Mnuchin says hurricane relief aid should be tied to raising debt limit

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Mnuchin says he's not confident that Texas would quickly get the aid it needs without raising the debt limit.

"I did speak with the president, and it's clear that this behavior is completely unacceptable", Mnuchin said.

Mnuchin originally had said that Congress would need to raise the $19.9 trillion borrowing limit by September 29 to avoid a catastrophic default on the debt, allowing the government to continue borrowing money to pay bills like Social Security and interest. Republican lawmakers, who control both houses of Congress, have traditionally resisted raising the debt ceiling, but linking the issue to Harvey aid could force their hand with people suffering and large areas of the fourth-largest US city under water.

"That's our priority", Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. But some House conservatives are opposed to directly pairing disaster aid with an increase in the debt limit, saying it sends the wrong message on overall government spending.

But on Sunday, he said that deadline had moved up due to unexpected new spending on Harvey.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has asked Congress for an initial $7.85 billion for recovery efforts, which Abbott called a "down payment". There's talk that the House is going to take up, that's nearly a billion dollars in disaster relief this next week.

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"Providing aid in the wake of Harvey and raising the debt ceiling are both important issues, and Democrats want to work to do both", they said.

"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", he said. "This is something that we've never seen before, so it's going to require a pretty unprecedented response", Ryan, R-Wis., said on "UPFRONT with Mike Gousha", which is produced in partnership with Wispolitics.com.

Goldman Sachs, an American financial services company, estimated that failure to raise the ceiling would force a government spending cut equal to between 3 and 4 percent of United States gross domestic product, which would have crippling economic consequences.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday estimated damage from Hurricane Harvey at $150 billion to $180 billion, calling it more costly than epic storms Katrina or Sandy and fueling the debate over how to pay for the disaster.

But Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said his city was making progress on several fronts, resuming city services and helping get people into housing and out of emergency shelters. Karen Waltmon, 58, who was returning to her home in one of the neighborhoods, said she wondered if parts of the city would have to be razed.

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