Trump, Democrats reach agreement on debt, funding

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Washington, Sep 7 (IANS) US President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders announced a mutual agreement to raise the debt ceiling and fund the federal government until December, including almost $8 billion in aid for those people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We essentially came to a deal and I think the deal will be very good,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday en route to North Dakota, where later he will promote his tax reform plan.

Trump met at the White House with top Democratic and Republican leaders from the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the short-term agreement on the debt and government funding for next fiscal year emerged from there, Efe news reported.

Trump said he thought he and Democratic lawmakers had reached a “very good” deal, adding that they had had a very cordial and professional meeting.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the agreement a very good moment for bipartisanship in Congress.

The period within which to approve a new debt ceiling and funding for the government for Fiscal 2018, which begins on October 1, expires at the end of this month, but after Wednesday’s announcement lawmakers will have until December to craft a longer-term and more far-reaching accord.

The lack of agreement about raising the debt ceiling in 2011, when the government was on the verge of declaring a suspension of its payments, led the Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency for the first time in history to lower the country’s creditworthiness rating.

The US debt currently stands at around $20 trillion.

The agreement reached between Trump and Democrats includes an assistance package for people affected by Harvey, which has killed more than 60 people and displaced thousands in the states of Texas and Louisiana.

The House on Wednesday in a 419-3 vote approved a federal aid package worth $7.9 billion for the victims of Harvey which now passes to the Senate for ratification.

–IANS

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