to debt ceiling

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During a "Fox News Sunday" appearance, Mnuchin said he and Trump believe Congress should raise the debt ceiling and approve an initial tranche of funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery together.

"With Harvey, it's moved the situation up earlier, and without raising the debt limit, I'm not comfortable that we would get the money that we need this month to Texas to rebuild", Mnuchin said, adding that it is a priority.

Trump has called on Congress to approve nearly $8 billion for initial aid to Harvey victims although that's only the first in what is expected to be lots more money in aid in the near future.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on CNN's "State of the Union" that $120 billion was needed to respond to Hurricane Katrina and he expects damage from Harvey will be greater.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., requesting the storm aid, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney Friday stopped short of explicitly asking for the aid to be tied to raising the debt ceiling.

"We all know it", McCarthy said on Fox News Channel's "Special Report".

"What happened in Texas is a tragedy and it needs an urgent Congressional response", the North Carolina Republican said in a statement. ".I think that will be separate and distinct from the debt ceiling".

That sobering cost and the urgent needs of Harvey's victims have helped to calm a fiscal storm that had threatened to engulf Congress and President Donald Trump ahead of October 1. Then, when the new fiscal year begins on October 1, Congress must also have passed a measure to fund most operations of the federal government and avoid a shutdown.

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Before Harvey, Trump had threatened to veto such spending and trigger a shutdown if Congress refused to fund his proposed U.S. -Mexico border wall. So, we need to put politics aside and we're going to be urging Congress to get both of those things done as quickly as they can.

Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, but could bring some fiscal order to Washington where Republicans and Democrats will need to put political differences aside in order to approve spending to fix the damage from flooding in and around Houston.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, said he wouldn't be opposed to combining the two measures and said the urgency of Harvey disaster relief provides "another reason as to why you want to keep the government open".

At the same time, he said the drinking water is safe, the electric grid is mostly functional and airports and public transit systems are up and running.

As of the Labor Day holiday weekend, approval by Congress was widely anticipated in late September of a stopgap bill, or continuing resolution, to continue current spending levels for two to three more months.

Mr. Long said his agency has deployed management teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to prepare for the approaching system, which has strengthened to a category-three storm as it approaches the Caribbean.

"I think everyone wants a clean supplemental", Bossert told reporters.

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