Democratic congressional leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) announced Wednesday they will support an aid package for Hurricane Harvey that is tied to raising the debt ceiling until December.
Republican leaders wanted a longer debt ceiling increase, so Democrats hope that the short-term offer will provide them leverage in spending priorities later in 2017.
"Democrats are prepared to offer our votes for the Harvey aid package, and a short term debt limit increase of three months," Schumer and Pelosi wrote. "We believe this proposal offers a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default."
They added that because Republicans are having "difficulty in finding the votes for their plan," Democrats believe their offer will give "a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default, while both sides work together to address government funding, DREAMers, and health care."
Lawmakers are currently trying to find a path forward by the end of September on three key priorities: raising the debt ceiling, funding the government and Harvey aid.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said on Tuesday that Senate Republicans would attach hurricane recovery money to a "clean" debt ceiling. He didn't say how long the debt ceiling increase would be.
Extending the debt ceiling through December, as Schumer and Pelosi are proposing, could give Democrats more leverage in end-of-the-year spending talks.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) accused Democrats of playing politics in a press conference on Wednesday.