Republicans are planning to attach a provision to raise the debt ceiling to their initial Hurricane Harvey relief package, according to Senate GOP leadership.
Sen. John Cornyn told reporters that on Tuesday that the $US7.85 billion aid package to help re-fill FEMA’s coffers — set to be taken up by the House on Wednesday — will likely have a debt ceiling increase added when it makes it to the Senate.
If the combined bill passes the Senate, it would then be sent back to the House for consideration.
A GOP aide told Business Insider the plan is likely to be finalised among the leadership sometime tonight and will likely pass the Senate.
“I presume they will move forward with this plan, and it will pass, despite some squabbling and bickering by a few members,” said the aide.
Despite the top-line support, there could be some pushback from members on either side of the aisle.
Conservative Republicans may balk at the lack of spending cuts accompanying the debt ceiling increase. Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, already came out against combining the two elements.
This would mean that the measure would need support by Democrats, who could balk at being asked to carry the load on a bill without getting anything in return and after facing resistance on debt ceiling increases from Republicans for years under President Obama.
A Senior Democratic aide told Business Insider that Democratic lawmakers would need to see the details of any plan before agreeing to support it. Details such as the level of the debt ceiling increase and when the limit would likely be hit again would be the key.
“Likely to depend on length of time and GOP plans for the rest of the to do list for September,” the aide said. “Does the debt ceiling increase they propose make it more or less likely that we get bipartisan deals on the things we need to get done this fall, or not?”
This move has been publicly supported by the White House, which could make it easier to get conservative members on board. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday that the debt ceiling provision should be attached since any Harvey relief money will drain the limited cash balance of the Treasury and bring forward the date of a debt limit breach.
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