Congress Returns to Work on Tuesday

House moving swiftly on $7.9B Harvey relief bill

Given how little Congress has accomplished this year, passing genuine tax reform would be a triumph the GOP needs - and America deserves.

There isn't much time.

No new permits will be granted, but they can be renewed for people whose permits expire in the next six months, as long as the application is completed by October 5, 2017. The bill's spending levels match a Friday request from the White House.

President Donald Trump departs St. John's Episcopal Church ahead of First Lady Melania Trump after they attended services for a national "Day of Prayer", for victims of the Hurricane Harvey flooding in Texas, in Washington, U.S., September 3, 2017.

How Republicans resolve these issues could influence the outcome of next year's congressional elections.

The GOP-controlled Senate has not said when or how it will vote on the issue.

"We have three critically things important before us right now that we need to do quickly", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who added that these are also the "top priorities" of the Trump administration.

Speaking Tuesday on the Senate floor as Congress returned from its summer recess, Mr. McConnell embraced that argument, quoting from Mr. Mnuchin's interview.

Such measures by the president has deepened the estrangement between Trump and senior Republican leaders in a way that could make it more hard for him to pass key agenda items, including tax reform. As of Tuesday, the fund was down to $1.013 billion, but only $541 million of that was earmarked for Harvey.

As soon as lawmakers return to Washington D.C. the clock will be ticking on several critical issues that need to be tackled by September 30, when legislation that authorizes spending for key government programs are set to expire. The House has already drafted a measure and is expected to send it to the Senate this week. Conservatives oppose raising the borrowing limit without getting something in exchange, such as deep cuts elsewhere in federal spending. And Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, suggested a link between the two.

It's unclear whether Republican lawmakers will go along with the idea of pairing the two measures. They have previously demanded spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) of the House Freedom Caucus last week warned against tying the debt ceiling to Harvey aid.

Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

"I feel a lot of Houston is drying out, and I don't want them to forget about us", she said.

'President Trump expressed his resolve to encourage action and build public support for the passage of tax reform that creates jobs and raises wages for American workers.

The administration of President Donald Trump has asked Congress for an initial $7.85 billion for recovery efforts, a fraction of what will eventually be needed.

In some ways, the most urgent challenge will be preventing the government from defaulting on its obligations. Treasury Secretary Steven "Mnuchin is telling us, "If you pass just a supplemental, they may not be able to put the money forward without having the debt ceiling raised'".

It's useful to keep in mind that there has never been a default, and also to note that the debt ceiling is somewhat of an artificial limit.

"The question is, can we come together?" said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Members of Congress in both parties - including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan - are pushing for some kind of legislative solution that would settle the legal status of the roughly 800,000 dreamers.

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