On Sept. 8, 2017 President Trump signed HR 601, an emergency measure negotiated with congressional Democratic leaders, and passed by the Senate 80-17 and by the House 316-90 (all the "no" votes being Republican). The bill has four components:
1. Provides $15.25 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for Hurricane Harvey and other disasters, including $7.4 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (passed a day before FEMA’s disaster funds would have been exhausted), $450 million for the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program, and $7.4 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding for areas most affected by the 2017 disasters;
2. Extends the National Flood Insurance program, which was due to expire September 30, to December 8, 2017;
3. Suspends the debt ceiling through December 8, 2017, temporarily avoiding a Treasury default on U.S. obligations; and
4. Provides continuing appropriations (effectively, a “continuing resolution”) to fund the federal government at current FY 2017 levels through December 8, 2017, avoiding a federal shutdown when the new fiscal year begins October 1.
While the measure provides much-needed emergency disaster relief, the “fiscal cliff” has only been postponed until December 8th, when a federal shutdown and economically catastrophic default faces the nation absent bipartisan agreement on spending levels and the debt ceiling – both requiring 60 votes in the Senate.
(The exact date of a default crisis will depend on Treasury’s cash balances on December 8 and the timing of government spending on disaster relief.)...