President Donald Trump went around his own party Wednesday, siding with Democrats on a deal to fund the government and raise federal borrowing limits for three months — all to help speed cash to hurricane survivors.
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“We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” Trump said after a brief White House pow-wow with congressional leaders, the Associated Press reports. “We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred, very important.” Trump didn’t mention House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who were also present at the meeting but opposed the Dem-backed deal.
As part of the agreement, legislators will speed a $7.9 billion hurricane relief package to the president’s desk by the end of the week, before FEMA’s annual funding dries up at the federal fiscal year’s close at the end of September. The House had already overwhelmingly approved a version of the Harvey relief bill with a 419-3 vote Wednesday.
Under the House bill, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would get $7.4 billion to distribute through its Disaster Relief Fund. The bill also would authorize $450 million specifically for direct loans to help small businesses get back on their feet. Three Republicans, Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Justin Amash of Michigan and Andy Biggs of Arizona voted against the bill.
But the bill — under the new deal forged with the White House — now heads to the Senate, which is expected to act quickly but also make changes, including raising the debt ceiling. More relief funding also could be added as Hurricane Irma bears down on south Florida.