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Senate GOP Leaders Debate Adding Harvey Relief to Debt Ceiling

Senate GOP Leaders Debate Adding Harvey Relief to Debt Ceiling

Hurricane Irma is now lurking off the Florida coast….

Congress has returned to work and have started to ponder two important tasks at hand: Hurricane Harvey relief bill and the debt ceiling.

One option leaders have leaned towards is attaching the two into one bill, thus killing two birds with one stone. The House could pass the Harvey relief bill on Wednesday and send it to the Senate, who could attach the debt ceiling bill to it. Then the Senate would send it back to the House for another vote.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has urged Congress over and over to raise the debt ceiling by September 29, which is the day Mnuchin believes the government will run out of money. The Wall Street Journal reported at the end of July:

The Treasury Department has been employing cash-conservation measures since March, when borrowing hit the formal ceiling of nearly $20 trillion. Those measures are expected to run out in early to mid-October. When they do, the government won’t have money to pay interest on debt, write Social Security checks or make millions of other routine payments, unless it can tap credit markets for borrowing to raise additional cash. Missing payments could send financial markets in a tailspin.

The path to raising the debt limit will be the first major political test for Mr. Mnuchin, a Washington novice who has been intensely focused on the Trump administration’s forthcoming tax overhaul proposal.

“Based upon our available information, I believe that it is critical that Congress act to increase the nation’s borrowing authority by September 29,” Mr. Mnuchin said in last week’s letter.

Then Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25 and devastated the Gulf Coast, especially around Houston. During his visit, President Donald Trump vowed to provide federal aid to let the coast rebuild. The initial Harvey bill could be $7.95 million.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) have suggested the Senate tie the debt ceiling bill to Harvey relief. From The Wall Street Journal:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said he was acting to deliver on President Donald Trump’s top priorities of providing Harvey relief, preventing a default on the debt and avoiding a government shutdown when its current funding expires on Oct. 1.

“They are my immediate priorities as well,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “In the case of the debt limit, we need to act quickly given the new uncertainty from the large costs of storm recovery.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R., Texas) later told reporters Mr. McConnell had made the decision to add an increase in the debt limit to the emergency Harvey spending measure, known as a “supplemental” spending bill, after it clears the House.

“It’s imperative we get that supplemental passed,” Mr. Cornyn told reporters. “The [Senate majority] leader’s made the decision to attach the debt limit to that, and I support that.”

On Fox News Sunday, Mnuchin said that Trump and him want Congress to tie them together. From Politico:

Over the weekend, top White House officials took to TV talk shows to warn that any new FEMA spending would deplete the Treasury Department’s coffers even quicker this month. They originally asked GOP leaders to raise the debt ceiling by the end of September, but that date is moving up with the Harvey package.

“The president and I believe that it should be tied to the Harvey funding,” Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. “If Congress appropriates the money, but I don’t have the ability to borrow more money and pay for it, we’re not going to be able to get that money to the state. So, we need to put politics aside.”

This strategy could face opposition from Democrats and Republicans, especially as category 5 Hurricane Irma is threatening Florida, which could eliminate funds from FEMA’s account:

And a senior Senate Democratic aide cautioned against the GOP relying on Democratic votes without seeing the details of the proposal, such as how long the debt ceiling would be lifted. In recent years, Democrats have shouldered the bulk of debt and spending votes and they have significant sway over negotiations.

But Republicans leaders are concerned that preparations for Hurricane Irma, a second massive storm that could hit Florida in the coming days, could deplete FEMA’s emergency funds as soon as this week. Harvey’s destruction costs are already sucking up funding faster than leaders believed possible just a week ago — requiring quicker action on the debt limit.

“We’ll pass relief to make sure FEMA has enough money to get moving right now… But you’re going to hit that debt ceiling regardless,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo in a Tuesday morning interview. Treasury Secretary Steven “Mnuchin is telling us, ‘If you pass just a supplemental, they may not be able to put the money forward without having the debt ceiling raised.’”

Don’t forget the wildfires in California, Idaho, and Montana. Politico reported that a spokesperson from FEMA stressed that “the agency had $541 million available for Harvey relief and $472 million available for Irma and wildfires as of Monday morning.”

The spokesperson said that amount is “unlikely to last more than a week.”


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GOP pieces of shit haven’t passed a budget despite being in control for years because they don’t want to stop spending.

Ryan’s joke of a budget proposal got absolutely savaged and never even made it to the Senate because it INCREASE spending.

Pelosi Schmelosi | September 5, 2017 at 7:47 pm

“One option leaders have leaned towards is attaching the two into one bill, thus killing two birds with one stone. The House could pass the Harvey relief bill on Wednesday and send it to the Senate, who could attach the debt ceiling bill to it. Then the Senate would send it back to the House for another vote.”

Yeah right like I trust these guys to do the right thing. The Tards will want funds for their state because TEXAS, and the GOP are spineless wooooosies.

As Prof Reynold’s would say, this maximizes the opportunity for graft. Now everyone in both Houses will get a chance to add a hurricane of pork to this bill. These people are disgusting pigs.

Dear Idiots in Washington,

One of the reasons we hate you so much at times is your ability to add cold cuts to ball bearings and call it a casserole. One solution to this is to pass bills that might possibly, just maybe, cover only one subject at a time. You know, like bills are supposed to do. So let’s try an experiment.

Put together a simple, straightforward, short-term disaster relief bill. Pass it without amendments.

Then put together a simple, straightforward, debt-ceiling raising bill. Pass it without amendments.

This should take about three days, at worst. Then you can go back to bloviating about stupid stuff.

All Of Us

So, I’m more than a bit confused here. What exactly is a “debt ceiling”, anyway? Is it the exact opposite of a “bottom line”? Why is it called a ceiling if they just raise it every time they need more money? Why don’t they just call it a “floating roof”, or more accurately, a “blank check”?

    tom swift in reply to IrateNate. | September 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Unlike a blank check, a debt ceiling makes Congress stop and do something in order to continue the wild overspending … even if it isn’t anything much. It’s really just a ritual chance to pause, say “Tut tut, some day we really should do something about this,” and then proceed with business as usual.

    Milhouse in reply to IrateNate. | September 5, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    The constitution says the Treasury is not allowed to borrow money. At all. Only Congress is allowed to do that. But of course the technical details of issuing bonds and all that is an administrative job more suited to the Treasury than to Congress, so for the past century or so the custom has developed that Congress authorizes the Treasury to borrow up to a certain amount in its name. So long as the total federal debt stays under that limit Treasury can issue bonds and pay them off as it sees fit, but since Congress keeps voting for more and more spending, and thus higher and higher deficits, sooner or later we hit the ceiling and can’t borrow any more. But the president must spend whatever Congress has voted for — he has no legal right not to — so Congress has to authorize more borrowing to pay for it.

    Connivin Caniff in reply to IrateNate. | September 6, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Let me explain this in simple terms. The debt ceiling is sort of like the float in your toilet tank, which limits how high the water can rise in the tank. The only difference is, if the toilet float worked the way the Congress works the debt ceiling, you would have a lot of water dripping downstairs into your kitchen.

I guess it’s crazy talk to suggest you can stay under debt ceilings by cutting spending.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 5, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    In T-rump-World…???

    Abso-flucking-loootly…!!! Remember, he’s going to fully fund all entitlements.


    Unicorn farts…!!!

      Pelosi Schmelosi in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Wait, what?
      Weren’t YOU the one who lectured us about “conservatives” winning? Still waiting for you to show us which ones actually cut spending.
      Any day now…

        You’re delusional. Not remarkable, for a T-rump sucker.

        Am I wrong about the Der Donald’s campaign promise?

        Yes or no, T-rump sucker.

          Pelosi Schmelosi in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2017 at 11:47 pm

          You’re just disingenuous.
          You blame Trump for this, but I’m still waiting for you to show us the “conservatives” in Congress who have or will pass an entitlement cutting bill and put it on Trump’s desk.
          The fact is you can’t – they couldn’t even get rid of ObamaCare.

          Honestly you can’t even answer a direct question.
          Why I bother responding to your constant BEE-ESS is a mystery…

          Pelosi Schmelosi in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2017 at 11:48 pm

          And BTW the only “sucker” here is anyone who thinks you’re “conservative”…besides yourself of course

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2017 at 11:54 pm

          So, no.

          You lying SOS.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | September 6, 2017 at 12:14 am

          “You’re just disingenuous.
          You blame Trump for this, but I’m still waiting for you to show us the “conservatives” in Congress who have or will pass an entitlement cutting bill and put it on Trump’s desk.”

          Now, see, you’ve shown your ass.

          “You” never raised that issue. So you’ve shown your are a sock-puppet for some other T-rump sucker.

          BTW, NOBODY has to “pwooove” that they can do any-flucking-thing. Der Donald promised it.

          Pelosi Schmelosi in reply to Ragspierre. | September 6, 2017 at 12:33 am

          “Now, see, you’ve shown your ass”

          Better than showing that I am an ass, as you perform on a daily basis here on these very pages. And everybody here knows it.
          But please, carry on…

          mailman in reply to Ragspierre. | September 6, 2017 at 1:46 am

          Zing!!! hahahahahahahaa 🙂

          Trump is living rent free in the thing called Rags mind!! hahahahaha

The debt ceiling “Raising” every year makes me sick to my stomach. They claim it has to be raised because the money has already been spent and that if we don’t raise the ceiling we will be in default. If that’s the case then why not arrest the members of Congress for writing a check with insufficient funds? Send them all to jail and then get on with the business of state. As to the crisis in Texas, I propose sending ALL members of Congress to Houston to live in one of the refugee sites until the money is appropriated. What do you want to bet it would be done in record time!

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to inspectorudy. | September 6, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Similarly, to get rid of Obamacare/McConnellcare/Ryancare; remove the classification of Congress from a “small business under 50 employees under a special program” [there are thousands of congressional employees], and make all members of Congress, their families, their employees, and their families buy only health insurance from the standard Health Care Exchanges in their home of residence with their own money.

    By nightfall of the first day, Obamacare would be gone.

Is there any truth to the rumor that Congress will remove the debt ceiling and install a retractable roof?

Are they really this stupid??? or they just think everyone else is? I can hear the hypocrisy cries now after they denied Sandy relief for being pork-laden.

Throw every incumbent GOP Senator out except Cruz in 2018. All the rest of them are worthless.

If you want to see how bad the Sandy hurricane relief bill was just read the Federalist review of the bill. It actually lists many of the items in the bill and most of them wouldn’t even be spent until 2016 and the hurricane was in 2012! Do not believe any of the crap you are going to read in the next few days regarding the Sand relief package.

buckeyeminuteman | September 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

If we’re just going to settle for politics as usual, let’s put funding for the Wall on there too. Might as well fund Obamacare while they’re at it. I think a giant Cromnibus bill that nobody has read would be a nice gift from our Republican-led government.