WASHINGTON — After Hurricane Ida slammed Louisana and brought record-setting flooding to the northeast, President Joe Biden on Thursday vowed to press Congress to take action on his infrastructure proposals and pledged the full help of the federal government for those affected by the storm.
Speaking just hours following Ida’s tear through the northeast, Biden said his proposals would help better prepare the country for future natural disasters and the combat effects of climate change.
“The past few days of Hurricane Ida and the wildfires in the West and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here,” Biden said.
The President said he would direct Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to use all tools at her disposal, including using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Biden’s plan would make electric grids and transmission lines more resilient to storms, wildfires, and floods.
Biden said that he spoke to the governors of New York and New Jersey and was planning to speak to Pennsylvania’s governor later in the day. The President added 6,000 members of the National Guard have been activated in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas since Ida made landfall.
“There’s a lot of damage, and I made clear to the governors that my team at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, is on the ground and ready to provide all the assistance that’s needed,” Biden said.
“My message to everyone affected is we’re all in this together. The nation is here to help. That’s the message I’ve been making clear to the mayors, governors, energy and utility leaders in the region with who my administration has been working closely over the past few days,” Biden added.
The President’s remarks were scheduled for 11:30 AM ET but got delayed 41 minutes and as he began speaking, he apologized for the late arrival, saying he was getting updates from his team on the matter.
Biden will visit Louisana on Friday and will meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards along with parish presidents, mayors, and local officials.
“We are here for you,” Biden said, addressing those affected by the storm. “And we’re making sure the response and recovery are equitable so that those hit hardest get the resources they need and are not left behind.”
Biden also called on private insurance companies to pay their policyholders what they are owed to cover the cost of temporary housing.
“Don’t hide behind the fine print and technicality. Do your job. Keep your commitment to the communities you insure. Do the right thing,” Biden said.
Biden FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell governors and mayors from states and cities that were affected by the storm. Residents in Louisana are facing gas shortages, making for long lines of cars waiting for gas that stretch for miles.