House Approves Harvey Relief Bill Among Debt Ceiling Controversy

Senate moves ahead with disaster relief fiscal package

Washington, Sep. 9 (IANS): US President Donald Trump signed into law a bill to provide $15.25 billion in assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey, extend the debt ceiling for three months and fund the operation of the federal government until December 8.

The bill also includes a debt ceiling extension to keep the government running until early December.

The disaster aid package now includes over $15 billion instead of the nearly $8 billion approved by the House on Wednesday. The US Senate passed the measure on Thursday.

Included in the package is $450 million for the Small Business Authority disaster loan program, $7.4 billion in housing grants and $7.4 billion slotted for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an earlier bill passed by the house.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former Tea Party congressman from SC who took a hard line against debt increases during his years in the House, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin faced a hostile crowd when they pitched the measure to House Republicans at a closed-door meeting held before the vote. But, an hour later, President Trump overruled his strong objections to side with the Democrats.

President Donald Trump is likely to continue to reach for bi-partisan compromise on legislation, something he promised during the Y 2016 Presidential campaign and that the American people expect, the White House said Friday.

United States emergency officials are now facing a second wave of potentially devastating storm damage from Hurricane Irma, which is due to strike Florida over the weekend.

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