Biden to Tour Hurricane Ida Damage in New Orleans

WASHINGTON — President Biden is ready to fly to New Orleans on Friday to tour the injury wrought by Hurricane Ida, a part of an effort to show his dedication to the federal authorities’s storm response whilst 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 House officers mentioned Mr. Biden would survey storm injury 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 House earlier on Thursday that he would meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, together with parish presidents and different native officers.

“Governor Edwards encouraged me to come and assured me that the visit will not disrupt recovery efforts on the ground,” Mr. Biden mentioned. “That’s what I wanted to be sure of. My message to everyone affected is: We’re all in this together. The nation is here to help.”

Ida slammed into Louisiana on Sunday as a Category four hurricane, leaving at the very least 12 individuals there useless 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 extra.

Despite the departure of the final U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Monday, Mr. Biden has taken pains to present his engagement with the storm response efforts all through the week. On Sunday, because the storm made landfall on the Gulf Coast, he stopped on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters in Washington to give staff a pep discuss.

Mr. Biden mentioned on Thursday that he was getting “hourly updates on the progress from FEMA, well into the night, and we’ll be working around the clock until the critical needs of the region are fully met.”

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The itinerary for the journey, and Mr. Biden’s aggressive public efforts to spotlight how his administration was making 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 about the deaths of greater than 1,800 individuals. Mr. Bush was famously photographed viewing the storm’s devastation from a window on Air Force One, in what grew to become a logo of federal detachment from the injury. He later mentioned he regretted the photograph, and wished he had landed in Louisiana.

“I should have touched down in Baton Rouge, met with the governor and, you know, walked out and said, ‘I hear you,’” Mr. Bush mentioned in a 2010 interview. “And then got back on a flight up to Washington. I did not do that. And paid a price for it.”

Mr. Biden has not talked about Mr. Bush in his remarks in regards to the hurricane this week. But he has repeatedly promoted authorities efforts to place electrical staff, medical groups, electrical turbines and different assist forward of the storm, in hopes of quickly bringing reduction to the individuals affected by it.

“Even as we tackle the core elements of the disaster response, we’re also deploying new tools to help speed this recovery — things that have not been used very much in prior hurricane responses,” Mr. Biden mentioned on Thursday. “Working with private companies that own and operate the lifeline infrastructure, like electricity and communications, we’ve used the latest technology to accelerate restoration of power and cellphone service.”

Mr. Biden has additionally used the storm, together with the flooding in 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 to 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 House press secretary, advised reporters on Thursday that the hurricane reaffirmed the president’s “commitment to getting his Build Back Better agenda passed, which has a huge, huge focus on addressing the climate crisis.”