Biden to Tour Hurricane Ida Harm in New Orleans

WASHINGTON — President Biden is ready to fly to New Orleans on Friday to tour the harm wrought by Hurricane Ida, a part of an effort to exhibit his dedication to the federal authorities’s storm response at the same time as his administration stays enmeshed in different urgent issues from the coronavirus surge to the aftermath of his Afghanistan withdrawal.

In steerage for reporters issued late Thursday night, White Home officers mentioned Mr. Biden would survey storm harm and meet with authorities officers from communities affected by the hurricane, which the president described on Thursday because the fifth-largest hurricane in American historical past.

Mr. Biden mentioned in a speech on the White Home earlier on Thursday that he would meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, together with parish presidents and different native officers.

“Governor Edwards inspired me to return and guaranteed me that the go to is not going to disrupt restoration efforts on the bottom,” Mr. Biden mentioned. “That’s what I wished to make sure of. My message to everybody affected is: We’re all on this collectively. The nation is right here to assist.”

Ida slammed into Louisiana on Sunday as a Class 4 hurricane, leaving at the very least 12 folks there lifeless and the facility grid in shambles, earlier than its remnants marched up the East Coast and deluged New York and far of the remainder of the Northeast, killing dozens more.

Regardless of the departure of the last U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Monday, Mr. Biden has taken pains to point out his engagement with the storm response efforts all through the week. On Sunday, because the storm made landfall on the Gulf Coast, he stopped at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters in Washington to offer employees a pep speak.

Mr. Biden mentioned on Thursday that he was getting “hourly updates on the progress from FEMA, nicely into the night time, and we’ll be working across the clock till the important wants of the area are absolutely met.”

The itinerary for the journey, and Mr. Biden’s aggressive public efforts to focus on how his administration was getting ready for the storm, present a stark distinction from President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina 16 years in the past.

Mr. Bush drew sharp criticism for a gradual federal response to that storm, which inundated components of New Orleans and brought on the deaths of greater than 1,800 folks. Mr. Bush was famously photographed viewing the storm’s devastation from a window on Air Pressure One, in what grew to become an emblem of federal detachment from the harm. He later mentioned he regretted the {photograph}, and wished he had landed in Louisiana.

“I ought to have touched down in Baton Rouge, met with the governor and, you realize, walked out and mentioned, ‘I hear you,’” Mr. Bush said in a 2010 interview. “After which bought again on a flight as much as Washington. I didn’t try this. And paid a value for it.”

Mr. Biden has not talked about Mr. Bush in his remarks in regards to the hurricane this week. However he has repeatedly promoted authorities efforts to place electrical employees, medical groups, electrical mills and different assist forward of the storm, in hopes of quickly bringing aid to the folks affected by it.

“Whilst we sort out the core components of the catastrophe response, we’re additionally deploying new instruments to assist pace this restoration — issues that haven’t been used very a lot in prior hurricane responses,” Mr. Biden mentioned on Thursday. “Working with personal firms that personal and function the lifeline infrastructure, like electrical energy and communications, we’ve used the newest expertise to speed up restoration of energy and cellphone service.”

Mr. Biden has additionally used the storm, together with the flooding within the Northeast on Wednesday, to name consideration to his agenda to struggle local weather change. Democrats in Congress are scrambling this month in an try and go a multitrillion-dollar spending invoice that Mr. Biden says ought to embrace tax incentives for low-carbon vitality deployment, together with different insurance policies meant to scale back greenhouse gasoline emissions.

Jen Psaki, the White Home press secretary, instructed reporters on Thursday that the hurricane reaffirmed the president’s “dedication to getting his Construct Again Higher agenda handed, which has an enormous, large concentrate on addressing the local weather disaster.”

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