United States is putting together sanctions against North Korea, Mnuchin says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during the news briefing at the White House in Washington Friday Aug. 25 2017

Carolyn Kaster AP

"Without raising the debt limit, I'm not comfortable that we will get the money that we need this month to Texas to rebuild".

If Congress approves the relief but additional money is not borrowed, "we're not going to be able to get that money to the state".

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has asked Congress for an initial $7.85 billion for recovery efforts, which Abbott called a "down payment".

Yet Trump's preference is in conflict with the views of the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives in the House of Representatives that has often proved influential in fights over federal spending. But the letter makes it clear that the emergency spending would accelerate the timetable for raising the limit and conveys the idea that failure to pay obligations could imperil essential government services when residents in Texas need the help.

The Republican-controlled Congress - which includes fiscal conservatives adverse to more spending or borrowing - must upon returning also promptly agree on another key issue, passing a spending resolution to keep the federal government fully operational past September 30.

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Lawmakers and economists from both parties agree that the debt ceiling should be raised and warn that failing to do would mean a default on the nation's debt, which could cause global economic chaos.

"I think everyone wants a clean supplemental", Bossert told reporters.

Members of Congress were then expected to resolve the debt ceiling issue.

"The Harvey relief would pass on its own, and to use that as a vehicle to get people to vote for a debt ceiling is not appropriate", Meadows said in an interview.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement urging bipartisanship on both issues Sunday afternoon, but did not commit to anything outright.

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American financial firms are expressing alarm over fears that an increasingly dysfunctional US Congress may fail to reach an agreement to raise the country's debt ceiling.

"No, I can't", Mnuchin said.

But on Sunday, he said that deadline had moved up due to unexpected new spending on Harvey.

President Trump tweeted Sunday that the United States was considering halting trade deals with any country that does business with North Korea.

Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz said North Korea's nuclear test calls for serious steps to prevent it from using those weapons, including economic sanctions. Mnuchin said the USA would work with China, but "people need to cut off North Korea economically".

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