Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Mnuchin: Debt limit should be linked to Harvey relief package

US drafting sanctions to cut off NKorean trade US Treasury's Mnuchin drafting new N. Korea sanctions -Fox News
Sammy Stanley | 04 September, 2017, 00:52

President Donald Trump visited storm-ravaged areas in Texas on Saturday, expressing hope for speedy congressional action on relief aid. "So that's what we're focused on this week, and we'll be meeting with leadership of both parties to work on that". Mnuchin said the US would work with China, but "people need to cut off North Korea economically".

Senate leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press that Harvey aid and the debt ceiling increase is "something that will be decided in the next few days, I expect".

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.

Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend or revise the definition of the debt limit. But on Sunday, he said that deadline had moved up due to unexpected new spending on Harvey.

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Mnuchin said if Congress appropriates the money, but he doesn'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". "We're going to fund Harvey relief without a doubt, but I think it just sends the wrong message when you start attaching it to the debt ceiling", he continued.

Trump has called on Congress to approve nearly $8 billion for initial aid to Harvey victims although that's only the first in what is expected to be lots more money in aid in the near future.

During a visit to Texas on Saturday, President Trump said he hoped for a "quick process" to get Congress to approve a almost $8 billion in initial funding for Harvey victims. An additional $5 billion to $8 billion for Harvey could be tucked into a catch-all spending bill Congress must pass in the coming weeks to fund the government past September 30. We need to help the people in Texas, and we need to get that done. "This will cost well over $120 billion", Gov. Greg Abbott said in an interview on Sunday.

Harvey came ashore August 25 as a Category 4 hurricane, then went back out to sea and lingered for days off the coast as a tropical storm.

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