Dem leaders back tying debt hike to Harvey aid
© Getty Images

Top Democrats said on Wednesday that they will support linking immediate help for Hurricane Harvey recovery and a short-term debit limit increase. 

“Democrats are prepared to offer our votes for the Harvey aid package, and a short term debt limit increase of three months," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWith lives at stake, Congress must start acting on health care To make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement. 
 
They added that because Republicans are having "difficulty in finding the votes for their plan," Democrats believe their offer will give "a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default, while both sides work together to address government funding, DREAMers, and health care.”
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanKrystal Ball: GOP tax cut is 'opiate of the massively privileged' Top GOP lawmaker: Tax cuts will lower projected deficit GOP super PAC seizes on Ellison abuse allegations in ads targeting Dems MORE (R-Wis.) quickly shot down the Democratic offer, calling it "unworkable" and "ridiculous and disgraceful."
 
"They want to play politics with the debt ceiling?" he asked reporters. "It could put in jeopardy the kind of hurricane response we need to have."
 
Leaders are trying to find a path forward by the end of September on three top priorities: raising the debt ceiling, funding the government and Harvey aid.  
 
Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn Cornyn15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies MORE (R-Texas) said on Tuesday that Senate Republicans would attach hurricane recovery money to a "clean" debt ceiling. He didn't say how long the debt ceiling increase would be. 
 
Extending the debt ceiling through December, as Schumer and Pelosi are proposing, could give Democrats more leverage in end-of-the-year spending talks. 
 
A Democratic aide said the three-month offer would allow Congress to avoid defaulting and give an initial round of recovery funding "while allowing Democrats to push their priorities in the upcoming negotiations, particularly the DREAM Act." 
 
The DREAM Act would allow children brought to the United States illegally to continue to live and work freely in the country. President Trump on Tuesday said his administration would unwind a similar program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
 
Lawmakers are increasingly likely to pass a short-term funding bill at the end of the September, setting up a larger government spending fight at the end of the year. 
 
Republicans will need at least eight Democratic votes in the Senate to pass either a debt ceiling increase or a government funding bill. 
 
If House GOP leadership could also need to work with Pelosi to pass either measure if they can't quell conservative opposition. 
 
This report was updated at 11:38 a.m.