The House of Representatives passed a $7.85 billion disaster aid package for Hurricane Harvey victims with overwhelming bipartisan support Wednesday, the first round of money expected for areas of Texas and Louisiana devastated by the storm. Just three "no" votes were cast in the House while 419 members voted in favor of the package. But as the bill moves to the Senate, it is quickly becoming a negotiating tool for controversial must-pass legislation. The inclusion of the debt ceiling hike into the House bill puts conservatives in a difficult spot. None more so than Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a vocal opponent of lifting the ceiling who also supports disaster relief for his own home state. Cruz wouldn’t say if he’d support Harvey funding combined with the debt ceiling.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.