NEW YORK — President Joe Biden visited New York and New Jersey on Tuesday to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Ida and pledged the full support of the federal government to help those affected.
Speaking in Queens, Biden pledged his administration’s full support in Hurricane Ida relief efforts and made the case for Congress to act now to combat the growing issue of climate change.
“My message to everyone grappling with this devastation is: We’re here. We’re not going home till this gets done. I really mean that. We’re not leaving. We’re going to continue to shout as long as it takes to get real progress here, folks,” Biden said.
“And we have to take some bold action now to tackle the accelerating effects of climate,” the President continued. “Folks, the evidence is clear: Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives, to our economy, and the threat is here. It’s not going to get any better. “The question is, can it get worse? We can stop it from getting worse.”
Biden said he believes the weather events across the country, including wildfires raging through the West, were a product of climate change.
“They’ve been warning us the extreme weather would get more extreme over the decade, and we’re living it in real-time now,” he said. “We can look around the wreckage and the ruins and the heartbreak from so many communities to feel it. You don’t understand, you can feel it, you can taste it, you can see it.”
“People are beginning to realize this is much, much bigger than anyone was willing to believe.”
Biden was joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In New Jersey, 23 people were killed one tornado struck Mullica Hill and nine homes were destroyed. New Jersey Transit said rail service was suspended. NBC New York reported that one more person had died in New Jersey.
The New York City Police Department reported eight deaths as of Thursday morning, including a toddler. A 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman, and a 2-year-old boy were found unresponsive and were later pronounced dead.
Biden also made the case for his sweeping infrastructure proposal to be passed to stop the effects of climate change before they get worse in the future.
“We’ve got to listen to the scientists and the economists, and the national security experts: They all tell us this is code red. The nation and the world are in peril,” the President added. “That’s not hyperbole. That is a fact.”
This comes as Biden made another strong pitch in his visit to Louisiana just a week earlier, saying that change is needed now, not later.
“Things have changed so drastically in terms of the environment. We’ve already crossed certain thresholds,” he said. “We can’t build back roads, highways, bridges, anything to what it was before. We gotta build back to what it is now, what’s needed now,” Biden said on Friday. “And I know the heads of the energy companies understand this really well. We have a significant piece of legislation, both the infrastructure bill and a budget thing, a reconciliation bill, that calls for significant investment in being able to deal with what is about to come.”