Heritage Action is asking Republican lawmakers to vote against a bill combining a debt ceiling extension, budget resolution and Hurricane Harvey aid package backed by President Donald Trump.
The influential conservative political advocacy group will count each member’s decision on the bill as a key vote on its congressional scorecard, which measures how well lawmakers adhere to conservative principles.
“Heritage Action opposes efforts to tie the debt ceiling to emergency disaster spending and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard,” the group said in a statement.
Trump agreed to support the combined bill, which offers $7.85 billion in Harvey funding, funds the government through December and provides a 3-month extension to the debt ceiling, after a meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday.
“In the meeting, the President and Congressional leadership agreed to pass aid for Harvey, an extension of the debt limit, and a continuing resolution both to December 15, all together,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday.
The House passed the Harvey funding bill Wednesday, and it will be amended in the Senate to include the debt ceiling extension and a continuing resolution.
While Heritage Action supports increasing funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will run out of money to provide relief to Harvey in the next week, the group opposes tying funding to the debt ceiling.
Tying the debt ceiling extension to disaster funding amounts to “exploiting this hurricane and people who lost their houses to allow business as usual in Washington,” Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham said on Fox News Sunday.
“Our nation’s debt ceiling should be used as an opportunity to address the federal government’s spending addiction and ultimately get our nation on a path to balance,” Heritage Action said in the statement.
Republicans took Trump’s decision to side with the Democrats on the debt ceiling bill as a snub, and some worry it will decrease the majority’s leverage when it comes time to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling in December.
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