In a show of bipartisan support, the House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $7.85 billion aid package to support recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The bulk of the funds would replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief coffers.
This week's package is just an early downpayment, with $7.4 billion going to FEMA and another $450 million for the Small Business Administration, which doles out loans to help small businesses get back on their feet after disasters. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, both of whom are hawkish on reining in federal debt - declined to weigh in on combining the measure with Harvey funds until the heard from McConnell.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, released a joint statement saying their proposal "offers a bipartisan path" toward Harvey relief and avoiding a default.
These numbers, which combined amount to about $15 billion, are just for immediate spending needs after Harvey.
Rep. Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, said members were surprised by the idea to attach the aid to the debt ceiling.
Schumer identified two of those priorities as legalizing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump ended Tuesday, and a long-term bill funding insurers to stabilize the individual health insurance market created by Obamacare. Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling by September 29 to avoid a default and fund the government by September 30, to avoid a shutdown of executive branch operations.
"This takes 60 votes in the Senate", Ryan said.
The plan, however, drew pushback form some more conservative Republican members who believe that the debt ceiling should be offset with spending cuts to manage the growth of debt. The White House has asked for almost $8 billion in emergency aid, which the House is expected to vote on this week.
"I think it's a awful idea", Meadows said. "We have no excuse why we can't do it now with Republican leadership".
"I would support that", Cornyn told CNN as he arrived back at the Capitol from Texas, where he has been dealing with hurricane relief and clean-up efforts. Again, in 2013, he tied the two together, offering a short term debt limit increase but insisting that "some progress being made on getting this deficit and debt under control".