Congress has returned from summer vacation with a large to-do list and very little time to accomplish everything. The debt limit expires at the end of the month on September 30th and the sense of urgency caused by Hurricane Harvey makes it even more important to do everything possible to avoid a government shutdown.
President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin want to attach an aid package for Hurricane Harvey to raising the debt limit although many Republicans in Congress are against a combination of the two priorities. Prior to the devastation wrought by the hurricane, President Trump had threatened a government shutdown if money for a Mexican border wall was not included in a government funding bill. However, it would now be seen as politically unwise for him to stick to that threat given the immediate aid needed by victims of the hurricane. Nonetheless, many Republicans (including the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus), are against attaching hurricane relief to a debt limit increase.
Today (On Wednesday, September 6), President Trump and Congressional leadership met and came to an agreement on supporting “aid for Harvey, an extension of the debt limit, and a continuing resolution both to December 15, all together” according to a joint statement released by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. They also said that “Both sides have every intention of avoiding default in December and look forward to working together...” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be adding these measures to the hurricane relief measure currently on the floor and supporting it. With support from Democrats, the measure is expected to pass despite some Republican opposition.
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