National / Politics

The Latest: White House praises Congress for Harvey aid

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday Sept. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Harvey aid bill in Congress (all times local):

11:05 a.m.

The White House is praising Congress for acting fast to deliver storm recovery money to people dealing with the aftermath of Harvey.

It’s not yet clear when President Donald Trump will sign the $15.3 billion disaster aid package passed on Friday by the House.

The bill’s tied to a temporary increase in America’s borrowing authority and will keep the government funded into December.

The White House says by ensuring government funding for the next three months, “it gives Americans the certainty they deserve, and we look forward to finding a permanent solution in the months to come.”

Trump is expected to be briefed on preparations for Hurricane Irma later Friday.

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10:35 a.m.

The House has voted overwhelmingly to send a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump. Lawmakers overcame objections from conservatives who didn’t want the emergency aid linked to a temporary increase in America’s borrowing authority.

The measure keeps the government funded into December.

The vote was 316-90. The measure would refill depleted emergency accounts, as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma and Texas picks up the pieces after the devastation of Harvey.

It’s only the first installment of a federal aid package that could rival or exceed the $100 billion-plus provided after Hurricane Katrina. Future installments are likely to be more difficult to pass.

The vote postpones budget decisions into December and forces another politically difficult debt limit vote next year.

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10:22 a.m.

Trump administration officials faced a rough time in pleading with House Republicans to back the debt limit increase.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin drew hisses from lawmakers Friday when he told a closed-door meeting of House Republicans “vote for the debt ceiling for me.” That’s according to congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina.

Pennsylvania’s Ryan Costello described a surreal scene with Mnuchin and White House budget office director Mick Mulvaney pressing Republicans to rally around the disaster aid package. Mnuchin is a former Democratic donor and Mulvaney opposed debt ceiling hikes without budget cuts when he was a congressman.

Costello said, “It’s kind of like, ‘Where am I? What’s going on here?'” He added, “If it wasn’t so serious, it kind of would have been funny.”

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3:26 a.m.

Republican conservatives are grumbling, but the House is poised to back a $15.3 billion disaster aid package that President Donald Trump and Democrats have married to a temporary increase in America’s borrowing authority.

Friday’s House vote would send the measure to Trump for his signature, replenishing rapidly dwindling disaster accounts as Hurricane Irma tracks toward Florida this weekend.

The must-do legislation would also provide money to fund government agencies through Dec. 8, eliminating the threat of a government shutdown when the new fiscal year starts next month.

Conservatives are upset at the painful debt limit vote. GOP leaders actually had hoped to solve the politically toxic debt limit issue through next year’s midterm elections, but Trump sided with Democrats for a debt reprieve only into December or slightly beyond.

 

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