Trump Sides With Democrats In Deal On Storm Relief And Fiscal Deadlines

Trump Sides With Democrats In Deal On Storm Relief And Fiscal Deadlines

President Trump struck a rare deal with the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government in exchange for $8 billion Harvey aid, Congressional leaders claimed Wednesday.

"The president agreed with Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Pelosi to do a three-month CR and debt ceiling until December", said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. "We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good".

"I think that's a ridiculous idea", the Wisconsin Republican said about the idea proposed by Democratic leaders, adding that a short-term debt limit increase would not benefit people in Texas and Louisiana who have to deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. "His feeling was that we needed to come together to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis", he said of Trump.

Knowing the urgency needed and the difficulty of voting against disaster relief, Republican leadership plans to attach an increase to the debt ceiling when the bill arrives in the Senate, putting conservatives who oppose lifting the borrowing limit without budgetary reforms and guarantees of reduced government spending in a hard place: Vote against disaster relief or turn their back on principled opposition to increased government spending. "We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred - very important - always we'll agree on debt ceiling automatically because of the importance of it". If not, the government would be unable to borrow more money or pay its bills, including its debt payments.

The deal would clear the deck of the three biggest September priorities for GOP leadership amid a packed floor schedule, but is likely to spark outrage from rank-and-file Republicans.

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In a joint statement after the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer signaled that Trump agreed to punt everything to December.

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill to provide $7.9bn for victims of the floods before the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) runs out of funds later this week.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put a clean DREAM Act on the floor for a vote.

" We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer", Trump told reporters on the presidential aircraft, not offering any mention of Ryan or McConnell, who also were present.

Republican leaders, faced with conservative opposition to raising the debt limit, had hoped to advance a measure that would take the issue off the table until after the 2018 midterm elections.

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Instead the immediate threat of a government shutdown or debt default is averted, but the hard negotiations are only delayed.

"We've got to stop playing politics with these kids", said rising Democratic star Sen.

Cruz wouldn't say if he'd support Harvey funding combined with the debt ceiling. Ryan said. "That will strand the aid that we need to bring to the victims of these storms".

The agreement comes as Congress, which reconvened this week following the August recess, faces a series of pressing fiscal deadlines. But while the Democratic offer could make up for lost conservative votes, it would mean revisiting the debt-ceiling debate in just three months, an option some lawmakers want to avoid.

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