Mnuchin frets having Harvey money, wants Congress to raise debt limit ASAP
04 September, 2017, 11:30 | Author: Ora Austin
"And without raising the debt limit, I'm not comfortable that we would get the money that we need this month to Texas to rebuild".
"No I can't, quite the contrary", Mnuchin said.
Although Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on ABC News' "This Week" that "the president speaks in ways I wouldn't speak", he said it "is his prerogative". The White House is said to want to extend the debt limit to move back the specter of a United States default until after Congress can address funding for the full fiscal year and the Trump administration's tax-overhaul efforts. "It is absolutely critical, and the president is committed to making sure that the states have the money that they need".
"Our first priority is to make sure the state gets money".
The U.S. government hit the $19.8 trillion debt limit in March and the Treasury Department has been using accounting maneuvers to free up borrowing. So, we need to put politics aside and we're going to be urging Congress to get both of those things done as quickly as they can.
But on Sunday, he said that deadline had moved up due to unexpected new spending on Harvey.
Trump has asked Congress for almost $8 billion in aid for Harvey, which devastated Houston and southeastern Texas. That could be a tough sell to some House Republicans, who are likely to vote only for the disaster relief funding.
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Mnuchin's spending-debt ceiling pitch resulted in a quick and favorable response from Congress's top two Democratic leaders. If Congress does not come to an agreement on raising the ceiling, it could lead to a government shutdown and potentially destroy America's credit rating, setting off an unprecedented financial crisis.
Mnuchin said he thinks if the debt limit isn't raised, that will interfere with the storm relief effort.
"This is where we come to the part where Congress plays a role".
Texas Governor Greg Abbott estimated damage at $150 billion to $180 billion, calling it more costly than Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, which devastated New Orleans in 2005 and NY in 2012. "And the President has made it clear that we want a better economic deal", Mnuchin said.
Senator Roy Blunt, a junior member of the Senate's Republican leadership, said it was possible lawmakers could tie legislation raising the US debt ceiling - an unpopular step among some Republican conservatives - to legislation providing financial aid for recovery from Harvey. "We need Congress to step up and pass this and help Texas rebuild", he said.
Blunt said relief money should be given out multiple times on an as-needed basis rather than in a large lump sum as was done for Hurricane Sandy in 2002.
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