U.S. House passes bill on storm relief aid, debt-ceiling hike, gov't funding

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-09 03:14:47|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the Senate's version of a bill to raise the country's debt ceiling for three months, fund the government and provide 15.3-billion-dollar storm relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

U.S. President Donald Trump could sign the bill as early as Friday afternoon.

The bill was approved by 316 votes in favor and 90 against. It received support from all Democrats and more than 130 Republicans.

House Republicans had intended to tie Harvey relief to a longer-term debt ceiling hike, arguing thus can offer more stability to credit markets than a short-term fix.

However, Trump agreed with Democrats at a White House meeting on Wednesday to support a three-month plan that will have to be renegotiated in December, stunning the Congress Republican leadership.

Also on Friday, Trump defended his new alliance with congressional Democrats, slamming Republican lawmakers for failing to repeal Obamacare after their seven-year efforts.

"Republicans, sorry, but I've been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn't happen!" Trump said during a morning tweet storm.

"Even worse, the Senate Filibuster Rule will...never allow the Republicans to pass even great legislation. 8 Dems control - will rarely get 60 (vs. 51) votes. It is a Repub Death Wish," he tweeted. There are currently only 52 Republican senators.

The House on Wednesday passed a 7.9-billion-dollar aid package by 419-3 for victims of Harvey. The Senate bill then on Thursday added 7.4-billion-dollar in Community Development Block Grant funding for areas most affected by 2017 disasters.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated 57 percent of the money, or 8.7 billion dollars, would be spent in 2020 or later.