-Mnuchin@ (Adds Blunt comments, background)
WASHINGTON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that relief funding for hurricane-ravaged areas of Texas might be delayed if the U.S. Congress does not quickly increase the government's debt limit.
"Without raising the debt limit, I am not comfortable that we will get money to Texas this month to rebuild," Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump has requested nearly $8 billion for relief for areas hit by Hurricane Harvey.
The United States is on track to hit its mandated debt limit by the end of the month unless Congress moves to increase it.
Senator Roy Blunt, a junior member of the Senates Republican leadership, said it was possible lawmakers could tie legislation raising the U.S. debt ceiling - an unpopular step among some Republican conservatives - to measures providing financial aid for recovery from Harvey.
"Thats one way to do it," Blunt said on NBCs "Meet the Press." Congressional leaders would have to look at whether the votes are there, he said.
Congress returns this week from a month-long vacation, and one of the first measures it is expected to consider is an initial $7.85 billion that the administration of President Donald Trump has requested as an initial aid package for recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey.
The U.S. government has a statutory limit on how much money it can borrow to cover the budget deficit that results from Washington spending more than it collects in taxes. Only Congress can raise that limit, and financial firms have been worried that Congress may fail to reach a deal to do so. Some conservatives want to link spending reforms to a debt ceiling hike.
Mnuchin told lawmakers in July they needed to raise the debt limit by Sept. 29, otherwise the U.S. government might not have enough money to pay all its bills.
Blunt said Hurricane Harvey also has created "another reason as to why youd want to keep the government open" by passing legislation to fund the government this month. Current U.S. government spending authority also runs out at the end of September. (Reporting by Joel Schectman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Phil Berlowitz)