Dem leaders back tying debt hike to Harvey aid

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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 Schumer (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.”
{mosads}Speaker Paul Ryan (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 Cornyn (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.
Tags Chuck Schumer John Cornyn Paul Ryan

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