While the monstrous Hurricane Irma makes landfall in the Caribbean, the United States House has passed a massive Hurricane Harvey relief bill worth $7.9 billion. According to Politico, the measure — which is more accurately worth $7.85 billion in aid — was “overwhelmingly approved” in the hopes of “landing the legislation on President Donald Trump’s desk by week’s end.” Whether or not Trump sees the bill in its current form by then, however, depends on what happens to it in the Senate.
The president, who previously pledged $1 million of his own money to Harvey victims in Texas and Louisiana, called upon Congress to compose and pass a relief measure reportedly worth $6 billion last Friday. However, many of the more fiscally conservative members among the House’s GOP contingent — especially the Freedom Caucus — remained publicly weary of Trump’s insistence the bill be added to the already problematic debt ceiling. “The Harvey relief would pass on its own, and to use that as a vehicle to get people to vote for a debt ceiling is not appropriate,” Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows said then.
Despite House Republicans’ distaste at the connection, however, the Harvey relief bill was “overwhelmingly approved” on Wednesday. Yet an offer from Senate and House minority leaders Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Nancy Pelosi (D-California) may play into Meadows and his colleagues’ fears. Per Politico, they offered Trump “their votes for a package delivering aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey and raising the debt ceiling only until mid-December.” (Congressional Republicans want to raise it through late 2018.) FEMA is expected to run out of emergency funds on Friday, so the GOP just might concede to this.