The U.S. Senate today voted 80-17 in favor of more than $15 billion in hurricane and disaster recovery aid, in a package that also included a short-term deal to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling for three months. Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch split, with Crapo voting with the majority in favor, and Risch joining 16 other Republicans in voting “no.”
Crapo, in a statement, said, “Today’s bill provides a short-term response to the immediate recovery needs in Texas and Louisiana. The longer term disaster response costs caused by Hurricane Harvey must necessarily be addressed as we develop our Fiscal Year 2018 budget. I remain committed to developing a budget that is fiscally sound and puts us on a path to balance.”
Risch was traveling and wasn’t available for comment after today’s vote, but his spokeswoman, Kaylin Minton, said, “In the past, when they have combined various spending measures into one package, especially a debt ceiling increase without reforms, he has always been very reluctant to vote for it. They could get his vote if they have reasonable reforms going forward that will get us off the fiscal path that we are on. His vote today is fully consistent with every vote he has made on debt ceilings and large spending packages in the past.”
President Trump yesterday signed off on the deal pairing the issues, at a meeting where he sided with House and Senate Democratic leaders against the leadership of his own party. GOP leaders favored a longer debt-limit increase, to avoid a December showdown. According to The Hill, the deal cleared by Senate also includes a short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, which was set to expire at the end of September. The Senate deal still needs House approval before it can head to the president’s desk.