Trump gets bill to provide $15.3B in disaster aid, avoid government shutdown – World

The House voted overwhelmingly on Friday to send a $15.3 billion US disaster aid package to President Donald Trump, overcoming conservative objections to linking the emergency legislation to a temporary increase in America’s borrowing authority. The legislation also keeps the government funded into December.

Lawmakers overcame objections from conservatives who didn’t want the emergency aid linked to a temporary increase in the U.S.’s borrowing authority.

The 316-90 vote 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.

All 90 No votes were cast by Republicans.

President Donald Trump is shown Wednesday meeting with top Democrats Nancy Pelosi, right, and Chuck Schumer, centre, as well as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

It’s just the first instalment of a federal aid package that could rival or exceed the $110 billion federal response after Hurricane Katrina, though future aid packages may be more difficult to pass. It also kicks budget decisions into December and forces another politically tough debt limit vote next year.

Trump on Wednesday had cut a deal with Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi to increase the debt limit for three months.

Republican objections

Trump cut the deal over the objections of Republicans Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who lobbied unsuccessfully for much different terms, and in which the issue could conceivably have been fixed through next years’ midterms.

Trump exulted in his newly bipartisan approach Thursday, declaring it “a great thing for our country,” while Ryan mostly grinned and bore it.

At the Capitol on Wednesday, Ryan had deemed a three-month debt ceiling increase as “unworkable” and “ridiculous.”

Trump and Ryan dined together at the White House on Thursday, however, and by Friday morning, Trump was tweeting about legislative priorities as the current sessions begin.

Fiscal conservatives have clamoured for deep cuts in spending in exchange for any increase in the government’s borrowing authority. The storm relief measure had widespread support, but the linkage with the debt ceiling left many Republicans frustrated.

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