Senate passes $15.3B aid package for Harvey

Arturo Pardavila III / CC BY 2.0

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has passed a $15.3 billion aid package for victims of Harvey - nearly doubling President Donald Trump's emergency request and adding a deal between Trump and Democrats to temporarily extend the government's ability to borrow money to cover its bills.

The 80-17 vote returns the legislation to the House for a vote Friday that would send it to the White House.

The measure would also fund government agencies through Dec. 8, taking the threat of an Oct. 1 government shutdown off the table.

The aid money comes as Harvey recovery efforts are draining federal disaster aid coffers - and as Hurricane Irma takes aim at Florida.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved late Wednesday to add $7.4 billion in money for rebuilding to Trump's $7.9 billion Harvey request.

Trump says Americans want more bipartisanship. He says his meeting with the two Democratic and two Republican legislative leaders on Wednesday was ``very, very friendly.''

He said he expects Congress to discuss eliminating the debt ceiling, saying it ``complicates things.''

Once again, Trump is not referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by name, while referencing Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer several times.

Vice President Mike Pence, also in the room, says he agrees with Schumer that Trump striking a deal on the debt ceiling extension - over the objection of Republicans - was ``a great moment.''

Trump says the debt deal signals more bipartisanship to come.