White House and Congress agree to raise debt ceiling

Republican leaders had planned to tie a longer-term debt limit increase to funding for Hurricane Harvey victims, in a bid to bring more of their members on board.

"Both sides have every intention of avoiding default in December and look forward to working together on the many issues before us", top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer and top House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed with Democratic congressional leaders to increase the nation's debt ceiling and extend the federal government's funding through mid-December, a deal that included relief funding for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Ivanka Trump's visit to the Oval Office of the White House during a meeting between her father and the Republican leaders "visibly annoyed" the GOPers, an aide says.

Senate GOP leaders had made it clear they wanted a longer debt limit extension. "That will include the debt ceiling, that will include the CRs, and it will include Harvey".

"I think we need to move quickly and provide the relief that is needed, and the best way for that relief package to move quickly is for it to be a clean package not to be loaded down with extraneous issues, so that's what I hope we would do", Cruz said on Wednesday. That would send the legislation back to the House where very conservative lawmakers are opposed to raising the debt ceiling without concessions on spending.

Republican leaders had sought an 18-month extension, and later cut that to six months.

Sen. Mark Walker, R-N.C., and chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Republican leaders have been pushing for a way to find the easiest way to pass a debt ceiling with no reforms attached.

"I think that's a ridiculous idea", the Wisconsin Republican said about the idea proposed by Democratic leaders, adding that a short-term debt limit increase would not benefit people in Texas and Louisiana who have to deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Trump interjected and sided with the Democrats, eventually sealing the deal with a three-month suspension of the limit, a three-month funding bill, and a package for Hurricane Harvey relief.

He also accused the Democrats of attempting to "play politics with the debt ceiling".

" We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer", Trump told reporters on the presidential aircraft, not offering any mention of Ryan or McConnell, who also were present.

In a joint statement after the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer signaled that Trump agreed to punt everything to December. Chuck Schumer of NY say a three-month increase in the debt limit would help ensure that Congress would tackle health care, immigration and looming budget cuts.

Instead the immediate threat of a government shutdown or debt default is averted, but the hard negotiations are only delayed. But if the group decides to vote against the bill, it could exacerbate tensions among House Republicans and raise the specter that the bill could pass without a majority of the majority party - violating an informal rule that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) had pledged to adhere to when he became speaker in 2015.

Ryan on Wednesday said "we will not leave" until the relief package is passed.

  • Jon Douglas