Trump Sides With Democrats on Harvey Relief, Debt Ceiling

President overrules lawmakers from the GOP
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2017 1:35 PM CDT
House Overwhelmingly Passes $7.9B Harvey Aid Bill
Jenny Killingsworth, right, holds the hand of Janeah Tieman, 10, while helping clean up a home damaged by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

President Trump overruled congressional Republicans and his own treasury secretary Wednesday and cut a deal with Democrats to fund the government and raise the federal borrowing limit for three months, all part of an agreement to speed money to Harvey relief. In the course of a relatively brief negotiating session at the White House, Trump largely sided with Democratic leaders as they pushed for the three-month deal, per the AP. He brushed aside calls from Republican congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a longer extension to the debt limit, which Republicans had been aiming for to avoid having to take another vote on the politically toxic issue before the 2018 elections. The deal promises to speed the $7.9 billion Hurricane Harvey aid bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly Wednesday, to Trump's desk.

Trump then boarded a plane to North Dakota with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, in an effort to garner bipartisan support for tax legislation that Republican leaders are crafting. "We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer," Trump told reporters on Air Force One. He did not mention House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also were present for the negotiations. "We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred, very important." The move buys almost three months, until Dec. 15, for Washington to try to solve myriad other issues, including more funding for the military, immigration, and health care, and a longer-term increase in the government's borrowing authority to avoid a first-ever default. (Read more Hurricane Harvey stories.)

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