Trump, Mnuchin want Harvey aid tied to debt ceiling boost


The Trump administration says that Congress should attach funding for Tropical Storm Harvey relief to a bill raising the debt ceiling.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (ABOVE) told Fox News today that he and Donald Trump would not guarantee that Harvey funding and debt ceiling legislation would be kept separate.

Trump has asked Congress for nearly $8 billion in aid for Harvey. When lawmakers return to Washington for 12 days of work this month, they will have to act on Harvey funds plus a crucial vote on the debt ceiling. If Congress does not come to an agreement on raising the ceiling, it could lead to a government shutdown and launch an unprecedented financial crisis.

If Mnuchin and Trump get their way, Texas will not get the billions of dollars it needs unless Congress first agrees on a debt ceiling increase.

Meanwhile, in Houston, recovery efforts continue with many hoping to get back to business as usual by Tuesday. But it is clear to most that things will not be anywhere near normal anytime soon. City residents with water in their homes are still under a mandatory evacuation order, which Mayor Sylvester Turner says will likely remain in effect for 10 days.

East of Houston, many areas remain inundated. Nearly 120,000 residents of Beaumont have no drinking water – or even water to flush toilets.

In Crosby, an industrial plant continues to cause concern that unstable chemicals could burst into flames or explode.

Forty-five deaths have been confirmed throughout the region hit by the storm, but that number is expected to rise.

The Texas Department of Public Safety reported Sunday that least 200,000 homes have been damaged, with more than 12,750 of them completely destroyed. Those numbers also are certain to increase. More than 457,000 people have registered for disaster assistance, according to FEMA.

 In addition to the outpouring of support from everyday citizens worldwide, scores of celebrities have offered solace to the victims. Among them, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who said, "Prince Philip and I send our sincere condolences to the victims of this disaster, to those who have lost loved ones, and to those who have seen their homes and property destroyed. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected."

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