Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday he and President Trump would advocate for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief funding for Texas to be tied to a bill that raises the country's debt ceiling, despite calls from fiscal conservatives for the two legislative priorities to be separated.
"The president and I believe that it should be tied to the Harvey funding," Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday" of debate surrounding increasing the amount of money the U.S. can borrow before the Sept. 29 deadline. "Our first priority is to make sure that [Texas] gets money. It is critical. And to do that, we need to make sure we raise the debt limit."
The White House is asking Congress for $7.8 billion in immediate aid to be sent to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, with another $6.7 billion in the coming weeks.
"So, if Congress appropriates the money — but I don't have the ability to borrow more money and pay for it — we're not going to be able to get that money to the state," Mnuchin said. "So, we need to put politics aside and we're going to be urging Congress to get both of those things done as quickly as they can."
When asked about Trump's threats of a possible government shutdown over southern border wall funding, Mnuchin acknowledged the wall was a "huge priority" for the president but the "first objective" was helping the people of Texas.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minoirty Leader Chuck Schumer weighed in on Mnuchin's proposal with a call to remove partisanship from the debt ceiling and Hurricane Harvey nagtoations.
"Providing aid in the wake of Harvey and raising the debt ceiling are both important issues, and Democrats want to work to do both," the two said in a joint statement. "Given the interplay between all the issues Congress must tackle in September, Democrats and Republicans must discuss all the issues together and come up with a bipartisan consensus."