House sends $15.3 billion Harvey aid bill to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has voted overwhelmingly to send a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump. Lawmakers overcame objections from conservatives who didn't want the emergency aid linked to a temporary increase in America's borrowing authority.

The measure keeps the government funded into December.

The vote was 316-90. The measure would refill depleted emergency accounts, as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma and Texas picks up the pieces after the devastation of Harvey.

It's only the first installment of a federal aid package that could rival or exceed the $100 billion-plus provided after Hurricane Katrina. Future installments are likely to be more difficult to pass.

The vote postpones budget decisions into December and forces another politically difficult debt limit vote next year.

Trump administration officials faced a rough time in pleading with House Republicans to back the debt limit increase.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin drew hisses from lawmakers Friday when he told a closed-door meeting of House Republicans ``vote for the debt ceiling for me.'' That's according to Congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina.

Pennsylvania's Ryan Costello described a surreal scene with Mnuchin and White House budget office director Mick Mulvaney pressing Republicans to rally around the disaster aid package. Mnuchin is a former Democratic donor and Mulvaney opposed debt ceiling hikes without budget cuts when he was a congressman.

Costello said, ``It's kind of like, `Where am I? What's going on here?''' He added, ``If it wasn't so serious, it kind of would have been funny.''