House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed the House will take up a Senate bill that ties the debt ceiling to the Hurricane Harvey relief funding if it makes it through the upper chamber Tuesday.
The proposal to link the must-pass disaster aid to debt ceiling legislation has been met with sharp pushback from House conservatives. Critics of combining the two — who have long pushed for spending cuts to be included in legislation to raise the federal borrowing limit — argue the move politicizes the issue as the $7.9 billion in disaster relief would pass on its own.
McCarthy clarified comments he previously made on Fox News, telling reporters Tuesday the lower chamber will vote on a clean Harvey aid bill Wednesday, but the House is committed to ensuring the funding is able to be spent toward initial recovery efforts.
“No — you heard me this morning on Fox say that we will vote on the floor just on a supplemental, you also heard me say that the administration is telling us that there is a concern that you may not be able to spend that money if you don’t have the to ceiling raised,” he said. “If it does (pass the Senate), yes.”
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has called on Congress to combine the issues, arguing it’s necessary if lawmakers want to make sure Texas receives the money it needs.
The $7.9 billion in aid is expected to be just the first in funding bills allocated toward Harvey relief, with Congress expected to take up additional measures as they assess the damage.
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