Politics

McCarthy Says He’s Open To Tying Debt Ceiling To Harvey Funding

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he is open to linking must-pass funding for Hurricane Harvey relief to debt ceiling during an appearance on Fox News’ “Special Report” Monday.

The California Republican announced Monday the aid package — which nears the $8 billion mark for initial recovery efforts — is slated to be voted on Wednesday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is pushing for Congress to link conjoin the two measures, arguing lawmakers will need to act swiftly to ensure the government has the authorization to spend additional funds to help the Houston area.

The proposal has been with sharp criticism from House Republicans — who have long advocated for spending cuts to be attached to debt ceiling legislation — who argue linking the two politicizes disaster relief as a Harvey-funding bill would pass on its own.

“The Treasury secretary is telling us that because of Harvey, because we are putting this extra money out there to help those in need, you’re hitting the debt ceiling faster,” McCarthy told host Mike Emanuel. “That’s one of the rules of the treasury secretary. I’m going to listen to him because the last thing I’d want to have happen here is that we pass a supplemental relief for FEMA but because of the debt ceiling, we can’t help those in need.”

The leader — who visited Texas to see the damage firsthand — said lawmakers are dedicated to make sure Texas gets what it needs to recover.

“Houston is going to rebuild, Texas will rebuild, but it’s going to need help,” he said. “That’s why we’ll go back into session tomorrow, Wednesday morning we will take up the first relief package to go through and we will pass it in the House and send it to the Senate to get enough money for FEMA to keep working as the cities and counties get the estimate and understand how much help they do need going forward.

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