US House approves $8 bln in initial Hurricane Harvey relief

The Latest: House plans Wednesday vote on Harvey aid

In a show of bipartisan support, the House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $7.85 billion aid package to support recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

"We are with you and we will be with you until we are even stronger than before", he added, addressing Texas flood victims.

"Given Republican difficulty in finding the votes for their plan, we believe this proposal offers a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default, while both sides work together to address government funding, DREAMERS, and health care", Pelosi and Schumer wrote.

The lower chamber passed the bill by a 419-3 vote.

That would mean the House would need to vote again on the changed bill before it could be sent to the White House for President Donald Trump's signature. He also said that President Donald Trump and Congress made it clear that the president's initial request of almost $8 billion "is just a down payment".

Republican leaders for now are bowing to the demands of their most conservative members and won't combine legislation raising the US debt ceiling with Harvey aid, a House Republican aide said Monday.

If the Senate approves the government spending bill as expected, it will go back to the House for approval before it can go to Trump for sign-off.

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These numbers, which combined amount to about $15 billion, are just for immediate spending needs after Harvey.

The framework of a plan to deal with the huge number of looming deadlines facing Congress appeared to take shape Wednesday, but Republicans and Democrats still squabbled over the details of the plan.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday that he'd reached an agreement with congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling, provide disaster relief funding and pass a short-term spending bill. Senate Republicans do want a debt ceiling increase tied to Harvey aid.

Linking the two would help Congress finish two items off its checklist for this month, but they still have to fund the government before the end of the month, reauthorize several expiring programs and likely pass additional rounds for Harvey recovery.

"I'm willing to not say that hurricane relief has to have offsets", said Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The version passed by the House on Wednesday, though, did not contain the debt provision.

"I think it's a bad idea", Meadows said. Republicans also want to tackle tax reform. Republican leaders, however, are pushing for an extension until after the mid-term elections next November. From left, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. But many conservative Republicans oppose tying Harvey aid to a debt ceiling measure without related reforms.

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