Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that he and President Trump believes the $7.8 billion and another $6.7 billion they want to designate for Harvey victims should be tied to the debt ceiling.
Mnuchin says they want to put politics aside and get this money down to Texas as soon as possible. Freedom Caucus Leader Mark Meadows said he didn’t want to see disaster aid tied to the raising of the debt limit. Who’s going to blink here?
Do you think it’s politics to tie Harvey Relief funds to an already tense fight for raising the debt limit? It could get ugly, do you agree?
According to Mnuchin, if there is no debt ceiling increase, there won’t be any Harvey funds. Now that’s playing with disaster. There will be no winners in that case.
Watch the interview here:
WALLACE: Let’s start with the effect of hurricane harvey on the nation’s finances. The White House is asking Congress for $7.8 billion with immediate aid and another $6.7 billion within weeks. The head of the house of freedom caucus, Mark Meadows, says he does not want to see that disaster aid tied to a bill to raise the debt limit. Can you guarantee him and others that that won’t happen?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: No, I can’t. Quite the contrary. The president and I believe that it should be tied to the harvey funding. Our first priority is to make sure that the state gets money that is critical. To do that, we need to make sure we raise the debt limit. If congress appropriates the money, but i don’t have the ability to borrow more money and pay for it, we are not going to be able to get that money to the state. We need to put politics aside and we are going to be urging congress to get both of those things done as quickly as they can.
WALLACE: I just want to make sure because this is new news, as they say. There’s talk that the house is going to take up almost a billion dollars in disaster relief this next week. You’re saying that you want to see a debt limit tied to that disaster relief.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: I do. That is our priority. At this point, we need to put politics aside, we need to make sure that we can get to Texas, the appropriate amount of money to rebuild the state. It is absolutely critical and at the president is committed to making sure that the states have the money that they need.
WALLACE: Just to talk this out, if the debt limit isn’t raised, will that interfere with the relief effort?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: It will. Prior to Harvey, I think you know I’ve said we have enough funding to go through the end of September and had urged congress to focus on this before that period of time. before harvey, the situation has moved it up earlier and without raising the debt limit, I’m not comfortable that we will get the money that we need this month to get it to rebuild. As you know, that’s our priority. We need to help the people in Texas, and we need to get that done.
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