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Mnuchin: Tie Harvey funding to debt ceiling

Mnuchin: Tie Harvey funding to debt ceiling”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said relief funding for hurricane-ravaged areas of Texas might be delayed if the U.S. Congress does not quickly increase the government's debt limits. Ultimately, the price tag for the recovery could exceed $100 billion.

The U.S. government hit the $19.8 trillion debt limit in March and the Treasury Department has been using accounting maneuvers to free up borrowing.

House Republican leaders plan to vote this week on Trump's request in initial disaster relief funding but they don't plan to include a debt-limit increase in the legislation, two GOP congressional aides said before Mulvaney's letter was sent. We need to make sure that we can get to Texas the appropriate amount of money to rebuild the state. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, however, Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday that the deadline could move up a few days.

The U.S. government has a statutory limit on how much money it can borrow to cover the budget deficit that results from Washington spending more than it collects in taxes.

Harvey, which came ashore on August 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, has killed an estimated 50 people, displaced more than 1 million and damaged some 200,000 homes in a path of destruction stretching for more than 300 miles (480 km).

Republican lawmakers, who control both houses of Congress, have traditionally resisted raising the debt ceiling, but linking the issue to Harvey aid could force their hand with people suffering and large areas of the fourth-largest US city under water. "I know that the wall is a huge priority to the president and we want to make sure that we get money for that. It is absolutely critical, and the president is committed to making sure that the states have the money that they need".

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"Given the interplay between all the issues Congress must tackle in September, Democrats and Republicans must discuss all the issues together and come up with a bipartisan consensus", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California, said in a joint statement.

Mnuchin's spending-debt ceiling pitch resulted in a quick and favorable response from Congress's top two Democratic leaders.

Asked about Trump's tweet earlier on Sunday that appeasing the Kim's regime will not work and that "they only understand one thing", Mnuchin said the USA will pursue several options to curb the country's weapons program.

If Congress approves the relief but additional money is not borrowed, "we're not going to be able to get that money to the state". "I think we may be in a situation where the administration believes we'll get more economic growth than perhaps the models that come out of Congress".

Members of US Congress return from summer recess Tuesday with the eyes of bond traders squarely upon them.



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