WASHINGTON –– The House will vote Wednesday on a Hurricane Harvey relief bill that won’t contain language aimed at preventing a U.S default on its debt.

Republican leaders for now are bowing to the demands of their most conservative members and won’t combine legislation raising the U.S. debt ceiling with Harvey aid, a House Republican aide said Monday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the two issues should be combined. Mnuchin has said the debt limit must be raised by Sept. 29 to avoid a default.

The House Appropriations Committee Sunday released the text of the Harvey bill, which would provide $7.4 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund and $450 million to the Small Business Administration without cutting spending elsewhere in the budget. The bill’s spending levels match a request from the White House.

The Senate could add a debt-ceiling increase to the bill once it arrives from the House. 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.

A top House conservative said Monday that he would oppose any effort to use the Harvey aid bill to raise the debt ceiling.

“As we have stated for months, the debt ceiling should be paired with significant fiscal and structural reforms,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker of North Carolina said in a statement. “If we resort to just kicking the can down the road on the debt, it only shows that Republicans do not take the problem of our $20 trillion debt seriously.”

Mark Meadows, head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, issued a similar warning in interviews last week.


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