US House approves $8 billion in initial Hurricane Harvey relief

WASHINGTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved roughly $8 billion in initial emergency aid for relief and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey, which tore into Texas on Aug. 25.

The House-passed measure, which provides $7.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $450 million for the Small Business Administration, will now go to the Senate. Barring unexpected setbacks, the aid measure is expected to be sent to the White House by the end of the week.

RELATED: Harvey victims return home

25 PHOTOS
Harvey victims return home
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Harvey victims return home
Erlind Trigo and her niece Miriam weep as they look at family photographs which they salvaged from their home in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A man disposes of drywall while salvaging through belongings from his family home in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
George Diaz disposes of furniture while salvaging through belongings from his family home in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Mariah Castillo watches her mother Roxanne Castillo kiss her mother Dolores Hedger, 68, while salvaging through their family home in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Chairs are seen drying outside of a pentecostal church where local residents prepare for Sunday service after tropical storm Harvey in east Houston, Texas, U.S., September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Bible and hymn books that were damaged by tropical storm Harvey are seen outside a Baptist church in Dickinson, Texas, U.S., September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A volunteer helps clean up the damage from a Lutheran church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Dickinson, Texas, U.S., September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A volunteer helps clean up the damage from a Lutheran church in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in Dickinson, Texas, U.S., September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A home insurance inspector conducts an assessment of damages on the roof of a house after tropical storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S., September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Melissa Ramirez (C) struggles against the current flowing down a flooded street helped by Edward Ramirez (L) and Cody Collinsworth as she tried to return to her home for the first time since Harvey floodwaters arrived in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Nancy McBride collects items from her flooded kitchen as she returned to her home for the first time since Harvey floodwaters arrived in Houston, Texas September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Nancy McBride's half eaten supper still sits on the table since she evacuated in haste before Harvey floodwaters arrived in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Nancy McBride's cat looks out from an air hole punched in a tub after the cat was found in her garage when McBride came home for the first time since Harvey floodwaters arrived in Houston, Texas September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Patrice Laporte measures how much of the Harvey floodwaters have gone down at his house in Houston, Texas September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The high water mark is visible on a house surrounded Harvey floodwaters in Houston, Texas September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A girl carries toys she collected from a trash pile of Hurricane Harvey flood damage in southwestern Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
People sort through belongings found in Hurricane Harvey flood damage in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A volunteer from Texas A&M University helps to clean up flood damage in the house of an alumnus in southwestern Houston, Texas September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Shirts are see drying outside of a trailer house damaged by tropical storm Harvey in East Houston, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
People sort through belongings found in Hurricane Harvey flood damage in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Rogelio Salina takes as break as he helps a neighbor to clean a house damaged by Tropical Storm Harvey in East Houston, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A man tears out Hurricane Harvey flood damage from a home in southwestern Houston, Texas, U.S. September 2, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Vince Ware moves his sofas onto the sidewalk from his house which was left flooded from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 3, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Daniel Vasquez removes a damaged carpet after Tropical Storm Harvey flooded his home in east Houston, Texas, U.S. September 3, 2017. Vasquez and his family, originally from El Salvador, spent six days at the shelter after being airlifted by rescue helicopter. Vasquez, a truck driver who supports a family of five, did not hold flood insurance. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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After a White House meeting between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders from both parties, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that they had reached a deal to tie the Harvey aid to short-term measures to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 15.

"Both sides have every intention of avoiding default in December and look forward to working together on the many issues before us," Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had favored linking the Harvey aid to a measure to raise the debt ceiling, or the federal government’s borrowing limit, through the 2018 midterm elections, aides said. But many conservative Republicans oppose tying Harvey aid to a debt ceiling measure without related reforms.

RELATED: Images from the ground during Harvey

13 PHOTOS
Views from the ground: Hurricane Harvey
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Views from the ground: Hurricane Harvey
Photo shows runway at Houston's Hobby Airport completely flooded; both Houston's major airports closed amid #Harvey… https://t.co/ykGMt3ZSTh
A stunning image, encapsulating #Harvey & the catastrophic flooding in #Houston. A little boy & his monkey in Dicki… https://t.co/iX6qt4ROGK
An unbelievable but honest photo of nursing home residents waiting to get rescued in Houston. 😢 https://t.co/XtOXdjE7dZ
Rescue boats swerve around stranded cars in Dickinson. Harvey turning Houston metro area into a real life Waterworld https://t.co/pHOqaXCiPI
The rain will NOT stop. #abc13 #Houston #Harvey https://t.co/Wits6FH4eT
Fire ants form a protective island as they float out the #Houston flood https://t.co/UBORwAzA4R
Looking into downtown #Houston above Buffalo Bayou at Studemont. More rain still to come. #Harvey #HurricaneHarvery https://t.co/UAXHhRvYVO
#USCG Video: Coast Guard assess the aftermath of damage caused by #HurricaneHarvey during their search and rescue o… https://t.co/srY6cThvd4
This is what it looked like last time it stopped raining long enough to get a clear shot of the flooding… https://t.co/ksbpwj6xAf
The Bayou over by Hermann Park is full AF and the path we run under McGregor is 100% under water #Harvey… https://t.co/BOFQkooddf
League City, TX this morning. #Harvey https://t.co/3HBZP1kT7G
Praying for Meyerland area. #Harvey https://t.co/mEcWH869aw
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Republicans at the White House meeting had pressed to raise the debt ceiling for a longer period of time but Trump sided with Democrats, who said earlier on Wednesday they would back a three-month extension, an individual briefed on the meeting said.

If passed, the deal would avoid a shutdown of the U.S. government by using a three-month, short-term patch to fund the government at current levels through Dec. 15 while Congress works out a longer-term spending package for fiscal year 2018.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Additional reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Tom Brown)

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