House Speaker Paul Ryan blasted Democratic leadership’s call for a three-month debt limit increase to be attached to Hurricane Harvey relief aid, arguing now is not the time to play politics.
The Wisconsin Republican said during a press conference Wednesday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s push for a short-term debt ceiling hike is unworkable. He told reporters the move would put their ability to properly respond to the devastation caused by the storms in jeopardy.
“Let’s just think about this — we’ve got all this devastation in Texas. We’ve got another unprecedented hurricane about to hit Florida — and they want to play politics with the debt ceiling?” he said “That will strain the aid that we need to bring to the victims of these storms that have occurred or are about to occur. And then they also want to threaten default on our debt?”
Ryan said he thinks the proposal is “ridiculous and disgraceful,” noting they have to take action on raising the federal borrowing act quickly to assure they have the authority to allocate funds to FEMA.
The House is slated to vote on a clean hurricane relief package Wednesday, which will be sent to the Senate where language on the debt ceiling is expected to be added to the must-pass bill before being sent back to the lower chamber.
Linking the measures has been with sharp pushback from House conservatives, who have long pushed for spending cuts to be attached the debt ceiling legislation. Top members of the House Freedom Caucus argue combining the issues politicizes passing disaster relief, which would easily pass as a stand-alone bill.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed Tuesday the lower chamber will bring the Senate bill to the floor if it passes the upper chamber.
A GOP aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation the House could be in through the weekend if they don’t pass Harvey aid by Friday.
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