Mnuchin says hurricane relief aid should be tied to raising debt limit

Posted September 04, 2017

"I feel a lot of Houston is drying out, and I don't want them to forget about us", she said.

"Without raising the debt limit, I am not comfortable that we will get money to Texas this month to rebuild", Mnuchin told Fox News.

Bitter divisions among Republican Party lawmakers and President Donald Trump's unpredictability could rule out a deal to raise the USA debt limit before an October deadline, several lobbyists representing dozens of bankers, investors and credit rating agencies, told Reuters.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that he and President Donald Trump want a higher debt limit linked to Hurricane Harvey relief funding.

Some House conservatives have said directly pairing Harvey aid with an increase in the debt limit would be a "terrible idea" that sends the wrong message on overall government spending.

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Asked about funding for the wall, Mnuchin said the president's top priority was the Harvey aid.

The U.S. government hit the $19.8 trillion debt limit in March and the Treasury Department has been using accounting maneuvers to free up borrowing.

The Republican-controlled Congress - which includes fiscal conservatives adverse to more spending or borrowing - must upon returning also promptly agree on another key issue, passing a spending resolution to keep the federal government fully operational past September 30.

"Our first priority is to make sure the state gets money".

But on Sunday, he said that deadline had moved up due to unexpected new spending on Harvey.

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"To use that [hurricane aid] as a vehicle to get people to vote for a debt ceiling is not appropriate", the group's chair, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said last week to The Washington Post.

Harvey, which first came ashore on August 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years, has killed an estimated 47 people, displaced more than 1 million and damaged some 200,000 homes in a path of destruction stretching for more than 300 miles (480 kms).

American financial firms are expressing alarm over fears that an increasingly dysfunctional US Congress may fail to reach an agreement to raise the country's debt ceiling.

Congress will also upon its return begin working on Trump's plan to overhaul the federal tax code.

Blunt, on NBC, said Hurricane Harvey has created "another reason as to why you'd want to keep the government open" by passing legislation to fund the government this month. "I think we may be in a situation where the administration believes we'll get more economic growth than perhaps the models that come out of Congress".

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