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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says tie Harvey relief funds to raising the debt ceiling

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday the Trump administration wants Congress to raise the debt ceiling without cutting spending, and that the raise should be tied to funding Hurricane Harvey recovery measures.

"The White House is asking Congress for $7.8 billion in immediate aid, plus another $6.7 billion" in the next few weeks, Wallace noted, and the head of the "House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows, says he does not want to see that disaster aid tied to a bill to raise the debt limit. Can you guarantee him and others that that won't happen?"

"No, I can't," Mnuchin replied. "Quite the contrary. The president and I believe that it should be tied to the Harvey funding. Our first priority is to make sure that the state gets money. It is critical. And to do that, we need to make sure we raise the debt limit. If Congress appropriates the money, but I don't have the ability to borrow more money and pay for it, we're not going to be able to get that money to the state."

Wallace confirmed Mnuchin was advocating a "clean debt limit without any other spending cuts tied to that disaster relief," and Mnuchin answered in the affirmative. The debt ceiling deadline is Sept. 30, after which there will be a government shutdown if Congress does not permit new additions to the United States' $20 trillion national debt.

Watch a clip of Mnuchin's comments below. Bonnie Kristian