Faith leaders place their hands on the shoulders of U.S. President Donald Trump as he takes part in a prayer for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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President Donald Trump has sent lawmakers an initial request for a $7.9 billion down payment toward Harvey relief and recovery efforts.For GOP lawmakers who support a straightforward increase in the debt limit, pairing it with Harvey money makes the unpopular vote easier to cast. Congress must act by Sept. 29 to increase the United States' $19.9 trillion debt limit, in order to permit the government to continue borrowing money to pay bills like Social Security and interest. The House is likely to pass the Harvey aid as a stand-alone bill, but GOP leaders are signaling that the Senate may add the debt increase to it.The initial package of Harvey aid would replenish Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds through Sept. 30 .An additional $5 billion to $8 billion for Harvey could be tucked into a catch-all spending bill Congress must pass in the coming weeks to fund the government past Sept. 30, according to the senior House Republican.
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