Harvey aid, debt on returning Congress' daunting to-do list

Olivier Douliery | Abaca Press | TNS | BDN

Both measures failed by wide margins on Thursday, allowing the Senate to vote on the full package, sending it back to the House of Representatives.

There was little doubt that the bill, which provides $15.3 billion in recovery assistance, would pass.

Paul's office noted that the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) latest information shows that roughly $20 billion in unobligated foreign aid is now available, which the senator believes would be better spent on domestic emergencies. The Senate bill then on Thursday added 7.4-billion-dollar in Community Development Block Grant funding for areas most affected by 2017 disasters.

Once again, Trump is not referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by name, while referencing Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer several times. Barring unexpected setbacks, the aid measure is expected to be sent to the White House by the end of the week.

The deal made things hard for Republicans who wanted to support Harvey aid but who opposed raising the debt limit without any spending cuts.

Lawmakers approved the legislation 80-17. The House passed the Harvey agreement on Wednesday.

"I think that is ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need to respond to these hurricanes so that we do not strand them", he told reporters.

Another leadership aide told CNN that it would be incumbent on the President and other administration officials to advocate for the package, given the resistance that many conservatives have about backing any debt hike, especially after GOP leaders pressed for a longer extension than the one the president agreed to accept from Democrats. "I voted against doing just that".

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