- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Democratic leaders said Wednesday they’ll provide the votes to pass a Hurricane Harvey relief package coupled with a three-month debt limit increase, hoping to capitalize on GOP infighting.

The offer by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is perhaps an unwelcome but needed solution for Republican leaders who are struggling to solidify support for a debt limit increase.

Granting just a three-month debt limit increase is a hardball tactic that preserves Democrats’ ability to force another poisonous fight on Republicans at the end of the year.

“Democrats are prepared to offer our votes for the Harvey aid package, and a short-term debt limit increase of three months,” the two Democrats said in a joint statement.

“Given Republican difficulty in finding the votes for their plan, we believe this proposal offers a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default, while both sides work together to address government funding, Dreamers and health care,” the leaders said.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan countered that Democrats’ offer was “ridiculous and disgraceful,” and could threaten to sideline the desperate need to get money to Harvey victims.

“They want to play politics with the debt ceiling? That will strand the aid that we need,” he said.

Congress returned from a lengthy summer vacation to find a colossal to-do list: keep the government open into the new fiscal year on Oct. 1; raise the government’s borrowing limit to avoid a default on obligations; patch the struggling Obamacare health law; attempt a generational reform of the tax code; speed relief money to victims of Hurricane Harvey; and, as of this week, find a permanent solution for hundreds of thousands of young adult illegal immigrants.

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