Battle Brewing on Capitol Hill as Establishment Aims to Link Hurricane Harvey Aid with Debt Ceiling Hike

Paul Ryan
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

As the swamp establishment in Washington plans to move on legislation that would provide funding relief to the Gulf Coast—particularly Houston—in the wake of Hurricane Harvey by linking it to a debt ceiling increase of $2 trillion, conservatives inside and outside of Congress are launching efforts to expose and thwart the plan.

The process the establishment—House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are complicit in this—plans to employ is to first, on Wednesday morning, pass out of the House a so-called “clean” Harvey relief package. On Thursday, the Senate will add to that and tie it to the debt ceiling bill that would raise the debt ceiling by $2 trillion. That means the debt ceiling would be raised past the 2018 midterm elections with no reform whatsoever to spending or government. Then, the Senate would kick that back to the House for final approval before being sent to the president.

“You’ve laid out the facts exactly as we anticipate they will be played out,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said on Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM 125 The Patriot Channel on Tuesday morning. “Hopefully, the voice of the American people will stand up against it. But it is a critical time. Indeed, the president is not understating how critical this week is. But we also have the opportunity to do it right or do it wrong. And, I’m afraid that as what happens when Capitol Hill normally gets involved in things, the tendency is to do it wrong. As you mentioned, we’re going to vote on Wednesday morning for Hurricane Harvey relief. Many conservatives believe that if we keep that as just a clean relief effort, no pork, no leverage, no debt ceiling added to it, that it will fly through not only the House but the Senate. But what we do anticipate is that the Senate will add, as you mentioned, the $2 trillion debt increase and send it back to the House. I think that not only does that send a very bad message, it just says that the people that have suffered so much in Texas now are being used as a leverage to just promote an increase in the federal credit card. It’s just not the right way to do it. We’re going to push back as conservatives. We’re starting to build momentum.”

Meadows pointed to a statement issued by Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) who said that Harvey aid should not be used to increase the debt ceiling—and that the debt ceiling should be handled separately from other matters. Together, the RSC and Freedom Caucus represent the vast majority of members in the House of Representatives.


Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, called what the Washington swamp is about to do “disgusting.”

“If this happens the way you just outlined it—and what you just outlined is exactly what I’m hearing—so we’re on the same page with this, if this is what happens, we actually wind up with a worse deal than when Speaker [John] Boehner was Speaker and [Barack] Obama was president,” Martin said in her own Breitbart News Daily interview on Tuesday. “At least when Speaker Boehner was Speaker and Obama was president, we got some sort of spending cuts. It wasn’t even cuts, it was a reduction in the increase. There will be no reduction, no cuts, and it will be a $2 trillion bill that passes. The House and the Senate would not vote on it again until after the next election so that they hope people will forget about this and we will be $22 trillion in debt. If they want to take care of the people who have been devastated by this hurricane, who already individually owe $60,000 of their own share of the national debt, then take care of them. Don’t add to their debt. Deal with taking care of them in a clean bill, and then come back and deal with the debt ceiling increase and do something with that that addresses spending reform.”

She said it is almost like the last election never happened, and that the politicians cannot seem to be bothered with the business of the little people across America.

“But what they can seem to be bothered with is the business of Wall Street and K Street,” Martin said. “They, day after day, prove they are more committed to taking care of Wall Street and K Street than they are to Main Street and the forgotten men and women of this country who elected Donald Trump sending a message to Washington, D.C., that they want a sledgehammer and a wrecking ball taken to that awful swampy place. They are, they’re giving us the middle finger. They’re giving the election the middle finger. They’re not respecting the will of the American people right now.”


“The events last week in Houston were devastating, but even before the murky waters in Texas have fully receded, Congress is already up to its old shenanigans,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh in a statement:

That’s because when special interests and lobbyists hear the magic words ‘emergency spending’ their eyes light up like a kid at Christmas-time. Instead of reserving emergency funds for those in greatest need of assistance, opportunistic politicians are using this tragedy as a blank check to fund pet projects all over the country. They are exploiting victims to hand out pork — it’s despicable.

Club for Growth has long fought for offsetting emergency spending for natural disasters and will continue to do so. Disasters like Harvey may be unpredictable, but we know with 100 percent certainty that they will occur. Congress needs to stop using the ‘emergency’ label as an excuse for politicians to spend money without paying for it. All disaster relief should always be paid for. Period.

House GOP leadership, sources tell Breitbart News, are likely to thwart any effort by conservatives to get actual spending and government reforms in the forthcoming battles—despite promised efforts for fights. Meadows, at the helm of the House Freedom Caucus, oversees 40 plus House members that can effectively—as long as Ryan does not turn to the Democrats to bail him out, at which point if he does he would be putting his speakership in jeopardy—block any bad bill from passing the House. Efforts are, sources say, likely to begin Tuesday evening as the House Rules Committee takes up the initial phony Harvey aid bill.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.